Posts tagged with "Staten Island":

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Archtober’s Building of the Day: Ocean Breeze Track and Fieldhouse

This is the third in a series of guests posts that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours! Ocean Breeze Track and Fieldhouse 625 Father Capodanno Boulevard Staten Island, NY Sage and Coombe Architects Joshua Keay, AIA, LEED AP, associate at Sage and Coombe and project architect for the Ocean Breeze Athletic Facility, led us through an in-depth tour of the massive competitive indoor track and community recreation facility in South Beach, Staten Island. A project under Mayor Bloomberg’s Design Excellence initiative, the athletic complex was designed as part of the PlaNYC 110-acre Ocean Breeze regional park. As Sage and Coombe’s first track facility, they engaged sports consultants and a local organization of runners to help determine certain features of the space, including the radius of the track. The competitive track is supported by more than 600 raised piles, allowing for a split program: A publically accessible gym on the ground floor is separated from the elevated track on the second floor. The two spaces are connected by a large secondary warm up space, which is equipped with arrow-shaped lowlights to designate the running direction. Green stairs lead athletes up to the starting line and, once they have completed their race, they exit the track through red stairs and enter the warm up space again. Ocean Breeze is the most state-of-the-art indoor track and field facility in the tri-state area, equipped with a variable banking hydraulic track that can be raised or lowered depending on the sporting event. The 250-foot-long elevated platform of the pre-engineered space was used to assemble the ceiling trusses, which were then lifted into the air using the free-standing columns. While the city required the project to achieve LEED Silver Certification, Keay noted that, upon completion, it will most likely be LEED Gold certified. A stormwater collection system on the roof runs water along the second-floor terrace and into ponds that recharge natural wetlands to the north of the site. Bi-fold doors on the north, east, and south sides of the building and exhaust fans provide natural ventilation. A multi-tiered lighting system with skylights, track lighting, and point fixtures respond to the amount of daylight to determine the level of artificial light required to keep the competitive track at TV-quality. A photo-finish system, which can capture frames at one-one thousandth of a second was installed at the end of the finish line. After jumping through a few hurdles, particularly after a six-month Superstorm Sandy delay, the project opened in the fall of 2015. The season will begin next month, but community users are already avidly using the public spaces. Tomorrow we visit Selldorf Architect’s AIA New York Design Awards winning David Zwirner Gallery! About the author: Camila Schaulsohn is the Communications Director and Editor-in-Chief of the AIA New York Newsletter.
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To spite developers, Staten Island borough president names streets for greed and deception

Builders recently filed plans on several streets, including Cupidity Drive, Fourberie Lane, and Avidity Place in a condo development on Mount Manresa, a former Jesuit retreat on Staten Island. Sound odd? That’s because the names are all synonyms for deception and greed: Cupidity means “a strong desire for money;” fourberie is “deception;” and avidity is “consuming greed.” Staten Island borough president James Oddo picked the derogatory names after losing a battle to developers about building on the site. Although the developer, the Savo Brothers, issued a complaint, a State Supreme Court judge granted permission in February for Oddo to name the streets as he pleased. Oddo later tweeted:

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Staten Island’s historic Seaview Hospital to become city’s first integrated health campus

A proposed development in the middle of Staten Island could put the borough at the forefront of healthcare design. Borough President James Oddo, NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Dr. Ram Raju, and NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer were at the Old Sea View Hospital campus to reveal plans for Sea View Healthy Community, a mixed-use development that focuses on chronic disease treatment and prevention. The first of its kind in New York City, and the first publicly funded mixed-use health development in the country, Sea View Healthy Community will be constructed on the grounds of largely abandoned Old Sea View Hospital. The development will feature housing for seniors and people with disabilities, and existing medical tenants will enjoy upgraded facilities, plus a new "wellness center" designed for physical and occupational therapy. Patients, residents, and visitors will be able to dine at farm-to-table restaurants or purchase groceries from on-site stores that specialize in healthful and local food. Bike paths and hiking trails will link up with the adjacent Staten Island Greenbelt. “Sea View Healthy Community is not just the first health-focused, mixed-use campus in the city, it will be the first publicly planned and supported healthy community in the country,” said Torres-Springer. “And what better place to build it than the Sea View campus, which pioneered a holistic approach to healthcare for previous generations of New Yorkers. This extraordinary project will improve the quality of life for thousands of Staten Islanders, and keep New York City as a national leader in pioneering approaches to public health." The hospital, which opened in 1913 to help tuberculosis patients heal in a bucolic setting, sits across the street from the Landmark Colony, a former city-run poor farm that is being converted into senior living complex by Staten Island–based vengoechea + boyland architects. Today, both sites are part of the New York City Farm Colony-Seaview Hospital Historic District. The city will make capital funds available for infrastructure improvements on the 90-acre campus. Any development at the hospital must first garner Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approval, but the commission is not opposed to new construction: In March of this year, the LPC okayed plans for a two-story building for the nonprofit Meals on Wheels on-site. Later this year, NYCEDC is set to release a formal Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) to solicit development proposals that align with the master plan.
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The Design Trust for Public Space selects five urban fellows to enhance Staten Island’s North Shore

In Manhattan, designer's eyes are moving south, towards the North Shore: The Design Trust for Public Space and Staten Island Arts have teamed up to select five urbanists to work with stakeholders on northern Staten Island to investigate how art and culture can enhance public- and privately-owned open space in the fast-developing area. The urbanists—Lisa Dahl, a Staten Island–based artist; Ben Margolis, urban policy expert; Margie Ruddick, landscape and urban designer; John Schettino, graphic designer, and Gareth Smit, photojournalist—are Design Trust fellows who will work with residents and local artists to collaborate on community engagement, design, and research for Future Culture: Connecting Staten Island’s Waterfronta multi-year initiative that investigates the changing North Shore. Those changes are coming swiftly. The program responds to big changes emerging on the North Shore. This year, Stapleton's URBY opened its doors to residents, who can partake in cooking classes at the development's shared kitchen or glean agriculture knowledge from its on-staff farmerNew parks and street connections will integrate the formerly industrial Stapleton waterfront with its neighborhood, and development around the St. George ferry terminal, including S9's New York Wheel and SHoP's Empire Outlets, are set to draw thousands of visitors to the North Shore. The fellows will test programming and design recommendations with public art pilots, and will author quarterly newsletters for St. George, Tompkinsville, and Stapleton residents to solicit input on projects and keep them appraised of the findings. The fellows' work will culminate in a plan that can guide strategies for equitable economic development, and revitalization that locks in the community's social, ethnic, and economic diversity long-term.
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AN tours the mixed-use development that aims to make Staten Island cool

Earlier this year, The Architect's Newspaper's (AN) Senior Editor Matt Shaw spoke with David Barry of development firm Ironstate, the group behind Urby, the new all-encompassing mixed-use development on Staten Island. As its first residents move in, AN toured the site with of Barry and lead architect Erikjan Vermeulen from Dutch practice Concrete. Boasting an outdoor pool, bodega, coffee shop/bar, communal kitchen, and its very own on-site farm, the complex will house more than 900 residents. The scheme, said Vermeulen, is based very closely on Ironstate's other project in Jersey City that's slated to open this fall. "We wanted to make the most perfect unit," said Vermeulen, who went on to add how he and his studio created a one-to-one test model unit in a warehouse. As part of the design process, they also laid out some floor plans at full scale. Vermeulen said that units were "almost equal" to those in the Jersey City project, with the only real difference being the "U-plan" layout of the overall building. Creating a "smart space" that was "efficient" while keeping the design "simple and straightforward" was also on Concrete's agenda. "Concrete provides solutions. No grand theories or abstract ideas. Just things that work," the firm proclaims on their website. While this ethos can be sometimes seen as dogma (which Concrete declares they love "shattering") the studio interspersed various furnishings and details within the interior and exterior to create a youthful vibe. These range from a quirky assortment of chairs to the extensive use of timber and graffiti-adorned faux-brick walls. The design aims to recreate the charming atmosphere of a small, independent coffee shop. It was no surprise to find a record player and a Smiths poster in the housing units for show.

A photo posted by Jason Sayer (@jasonsayer) on

A 5,000 square-foot farm, managed by Farmer-in-Residence Zaro Bates (according to Urby, New York's first) will grow more than 50 varieties of produce. These greens, fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, and roots will be used by Chef-in-Residence Brendan Costello as well as residents. Aside from producing ingredients on-site, an apiary with multiple bee hives is located on the roof. The honey harvested will be served in the café below and provides renters with the opportunity to learn how honey is made. The environmental theme is carried through to the building's performance too. LEED certified, the development features water filling stations in the lobbies, electric car chargers in the garage, and storage for 500 bicycles. 35,000 square feet of commercial space also comes with the site, due to be filled with an array of restaurants and shops. 
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A torrent of new projects on Staten Island are reshaping the once-forgotten borough

Staten Islanders have a name for the impatient dance that visitors do when they get off the ferry at St. George to wait for the next boat back to Manhattan: The “Staten Island Shuffle.” The name reflects the perennial difficulty of getting newcomers to venture beyond the island’s welcome gate.

Local stakeholders hope that a spate of new development on the shoreline—and inland—will smooth the shuffle into a full sidewalk ballet that draws residents and visitors alike through the pizza-slice-shaped island, population 472,000. Here are some new projects that are changing the landscape of the forgotten borough:

Riverside

“I think the opportunity is all in the outer boroughs right now,” enthused Jay Valgora, founding principal of New York–based Studio V. “Don’t get me wrong, Manhattan’s great, but for creative architecture, Staten Island is the next frontier. I think it’s possible to do incredibly creative things on Staten Island that would be difficult to do in Manhattan.”

In the shadow of the Outerbridge Crossing on the island’s West Shore, Studio V is building a verdant mall on the banks of the Arthur Kill. The Riverside Galleria connects 490,000 square feet of retail, including a cinema and grocery store, to High Line–like catwalks and bridges that channel visitors in front of stores and toward a waterfront public park and beach.

Staten Island’s industrial and natural heritage converges at the waterfront, and Riverside’s program unifies these two landscapes with green roofs and soft edges that work vigilantly to protect the development from rising seas. The mall’s sloped roofs “fold into the landscape” to capture and treat stormwater, while a rain garden extends into the parking garage to soften the edge between the natural and built environments. New York–based landscape architect Ken Smith is collaborating with the studio on the project, which is gearing up for the final phase of its ULURP.

For some, building on storm-vulnerable Staten Island would prove daunting, but Studio V literally wrote the book on coastal construction: The firm collaborated with nonprofit advocacy group the Waterfront Alliance to create Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines (WEDG)—“LEED for the waterfront,” Valgora quipped—in 2015. At Riverside, a 10-acre restored wetland provides the first line of defense, although the entire site is lifted above the floodplain. Commercial spaces are elevated above parking for additional protection.

With “automobile access that works beautifully,” the project’s green inclinations defer to Staten Island’s entrenched car culture, although demand for mass transit in this neighborhood is growing. Riverside Galleria is a 10-minute walk from a train station that the MTA is currently rebuilding. More exciting still, Studio V, in a separate project, is in talks to build a stop for high-speed ferry service at an adjacent site. Borough president James Oddo is very supportive of the project, as are locals who have been pushing for broader access to mass transit on the West Shore.

On the North Shore

On the trip from Manhattan, commuters can almost feel the island’s famous ferry keel starboard as tourists cozy up for Lady Liberty selfies. Despite connections to the Staten Island Railroad, bus links, and the attractive hillside neighborhood of St. George just beyond the ferry landing on the Staten Island side, it has been a perennial hurdle to lure visitors out of the terminal.

“What so many of those passengers do is the ‘Staten Island Shuffle’: They get off the ferry and mill around in the ferry terminal until the next ferry arrives, and they never actually set foot on Staten Island. Right now, there’s not a lot that’s immediately visible there, so you can understand why people do that,” explained Munro Johnson, vice president of development at the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC).

In response, Staten Island is changing its salutation. An array of flashy new developments set to open in the next few years will radically expand entertainment, dining, and shopping opportunities immediately adjacent to the St. George Terminal. The New York Wheel, a 630-foot-tall observation wheel, will give 1,440 riders at a time a dramatic view of the New York Harbor. Designed by New York–based S9 Architecture and Perkins Eastman, (and manufactured by Starneth, creators of the London Eye) the New York Wheel will be the largest of its kind when it opens next year.

Soon, New Yorkers won’t need to travel to the Catskills or Jersey for classic suburban-style outlet mall shopping. Empire Outlets, a 1.1-million-square-foot mall, is under construction next to the ferry terminal. The SHoP–designed storefronts reference an Italian hill town, playing on St. George’s elevation to allow visitors progressively better views of the harbor as they ascend upland on wide stairways and glass elevators. Parking is hidden below ground, while a waterside public plaza draws visitors toward the waterfront.

Mixed-used Lighthouse Point combines 65,000 square feet of retail with a 175-room hotel, including a restaurant and entertainment area, plus a 12-story, 94,000-square-foot residential space, a workspace for local start-ups, and outdoor offerings, such as a beach that offers views of the New York Wheel.

From the 1860s to the 1960s, Lighthouse Point was the site of the U.S. Lighthouse Service Depot, the epicenter of lighthouse service operations in the United States. The development strives to preserve the site’s 19th-century character by integrating historic buildings, which are listed on both the State and National Register of Historic Places, into new retail, hotel, and residential development.

Ten years ago, NYCEDC selected Triangle Equities to develop the site, and construction on the $200 million project is expected to be complete in 2017. Brooklyn-based Garrison Architects is executing the design.

Collectively, these North Shore projects total over $1 billion in investment, Johnson explained, making them the largest group of projects on Staten Island. Key to their success is a network of waterfront esplanades, parkland, and planning initiatives that connect the neighborhoods of Tompkinsville, Stapleton, and St. George to each other and to their waterfronts.

After decades of decline, the industrial waterfront in nearby Stapleton is being developed as public space and opened up to new investment. The New Stapleton Waterfront Park is a six-acre green space with a central esplanade that draws pedestrians south from St. George and toward the water from Bay Street, the neighborhood’s main drag. The park is finished, while a tidal wetlands cove will be complete this summer. Phase two is set to begin later this year or early 2017.

The low-slung buildings along the waterfront belie Stapleton’s vibrant commercial past, although the opening of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in 1964 channeled development into the island’s interior, hastening the area’s decline. The U.S. Navy maintained a small base in the neighborhood; when it was decommissioned in 1995, no large-scale plans were enacted to stitch the neighborhood back to its shore.

Johnson calls Stapleton’s new open space one of “the most exciting” examples of projects that reconnect neighborhoods to their waterfronts. The park, in concert with NYC Planning’s Bay Street corridor revitalization, is central to spurring the neighborhood’s regeneration: The city is investing $130 million in public infrastructure connections, parks, road reconstruction, and other improvements. Connector streets that bring traffic from Bay Street are being refurbished to improve the flow of people from downtown to the water, two blocks away. The hope is that improvements to Stapleton and Tompkinsville’s main thoroughfare will promote mixed-use development.

One of those developments is URBY, a 900-unit apartment complex by Ironstate Development marketed to young people. The rental-only waterfront complex, designed by Amsterdam-based Concrete, boasts over 35,000 square feet of commercial space, including a cafe and a fancy bodega. The first phase—571 units—debuted February 2016.

To plan ongoing development, NYCEDC meets regularly with the Bay Street Local Advisory Committee, “the eyes and ears on the street,” said Emma Pfohman, senior project manager at NYCEDC. “People are still nervous about the influx of tourists, but most see investment on Staten Island as a good thing.” There are lingering concerns about how the projected increase in visitors will affect transit, although NYCEDC is working out logistics with agency partners like the NYC DOT.

To Johnson, it’s not clear if escalating development on the North Shore will set a precedent for urbanization elsewhere on the island, although he reflected on the intrinsic marketability of the location itself. “You’ve got this amazing free ferry that carries 22 million passengers per year, including two million tourists annually. That’s a lot of market exposure already.”

To the south though, one under-the-radar project is emphatically geared towards vigorous locals. Ocean Breeze Indoor Athletic Facility is located within a 110-acre South Beach park developed under former Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC, an open-space initiative whose objective was to bring massive parks to every borough. Designed by New York–based Sage and Coombe for the NYC Parks Department, the 135,000-square-foot complex is in its final phase of construction, although the track has been open for events since last November. Like most major public works, the project was managed by the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) from design to build. 

The facility is one of the most high-tech in the region: The six-lane, 200-meter, hydraulically banked track can convert to an eight-lane flat track for practices. The 2,500-seat arena boasts photo-sensor lighting control and a “cool” roof, which can be upgraded to accommodate photovoltaic technology, while fritted glass windows, superimposed with images of runners, flora, and fauna, double as sunscreens. The structure sits above one of the last patches of native coastal grassland on Staten Island to provide a natural buffer against storm surges.

Inland

At one historic site, stakeholders are working quickly to draw ferrygoing tourists inland.

In addition to their collaboration on Riverside Galleria, Studio V and Smith are creating a master plan for New York City’s only restored historic town, in the core of Staten Island. The plan will preserve and reuse Richmond Town’s existing structures, as well as add density to the site with new buildings. The hope is to create a destination within the city: “We describe the project as a little bit Williamsburg, Virginia, and a little bit Williamsburg, Brooklyn,” said Valgora. The nonprofit that administers the site would like to see food vendors, shops, and possibly a brewery, to draw out-of-towners and New Yorkers to a verdant living-history museum.

Two miles away, developers are giving seniors,  or “active adults,” in developer parlance, an opportunity to age in place.

By 2020, Staten Island’s senior population will reach 78,000, a 31-percent increase over today’s numbers, and by far the largest percentage increase of any borough, according to NYC Planning’s Staten Island division. In response to growing demand for senior living facilities, the Landmark Colony is a full-scale residential redevelopment of the 45-acre New York City Farm Colony, once a publicly owned home for the city’s indigent population where residents had to harvest vegetables to earn their keep. Today, the site is landmarked but in ruins, a magnet for graffiti artists and wildlife that roam over from the adjacent Staten Island Greenbelt. Local firm vengoechea + boyland architects (v + b) is transforming six of the site’s 11 buildings into residences with 350 units. A clubhouse with an outdoor swimming pool, retail, and a restaurant at the development’s periphery will round out the program. One structure will be preserved as a ruin.

On a recent site visit, the air was chlorophyll-saturated, deer roamed the property, and vines crept up inside Dutch farmhouse–style structures with gambrel roofs that were last occupied in the 1970s. v+b principal Pablo Vengoechea served as vice chair of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, so v + b’s plans incorporate the contextual, adaptive reuse that the commission views favorably for landmarked, but deteriorated, structures: v + b intends to reuse fieldstone from some structures for new buildings, including residences styled after carriage houses, lofts, and cottages that  will be integrated into existing historic structures.

With seniors in mind, most entrances are at-grade, and few residences have true second stories, although many feature lofts that could double as guest bedrooms or as storage. (Residents with two-story homes will have the option to customize their homes with interior elevators.)

The landscape plan, executed in collaboration with New York–based Nancy Owens Studio, will keep the grounds lush and parklike, centered around an Olmstedian center green that references classic New York City park design. The landscape, a green core with a green periphery, complements a low-density development, principal Tim Boyland said. “We used half the allowable FAR for the site.”

Landmark Colony is now preparing for design development.

Although major projects nearing completion on the North Shore, and new developments taking shape inland and elsewhere, Staten Island is poised to maintain its status as New York City’s most bucolic borough for a long time to come. This, however, is no excuse for hardcore urbanites to do the Shuffle: Get on a bus, walk to the water, and take a look around.

 
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Ironstate president David Barry talks placemaking, retail, and developing Staten Island

David Barry has made a name for himself developing mixed-use projects in retail and hospitality, including The Standard, East Village and the W Hoboken. His new residential project, Urby Staten Island, is on the market on the borough’s North Shore, with 900 units and a mix of retail, including a coffee shop, a bodega, and a communal kitchen—all supplied by an on-site farm.

AN’s senior editor Matt Shaw sat down with Barry to discuss his experience in developing hospitality and retail, and how that is informing his approach to Urby and the neighborhoods around it.

The Architect’s Newspaper: At Urby, you focus on public space. Is this something you have been thinking about throughout your hospitality work, or is it new to this project?

David Barry: It’s been a little bit of an evolution that we’ve crystalized in this project. I’ve done a lot of apartments over the years in these outer-borough locations. More recently, I have been doing hotels—what is called, roughly, “lifestyle” hotels or what used to be called “boutique” hotels. There has been an evolution in real estate as people move to urban areas but are on the move and cyber-connected all the time. I think this has given rise to a desire for urban residents to connect more to their spaces, to connect to each other more, and to move in the direction of a community.

When you’re programming those spaces, the end goal is really just to create a product that people connect with better and to provide a better experience.

We can put in a screening room and just let it exist, but in my experience, I’ve learned that there was an opportunity to take another step further and get people to connect to your product in a way that creates an emotional connection in a way that the big brands weren’t doing until recently. That’s what we’re striving to do with Urby.

Does this connection come through the retail and the shared spaces in Urby?

Yeah, I think the retail is really more about place-making and that has been around for a while: I look at Andrés Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk at Seaside, Florida, or any of that kind of stuff. We need to get life on the streets; we need to get retail mixed in and incorporate mixed-use development.

What’s a little more unique about Urby is that we are not just leasing curated retail out to third parties and creating a place, but we are taking those public spaces and being more thoughtful about how to make them an everyday piece of people’s lives. So instead of having amenities that you might use once in a blue moon, we tried to be really, really thoughtful about what is going to enhance somebody’s experience on a daily basis. We want to ensure that our commitment to programming is going a little bit beyond with things like the urban garden or the communal kitchen or the coffee shop that is embedded into the lobby. It is about connecting people around food and wellness in a sense.

I think that because Staten Island is a little bit more of a green, spacious borough, and we had a pretty substantial roof area, we thought that a roof garden could engage residents. We have a farmer-in-residence who helps residents participate—the fruits of that labor are eaten by anybody in the cafe or in the kitchen. 

How are you thinking about retail at Urby?

In this instance, we’re spending a lot of time being very particular and choosy about who we want to go into that space. Because the retail is about place-making, there’s an equation where you can’t necessarily squeeze every single dollar of rent out of it if you want this place to be made in a unique and a different way. That’s what we’re striving for—to create a place that’s authentic and that hosts regional retailers and restaurateurs, whether they’re from Staten Island, Brooklyn, New York, or New Jersey. It’s not a mall concept where we’re preleasing to national credit. We’ve learned to recognize that upfront and to pay a lot of attention to how you choose the retailers and how you support them.

The architecture of the buildings and the pedestrian experience are very important. There are thousands of decisions and some of them have bearing on the neighborhood in general, while others just have bearing on residents or particular constituencies within the building. We tried to pay attention to the architecture and how the building fits into the community, particularly with respect to pedestrians. I think we’ve been really thoughtful about both of those considerations in this project: How pedestrians experience the building and the development in terms of the sidewalks and the landscaping and the street width, etc.

What role does design play in all of this?

Design has played a huge role in this project. We specifically went to Europe to find a non-American architect for this property. Not because I discriminate against Americans, but because we’re trying to think about using space differently and have a different viewpoint on creating smaller urban social spaces and public spaces. The way the Europeans think about space with their city centers that have been so tight and so constrained with a lot of people next to each other for so long, you know. I think it was really interesting to bring in creative firm Concrete from Amsterdam. It feels very different than anything else you’ve experienced, at least in the residential sphere, and a big part of that is the European sensibility and this European eye and creating spaces that encourage people to mingle or connect.

It’s interesting to bring that into the New York area because it is becoming a world city. We’re all more cosmopolitan, we travel a lot, and it’s neat to take things from different societies. I think one thing Europe has that’s great is the piazza, right? That whole street culture and plaza culture is some of the best in the world, you know, in terms of how Europeans use their indoor-outdoor space and connect with each other. It’s been really interesting to work with Concrete and bring that over here to experiment with it.

How do you think this retail environment and improvements will radiate out from Urby?

Where we’re located in Stapleton is really the historic part of Staten Island, and so it got disinvestment and kind of went off people’s radar. I hear a lot of stories from people saying things like, “Oh my God! Bay Street! When I was a kid, we used to go there, and my father used to take me to a restaurant and we would go out after.” That is what I think Urby is. I think it’s like a reason to check out the North Shore of Staten Island.

It’s going to have a really great impact on Bay Street. I think there are some really neat things about the scale and the architecture of that street and the little park there, Tappen Park. I think what it really needs is some attention and some notoriety, and I think that once people have a reason to come to that neighborhood, it will get some. Typically,it’s done often with artists who go to places like Williamsburg and Bushwick and then, before you know it, they’re having some little pop-up things or some art shows or their friends are opening a cafe or whatever it is, and that is getting people talking about it. Staten Island had been a story of kind of suburbanization. Why? Because the Verrazano Bridge opened in ’62 and, boom, the floodgates turned on in Staten Island, and that was a period of time when the world was kind of deurbanizing. So it developed in a bit of a peculiar way, because the people that inhabited the South Shore and those new developments on the mid-island and South Shore had kind of written Bay Street off.

Why did you feel this site was appropriate for this kind of strategy?

Well, part of the strategy with this is that it’s just getting so prohibitively expensive to live in Manhattan or in the well-trafficked Class A locations. Part of the attraction of this location was that it’s formerly industrial and the neighborhood needs some revitalization. It has great mass-transit links, particularly for Staten Island, in that it’s got a subway stop that goes directly to the ferry and it’s on the waterfront.

It connects into Bay Street, which is historically a street with a lot of retail, a lot of restaurants. During most of my career, a lot of the story for the outer boroughs has been the redevelopment of these formerly industrial places in Williamsburg, Bushwick, Long Island City, Staten Island, South Bronx, Jersey City, right?

So I really saw this North Shore waterfront as a continuation of that movement of expansion to the outer boroughs where housing is more reasonably priced. This was a great opportunity to start with mass transportation and riverfront access in a borough that has not had a lot of creative investment or development in the last 20 or 30 years. The elected officials, the community leaders, and the regular old residents seem to be very excited. The EDC [Economic Development Corporation] just opened the park that’s in front of Urby, and the city is really working hard through various departments like EDC to also attract attention to this neighborhood, and I think it’s one that needs investment and has a lot of potential, and the same thing with the elected officials in terms of, you know, of Staten Island because I think that most people recognize that for a society, for a city, for a community to thrive and to move into the future, there needs to be investment of some sort into that community. They’re incentivized and they’re excited and they’re being helpful about getting more private investment attracted to that area.

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New waterfront promenade, retail, dining, and cinema planned for Staten Island

The Riverside Galleria, a retail complex penned to sit alongside Arthur Kill Road in Staten Island, has been given a traffic plan that developers say will prevent backups and delays. Boasting a waterfront promenade, numerous green roofs, a multiplex cinema, restaurants, and cafes with outdoor terraces and retail outlets, the Riverside Galleria has been designed by Manhattan-based firm, STUDIO V Architecture, backed by developer Melohn Properties Inc.
The complex will occupy 457,000 square feet on 21 acres by the bank of the Arthur Kill straight between Staten Island and New Jersey, lying just below the Outerbridge Crossing. Traffic plans, now submitted with the project, propose three new roads to ease congestion. "We only have 600-feet of frontage on Arthur Kill Road. The solution we have come up with, which we think will pull any type of traffic congestion off Arthur Kill Road, is to create a (network) of new streets that are connecting the two edges of our property where they touch Arthur Kill Road," said the lead architect of the project, Nathaniel Zuelzke of STUDIO V Architecture.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tleRCuj3h3U "We have about 2,330 odd linear feet of new road that form a U-shape, and our project will front primarily onto these new roads, as well as a small section of Arthur Kill Road where we are keeping the Cole House," he continued, adding that he plans for 300-foot-long lanes to be used for turning into the proposed road network. "This will ensure there is no traffic backup on Arthur Kill Road, and will allow the existing two lanes to continue moving smoothly," Zuelzke added. Aside from easing traffic, parking is also on the agenda, with parking for more than 1,700 vehicles currently being planned. James Prendamano, managing director of Casandra Properties who are the schemes leasing agents said, "STUDIO V has essentially built a park within the parking garage. They cut out retail above it and will have trees and greenery that will grow up from underneath in the parking through the first level of retail up into the center court," said James Prendamano, managing director of Casandra Properties, leasing agents for the project. Resiliency too has been factored into the design, especially with the center court area. "The Center Court will span from the lowest parking level to the street level to the upper level," said Zuelzke. "It will be landscaped and will be part of the site's storm water strategy, helping collect water and heavy rains, and bring that back to the landscape in a very controlled manner." Additionally, ten acres of wetland area will be preserved to act as a natural barrier, while esplanades will join observation areas where the public can look over the wetlands. "I think the waterfront aspect is one of the most exciting aspects of the project. We also have an area we are calling the beach where you can really get down to the water itself, and we have an overlook deck with a view to the Outerbridge,said Zuelzke. The wetlands won't be the only space protected by the project either. The 19th-century Cole House in the vicinity is not landmarked, but STUDIO V has drafted plans presented to locals of the house serving as a meeting place, welcoming area or restaurant. So far plans are still awaiting approval, however, Leo Chung of STUDIO V anticipates ground to break next year with the project being complete around 2019. "We are seeking some waivers under the current zoning district (a manufacturing zone). More than 100,000 square feet of the retail isn't allowed, and we are asking for a waiver for that," said Chung.  
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In latest push to clear backlog, NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission designates nine new landmarks

Tasked with clearing its 95-item backlog, New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) is moving swiftly to shape the future of historic structures in the Big Apple by clearing its docket. On Tuesday, the LPC voted to designate nine items—eight individual structures and one historic district—as New York City Landmarks.
Perhaps the most recognizable item on the list was the Pepsi Cola Sign, which has graced the shores of Long Island City, Queens, since 1936. The sign is not a typical landmark. It's an ad for a beverage conglomerate, albeit a charming, retro ad. A debate arose around the nuances of the designation at a meeting in February to present evidence in favor of preservation. Supporters' eyes ping-ponged anxiously as LPC members brought up possible obstacles objections: Would designation cover the metal scaffolding that the bottle and logo are attached to, or would designation encompass just the signs' iconic appendages, leaving a loophole to alter the sign's arrangement?
The LPC decided to landmark the Pepsi sign, noting in its recommendation that the sign was preserved once before, as the factory it flanked was sold in 1999. The LPC's decision recognizes the city's manufacturing heritage, and preserves the spirit of place that's otherwise the face of bland waterfront luxury condo development. The grassroots Historic Districts Council (HDC) recommends that the LPC "investigate additional preservation protections, such as an easement or some other form of legal contract to help ensure this landmark’s continued presence."
In all, there were ten items recommended for designation, including two whose eclecticism and allure rival the Pepsi sign (the commission delayed a vote on Immaculate Conception Church in the South Bronx.). One residence is a Gravesend landmark: The Lady Moody-Van Sicklen House, a stone, 18th-century Dutch-American-style farmhouse, is a rare survivor from Brooklyn's agrarian past. Local lore holds that the house belonged to Lady Deborah Moody, one of the area's first European women landowners.
New Yorkers thrilled by the Neoclassical flourishes of the Fifth Avenue facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art will be delighted by the LPC's recognition of the Vanderbilt Mausoleum, a diminutive-by-comparison and little-known work by the same architect. École des Beaux Arts–trained Richard Morris Hunt designed the Romanesque Revival final resting place for the titans of industry, located in Staten Island's Frederick Law Olmsted–designed Moravian Cemetery. The Vanderbilts were so impressed by the meeting of minds that they hired Hunt and Olmstead to collaborate on the clan's low-key country house in North Carolina.
With that memento mori, the LPC voted to designate a few 19th-century structures within Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery. Although the entire cemetery, a National Historic Landmark, was up for local designation, even ardent preservationists advocated against the designation, noting that landmark status could place onerous restrictions on the 478-acre cemetery's operations: The plots, headstones, and mausoleums are owned by individuals, with 1,200 new "permanent residents" added annually, potentially complicating the regulation process.
The largest rural cemetery in the U.S., Green-Wood was designed by David Bates Douglass under the guiding landscape principles of Andrew Jackson Downing. The Gothic Revival entrance on Fifth Avenue, designed by Richard Upjohn and home to a vigorous parakeet colony, was declared an Individual Landmark in 1966. A chapel in the same style by Warren & Wetmore (the same firm behind Grand Central Terminal) received designation this time around, as did the Gatehouse and Gatehouse Cottage at the Fort Hamilton Parkway entrance.
For more information and updates on the extension of a Park Slope historic district, St. Augustine’s Church and Rectory, New England on City Island, and other newly-landmarked items, check out the LPC's website.
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Mayor de Blasio’s $2.75-per-ride ferry service to begin summer 2017

Expanding on the East River Ferry system, Mayor de Blasio will see his $55 million plan for a five borough ferry network come to fruition summer 2017.  At $2.75-a-ride, the system will be managed and operated by a California company, Hornblower, that has a proven track record in the industry, having run services in New York for ten years. Currently, the ferry caters to Manhattan residents and those on the shoreline between DUMBO, Brooklyn and Long Island City, Queens. The network will be expanded to escort people to Astoria, Queens; Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn; and the Rockaways, Queens. Come 2018, Soundview will service the Upper and Lower East Side. Another proposal looks to extend the service further to Staten and Coney Island, though no completion date has yet been penned in. The cost of a ferry trip will align with the price of a single subway ride. Bicycles may be carried on for an extra dollar. This is less than half of what it costs for a standard weekend ferry fare at the moment. Such a pricing scheme is no accident, either, as de Blasio has his eyes on integrating the network with the rest of the MTA system. According to de Blasio, commuters will be able to enjoy the "fresh air, harbor views, and a fast ride on the open water" on the 20-minute journey between Astoria and Manhattan's East 34th Street, as well as being able to make the most of the ferry on the hour-long commute between the Rockaways and Wall Street. “Today I applaud Mayor de Blasio for his $55 million capital commitment to a 5-borough ferry system and declaring that New York City’s waterfront will be open for all. The ripple effect from this service will be felt throughout the entire city from Bay Ridge to Bayside; from Staten Island to Soundview,” said Councilman Vincent Gentile. “Access to a true 5-borough ferry system will be just another jewel to add to our crown here in southwest Brooklyn, one that will be a boon to small businesses and real estate alike.”
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Staten Island’s eerie, abandoned Farm Colony to be transformed into senior housing

Staten Island's abandoned New York City Farm Colony is being redeveloped into Landmark Colony, a $91 million residential community for seniors 55 and older. The architect is Staten Island–based Vengoechea + Boyland Architecture/Urban Planning. The Farm Colony was founded in 1829 as a government-run poorhouse for indigent New Yorkers. Enrollment declined with the introduction of government-run antipoverty programs like Social Security in the 1930s and the Great Society programs of the 1960s. The colony closed for good in 1975. Vacant since then, the Dutch revival–style buildings have decayed and now provide canvases for graffiti artists. In 1982, some of the land was annexed to the NYC Parks Department and added to the Staten Island Greenbelt, which runs adjacent to the property. The site, along with neighboring Seaview Hospital, was designated a New York City historic district in 1985.
With last week's City Council approval, Landmark Colony's opening is set for 2018. Plans call for constructing 344 units, a mix of medium-rise condos and low-rise townhouses, on the 43-acre site, the Staten Island Advance reported.
The complex will include 18,500 square feet of retail, a community center with an outdoor swimming pool, and 17.6 acres of green space. The colony's pond will be refurbished, and a hill with seating will surround a stage for concerts and events. 90 percent of the existing roads will be converted into bike and pedestrian trails.
Some of the ruins will be left standing, and, per the Landmark Preservation Commission approval process, new buildings must be compatible with the architectural heritage of the Farm Colony. Former dormitories will be converted into loft-style condos, while the design of the townhouses will reference the shop building on-site.
With construction expected to take less than two years, urban explorers have a only a few months left to explore the Farm Colony's ghostly ruins.
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Archtober Building of the Day 24> Mariners Harbor Branch Library

Archtober Building of the Day #24 Mariners Harbor Branch Library 206 South Avenue, Staten Island A'PT Architecture In Mariner’s Harbor in Staten Island, Ana Torriani, AIA, and Lorenzo Pagnamenta, AIA, of A*PT Architecture (formerly Atelier Pagnamenta Torriani) have harvested an oyster intended to produce many pearls of wisdom. Mariner’s Harbor Branch Library, with its luminous, asymmetric zinc roof “cracked open” by a glass spine, resembles an open bivalve, referring back to the neighborhood’s history as an oyster farming community while inviting its current residents inside. Except for support spaces and a conference room, the entire library is a single, open volume. With its glass facades to the east and west and a series of skylights above, the interior glows with natural light, even on a grey fall day – an atmospheric mother of pearl. It looks effortless, but A*PT’s detail-oriented partners carried out countless studies to get everything just right. Part library, part community center, Mariner’s Harbor is certainly not your traditional stuffy library with dusty books and shushing librarians. Local organizations use the conference room to hold board meetings; a white board by the entrance announces the day’s varied activities. Today’s events included a morning yoga class and belly dancing. A sundeck leads to a yard where children learn to garden during the summer. A project of Department of Design + Construction’s Design Excellence program, the library provides much-needed resources (including shiny, new Apple computers) to an underserved community, serving as a sincere example of how good design can be used to fight inequality. And, while working for a public agency can be challenging, for Torriani and Pagnamenta, seeing the space brought to life by its patrons (who have doubled in number just one year) makes it all worthwhile. Tomorrow, we'll visit the Van Alen Institute.