Posts tagged with "Astoria":

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3D printed furniture rolls into Socrates Sculpture Park

Ithaca-based studio HANNAH has installed a series of 3D printed seats across Socrates Sculpture Park in Astoria, Queens, for the summer, extending their architectural experiments in large-scale 3D printing to sectional furniture. RRRolling Stones is the 2018 winner of Folly/Function, an annual competition held by the Architectural League of New York in partnership with the sculpture park, and will officially open to the public on July 12. 3D printing is something of a passion for HANNAH cofounders and Cornell University professors Leslie Lok and Sasa Zivkovic, and they used Folly/Function to publicize the practical side of the technology. At a full-scale printing demonstration in the sculpture park on July 11, the team discussed the technical challenges in fabricating custom seating that could stand up to wear and tear in the park, as well as the design of the massive printer itself. The seats in RRRolling Stones were designed for maximum versatility. All of the chairs have a graphic silhouette and can be rolled to different angles to accommodate different seating styles. The chairs can also be pushed together to create a modular benching system to accommodate larger events in the park. None of this would have been possible without the printer, a steel frame structure cobbled together for approximately $5,000 from open-source plans on the internet and assembled with help from students at the Cornell Robotic Construction Laboratory (RCL). Material is gravity-fed through a PVC hopper at the top and the nozzle uses an auger to restrict the flow of concrete. The printing arm is attached to a pulley and counterweight so that it can rapidly move up and down. Each structure is printed in thin layers, and the mix of machine vibrations, the viscosity of the concrete, wind, the slope of the floor, and human error mean that no two pieces are the same. Printing the seats and their miniature counterparts involves much more human interaction than a 'set and forget' desktop 3D printer. A human needs to mix the concrete, feed it into the hopper, test the consistency, adjust the print thickness on the fly, and correct gaps and streaks in the prints before they dry. The concrete substrate is a blend of Portland cement, a plasticizer for elasticity, and nylon threads for added strength, making the final mix more of a mortar than true concrete. The smaller printed pieces are freestanding, but the stress faced by the larger chairs meant that HANNAH had to cut and embed custom rebar structures into the full-sized seats. The seats were fabricated at Cornell, and HANNAH packed the interior of each with gravel during the printing to stabilize the chairs throughout the manufacturing process. Lok, Zivkovic, and members of the RCL will be at Socrates Sculpture Park running a printing demonstration tonight from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. under the park’s gantry. Afterward, visitors can take in live jazz as part of the park’s monthly series. RRRolling Stones will be on display for the rest of the summer. Making of - RRRolling Stones from HANNAH Office on Vimeo.
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Check out exclusive first renderings of Kaufman Astoria Studios’ latest expansion

Kaufman Astoria Studios, a film and TV studio that’s been a fixture in Astoria, Queens since its opening in 1921, is expanding in a big way. Local firm GLUCK+ has shared renderings of the forthcoming four-story film and production building, which comes on the heels of Kaufman Astoria opening the city’s first backlot (used to stage outdoor scenes) in 2014. Besides adding several floors of office space, the new building will hold production offices, dressing rooms, prop storage areas, and two stages, increasing the campus's stage space by 25 percent. Once completed, the new building will represent a sizable increase for the studio’s overall campus, which currently stands at 500,000 feet, and includes nine stages and a restaurant. The project, sited at 35-71 34th Avenue, is down the street from the Museum of the Moving Image. From the renderings, it seems that the studio will also be returning a perforated gate at the northern edge of 34th Avenue that was removed in 2014; the same year a new entrance gate and spiral staircase were added to the campus’s south edge. The exterior of the 100,000-square-foot addition will be clad in vertical panels, and the overall scheme fits comfortably into GLUCK+’s design canon. The 84-foot-tall film and production building will hold 68,000 square feet of open office space across the top half, which should be well-lit due to the numerous, narrow vertical punch windows that break up the facade. According to YIMBY, Kaufman Astoria employees can expect 14-foot-tall ceilings and seven balconies. Kaufman Astoria will also be gaining two stages inside of the building’s heftier bottom half, directly below the offices, as well as 134 parking spaces. Kaufman Astoria Studios has been hugely influential in New York's film and television history, and everything from silent movies to TV shows like Sesame Street and Orange is the New Black in more recent years has been filmed there. Construction on the office project began in February 2017, and no completion date has been announced as of yet.
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$1.5 billion Hallets Point project in Astoria given green light for a second time as Cuomo secures affordable housing plan

The Hallets Point project in Astoria, Queens, is back on track after Governor Cuomo secured approval of the Affordable New York program earlier this month. The scheme is essentially a replacement for the “421-a” initiative which had been in place for 50 years and encouraged city developers to build more affordable homes incentivized through tax breaks.

Backed by the Durst Organization, the project began construction at the start of 2016, though this stopped just a day later as the 421-a program came to a close, meaning that the developers could not afford to continue the project. It was due to cost $1.5 billion and cover 2.4 million square feet.

Subsequently, it had been reported that Durst had drastically curtailed their plans for the site: A project that once promised seven buildings housing 1,917 market-rate dwellings and a further 483 affordable units along with a supermarket, school, and waterfront esplanade had been reduced to one building boasting a measly 163 units—all of which had been paid for before 421-a ended.

However, Durst spokesperson Jordan Barowitz told The Architect's Newspaper that the plan was "never scaled back." "We just said that if 421-a wasn’t in place we couldn’t move forward, it's the same plan," he said. Barowitz also added that if Cuomo's Affordable New York act hadn't gone through, Durst would have been forced to scuttle affordable housing on the other projects such as 1800 Park Avenue (which is still in the design phase) and the Queens Plaza Park scheme in Long Island City. 

However, Hallets Point—designed by two New York firms Dattner Architects and Studio V—is good to go again. "We're very pleased we’ll be able to move forward with the project and help revitalize the Hallets community and create a bunch of jobs and hundreds of units of affordable housing," Barowitz, told DNAinfo.

In a press release, Durst said:

Hallets Point will transform the now isolated stretch of the Queens waterfront into a thriving residential community with a supermarket, a vibrant mix of retail, an extended and enhanced esplanade, parklands and renovated playgrounds. The project also includes community use facilities, a site for the construction of a new K-8 public school and an additional development lot for the New York City Housing Authority.

The first building to be constructed on the site will provide 405 residential units and a supermarket. It is scheduled to open in Spring next year.

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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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Back to the Future: New York City explores streetcar transit route linking outer boroughs

Remember the New York City streetcar? Unless you're a New Yorker of a certain age, you definitely don't. Advances in transportation technology (what die-hard conspiracy theorists refer to as Great American Streetcar Scandal) drove streetcars all over the U.S. straight to the last stop. Yet, it's now very possible that two neighboring boroughs, Brooklyn and Queens, will be reunited once again via a new streetcar line of their very own. The streetcar plans legitimate what transportation planners (and Michael Kimmelman) have known for years: commuting patterns in the city have changed, and the hub-and-spoke model no longer serves diffuse, inter- outer-borough commuting patterns. In his State of the City address last week, Mayor de Blasio proposed a 16-mile waterside streetcar route, the Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX), that would run through 14 neighborhoods, from Brooklyn's Sunset Park through Astoria, Queens. These areas have seen swift transitions from their industrial origins and rapid population growth as the waterfront settles comfortably into its post-industrial future. Renderings are credited to a nonprofit called the Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector. According to The Daily News, members include "transit experts, community leaders and business giants like Doug Steiner of Steiner Studios, investor Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures and Helena Durst of the Durst Organization real estate firm." When the plan was announced in January, AN reached out the the nonprofit repeatedly for comment to confirm stakeholders and received no response. With backers like these, concerns about gentrification and potentially developer-driven policy have been raised. Some see the streetcar idea as a way to spur already-high land values along the waterfront, although the streetcar could also provide the more than 40,000 residents of waterfront NYCHA complexes with better access to public transportation. Others have raised concerns about locating the line in a flood zone. Still others have questioned why the city needs to spend billions on a new form of transportation, one that moves at a pokey 12 miles-per-hour, when bus service could be offered along a similar route. There is time to debate: Although energy around the plan is high, the groundbreaking is a long way off. The plan's timeline states that construction is expected to begin in 2019, and service could begin in 2024. The city pegs the cost at around $2.5 billion, although earlier estimates ran $800 million lower.
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Michael Kimmelman Proposes A Queens-Brooklyn Waterfront Streetcar

As development along the Brooklyn and Queens’ waterfront has increased dramatically over the years, transportation options—for residents old and new—has not. The number of glass towers, startups, and parks along the East River has only been matched by style pieces on new “it” neighborhoods from Astoria to Red Hook. But, now, the New York Times' Michael Kimmelman has used his platform to launch a plan to change that equation, and give these neighborhoods the transportation system they deserve. Kimmelman is proposing a modern streetcar to better connect these waterfront neighborhoods. He explained that a streetcar system takes less time to build than a new subway line, needs less space on the road than light-rail, and is more romantic than a city bus. “By providing an alternative to cars, streetcars also dovetail with Mayor De Blasio’s vow to improve pedestrian safety,” Kimmelman said, adding that the mayor wouldn’t need Albany’s blessing for this plan. The streetcar would, of course, not run cheap, but Kimmelman said the upfront costs are more than worth it. “The city’s urban fabric can’t be an afterthought,” says Kimmelman. “The keys to improved city life—better health care, housing, schools, culture, business, tourism and recreation—all have spatial implications.” Read Kimmelman's full proposal at the NY Times.
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Zoning Change will Open Door for Sprawling Residential Development in Queens

Astoria may soon rival its neighbor, Long Island City, as the next major residential waterfront community in Queens. In a unanimous vote, the City Planning Commission has given developer Lincoln Equities Group the green light to move forward with a $1 billion residential housing development on Hallets Point peninsula. DNAinfo reported that the project would include 2,161 market-rate and 483 affordable apartments as well as a public esplanade along the East River, retail, supermarket, and possibly a public school in NYCHA's adjacent Astoria Houses campus. According to the Daily News, some government officials have voiced concerns that the infrastructure cannot support the surge in population that will come with this seven-building project.  Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. is worried about the strain this development will put on the local transportation. “There’s going to be thousands of people moving into this development and future developments,” Vallone (D-Astoria) told the Daily News. The proposal still has to win the support of City Council before the developers can proceed with construction. The project is anticipated to be completed by 2022.
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Recycling Finally on NYC Streets?

When was the last time you found yourself on a city street, empty water bottle or given-up-on crossword in hand? Being the conscientious New Yorker you are, no doubt you looked around for a recycling bin to deposit your refuse in. Odds are, you didn't find any nearby, as the city—so often held up as a green beacon—is woefully lacking in recycling receptacles. That could change soon, with the passage of a package of recycling-related legislation that was unveiled just before Earth Day last month. Since the launch of a public recycling pilot program in 2007, there are now 300 bins scattered across the city. The council hopes to double that number within three years of the legislation's passage and increase it to 1,000 within a decade. But the city has a long way to go, considering there are more than 25,000 "corner baskets" located in the five boroughs. Today, Council Speaker Christine Quinn and some of her greener colleagues took a trip up to Astoria to check up on the recycling bins there as part of the pilot program and urge New Yorkers to lobby for more of them. “Next time you walk through your local park or down a major commercial strip, take a quick glance into one of the public waste baskets," Quinn said in a statemtn. "I guarantee you it will be brimming with newspapers, magazines, plastic bottles, and soda cans—all of which can and should be recycled. As we head into summer and New Yorkers and tourists spend more time outdoors at our world-famous public attractions, this bill will give them the to opportunity to pitch in and recycle, and make our city an even cleaner and greener place.” While the council's initial efforts may seem meager, an official said that they would be conspicuously located in high-traffic locations, such as parks and major thoroughfares, allowing a limited number of cans to meet a considerable amount of the city's recycling needs. Also, the council continues to negotiate with the Department of Sanitation, meaning there could be more bins on the way. Given that another piece of the recycling legislation is the capacity to finally recycle paint, certain hazard waste, and plastic beyond those items labeled 1 and 2—now including takeout containers and juice bottles—it seems like this is the least, though certainly not the most, the city could do.