Posts tagged with "BQE":

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This recycling artist gives dead trees new life in the most popular borough for dead New Yorkers

The holidays are here when the Coniferous Tree Exception kicks in. This New York City ordinance allows dead pine trees to be sold on city sidewalks in the weeks leading up to Christmas. One true marker of the season's end is the Christmas trees that line those same sidewalks in January, awaiting DSNY pickup. In years past, one artist has revivified these trees, albeit illegally, creating semi-real pine forests from discarded trees in marginal urban spaces. This year, the trees will have a second chance at life in the most popular place for dead New Yorkers: Queens. In 2012 and 2013, San Francisco–based artist Michael Neff rounded up 35 Christmas trees from the curbs of Brooklyn. He hung them with twine from a metal pipe and displayed them under a BQE overpass, at Metropolitan Avenue and North 6th Street, in Williamsburg. Within a matter of hours, the trees were removed and discarded by the city. https://vimeo.com/150815655 This year, Neff is reprising his installation, legitimated and indoors, at the Knockdown Center, in Maspeth, Queens. A time-lapse video (above) shows the installation in process. Working a cherry picker, Neff and his team suspend coniferous trees of slightly varying sizes from the ceiling in a neat grid. In a statement on the exhibition's event page, Neff describes the advantages that a change of venue con(i)fers:
The exhibition at Knockdown Center allows for a much different experience, most importantly time for the trees to shed their needles into halos on the smooth concrete floor below. Paired with the subtle pine fragrance of the trees and the opportunity for quiet contemplation, the exhibition encourages repeated viewing.
Suspended Forest is on view from January 9th to January 31st.
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Silent Light Installation Illuminated Sound Pollution in Brooklyn

First proposed in 2011, Brooklyn's Silent Light installation has finally become a reality.  Located at the intersection of Park Avenue and Navy Street under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) in Red Hook, the series of gates frames a pedestrian walkway that passes through an area of heavy vehicular traffic. The structures are covered in LED lights activated by surrounding noise from cars to create fleeting light shows of various colors and patterns. The project was conceived and executed by Valeria Blanco, Shagun Singh, and Michelle Brick who together form the Artists Build Collaborative.  The trio collaborated with the Department of Transportation's Urban Art Program, the Brooklyn Arts Council, and the Red Hook Initiative to fund, construct, and install Silent Lights. The arches are intended to provide nocturnal aid to pedestrians navigating a potentially hazardous stretch of sidewalk.  More broadly, the Collaborative hopes that by dramatically visualizing the issue, the installation will call attention to problems of noise pollution that plague the neighborhood by virtue of the BQE.
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Farmers Market, Sculpture, and Dog Run Could Occupy Space Beneath BQE

Since the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) was constructed nearly 70 years ago, the inelegant thruway has callously split apart neighborhoods, leaving beneath it deserted stretches, visually unappealing and often vulnerable to crime. DNA Info reported that Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership is trying to revive one such blighted area in the Wallabout district of Clinton Hill. The strip right at Steuben Street and Park Avenue, which has been a site for dumping illegal trash, could soon host a farmer's market, public art, dog run, and live music. The partnership is proposing a range of uses and looking to collaborate with local businesses—such as the creators of the now defunct DeKalb Market—to help bring activities and services to the area. The effort to revamp the inhospitable corridor beneath the BQE has been part of an ongoing endeavor that has involved a number of organizations, spearheaded by the Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project (MARP). MARP launched a planning initiative in 2009 utilizing experimental art collective, raumlaborberlin’s Spacebuster, and partnering with local institution Pratt Institute’s Planning Department to hold mini-visioning workshops. Later MARP partnered with Architecture for Humanity New York (AFHNY) to work on a 2-year planning effort called “Under the BQE” that helped to engage the community and re-imagine new uses for the spaces in addition to creating a plan to improve pedestrian and traffic safety. First the partnership needs some funding to jump start any changes to the space. They are currently hoping to receive a NYCDOT Public Plaza grant. A wining application will be selected by January 2014.
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Slideshow> Squibb Pedestrian Bridge Bounces Into Brooklyn Bridge Park

HNTB's Squibb Park Pedestrian Bridge connecting the Brooklyn Heights Promenade with Brooklyn Bridge Park opened to the public last Thursday. The $4.9 million bridge was built using "trail bridge technology" with galvanized steel cables and cylindrical black locust timbers, providing an efficient and lightweight structure that, as a sign at the entrance to the bridge warns, quite literally puts a bounce in visitors' steps. "The bridge is very light weight. You will feel yourself walking across the bridge," HNTB's Chief Engineer Ted Zoli said at a construction tour in December. On AN's visit to the bridge Friday morning, traversing the spans did in fact provide a bouncy effect. The 400-foot-long Squibb Park Pedestrian Bridge zig-zags through Brooklyn Bridge Park, moving through what will one day be a mixed-use development on the park's edge designed by Rogers Marvel Architects and providing a crucial connection to the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood which sits largely cut off from the waterfront by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Concrete piers support the main bridge spans across Furman Street and through the park, which gently decline from a height of 50 feet to the waterfront park. LED lights are incorporated into the handrails that will wash the pathway with light in the evening.
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Brooklyn Group Calls for Designers To Raise the Fun Quotient of Atlantic Avenue’s Funderpass

Atlantic Avenue is one step closer to getting its Funderpass. The Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) just announced a Request for Proposals to redesign the space below the drab BQE underpass to create a more pedestrian-friendly connection between the shops and restaurants on Atlantic Avenue and Brooklyn Bridge Park. The RFP encourages respondents to “partner with another organization such as a lighting designer, landscape firm, or graphic design firm to broaden the expertise of the team you submit to us.” Last December, AN reported that the Atlantic Avenue BID received a $75,000 grant from the NYC Department of Small Business Services for this project. The deadline for the RFP is February 26th, 2013.
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Envisioning a Green Future for the BQE

The proposals are in after Monday's final public meeting to decide the future of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway trench which severs the Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, and Columbia Street Waterfront neighborhoods of Brooklyn. Residents spoke up and prioritized their wishes for a less disruptive BQE including reduced noise and pollution, increased neighborhood connectivity and bike / pedestrian safety, and an overall greener streetscape. In short, the BQE is going green, or at least as green as a pollution-spewing six-lane highway can be.  Luckily the NYC EDC, NYC DOT, and Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects have come up with three compelling design solutions to improve the area. Three proposed designs offer increasing levels of complexity and ambition with an eye toward construction and financial feasibility. It remains to be seen what proposed intervention will actually be implemented, but nearly any change to this urban sore can be seen as an improvement.  Take a look at the three proposals below. All three proposals build from one another, beginning with the quick fix, "Maximum Green." This plan seeks to improve the streetscape with widened sidewalks and landscaped bumpouts and curvy chicanes.  At a cost of $10.7 to $18.7 million, this should be an easy sell for even the most frugal politician.  The scheme calls for shaving off unused and excessive street space on Hicks Street to calm traffic and create room for the landscaping and sidewalk. The base model Maximum Green design keeps the existing chain-link fence surrounding the highway, but upgrades include an artsy vine-covered metal screen with built in acoustic panels (see comparison below). Existing bridges also feature added landscaping in large planters and drastically wider sidewalks that could possibly accommodate newsstands or a proposed "BQE Flea."  Even with plants, trees, and places to sit, though, will the next hip Brooklyn hang-out be above a noxious highway? More ambitious, the "Connections" scheme retains the basic improvements of the "Maximum Green" design and adds five new pedestrian and bike bridges across the highway and replace one existing bridge to allow handicap accessibility and help restore the original street grid. Depending on the budget, these spans could become illuminated icons topped with photovoltaic roof panels.  Options include flanking the bridges with vine-covered panels and adding LED lighting to create playful interest at night.  Extra features, of course, mean inflated cost, and the Connections scheme would run between $30.1 and $41.3 million. Finally, the "dream scheme" pulls in the massively landscaped streetscape and pedestrian bridges of the previous two proposals but does its best to mask the BQE out of the neighborhood.  "Green Canopy" offers a massive $28 million steel angle-and-beam structure designed by Kiss+Cathcart Architects creating a pseudo-cap over the BQE trench.  Acoustic panels built into the span mitigate noise while a central mesh of steel precludes the need for an active ventilation system. The iconic structure is then covered in vines and solar cells which could net an estimated $312,000 in electricity annually.  If all that weren't enough, imagine dining while hovering above the highway at the "Trench Cafe."  Retail space in the Green Canopy plan is situated on the existing bridge at Union Street. Cost to cover the highway with a giant metal mesh? $78.8 to $82.7 million.  Cost to forget about the BQE forever? Priceless.  Sound off on your favorite scheme in the comments below.
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Have Your Say On the Future of the BQE Monday Evening

It's not too late to join community leaders from the Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, and Columbia Street Waterfront neighborhoods along with the New York City Economic Development Corporation to discuss the future of the Bronx-Queens Expressway.  The third and final BQE Community Design Workshop takes place this evening and will cover refined designed proposals aimed to reconnect areas surrounding the urban expressway. Act quickly, as the final Community Design Workshop takes place this evening from 6:30PM until 8:30PM at the Long Island College Hospital (LICH), Avram Conference Center, Rooms A and B located at 339 Hicks Street in Brooklyn.  Attendance is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is requested at BQE@nycedc.com. Among topics to be discussed are noise reduction, pollution mitigation, beautification, connectivity, and pedestrian safety.  The BQE Enhancement project target area is bounded by Hamilton Avenue and Atlantic Avenue and is planned to be built in the next five to ten years.