As new apartment buildings continue to rise in Gowanus, Brooklyn, New York City's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced plans to install 90 bioswales nearby in hopes of cleaning the neighborhood's eponymous—and oh-so-polluted—canal. DNAinfo reported that starting this summer, the DEP will plan the so-called "curbside gardens" in hopes of soaking up about 8 million gallons of stormwater runoff, ultimately helping the overall ecological well-being of the Gowanus Canal. "Investing in green infrastructure is a cost-effective way to improve the health of the Gowanus Canal, green neighborhood streets and clean the air we all breathe," said DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd in a statement to DNAinfo. This bioswale program is part of New York City's larger, multi-billion dollar effort to use green infrastructure to capture stormwater and beautify streets. As AN reported last fall: "Thanks to a landmark 2012 settlement with state environmental officials, New York City finally is taking major steps to manage stormwater near contaminated waterways that don’t comply with the Clean Water Act, such as the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek. The initiative includes an ambitious plan to spend $2.4 billion on green infrastructure, which can include streetscapes designed with materials such as structural soil and permeable pavers."
Posts tagged with "Brooklyn":
Thomas Balsley’s geometric pedestrian plaza reclaims roadway for neighbors in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
After years of planning and workshops, Brooklyn's Community Board 2 recently approved a redesign of Putnam Triangle Plaza in Clinton Hill. The $3.75 million project, led by Thomas Balsley Associates, will significantly upgrade and expand the existing plaza that opened in 2011. The new space comes with a gray geometric paving pattern, new lighting, benches, tables, chairs, and bike racks, along with twice as many plantings and trees. There will also be new space for public art and events. The green light for the project comes months after Thomas Balsley Associates presented four options for the site to community members. That was the final stage in the plaza's public review process that had become notably heated; some local stakeholders decried the current plaza and the expensive plan to expand it. DNAinfo reported that the project will be primarily funded by the federal Transportation Enhancement Program with money also coming from New York City's PlanNYC and some local officials. Construction on the plaza is slated to start summer 2016 and last about one year.
If approved, this terraced building will rise in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, bringing the neighborhood new office space for tech and creative companies—and momentarily interrupting its unceasing march of bland and boxy new apartments. The "Williamsburg Generator," as it has been dubbed, would be the neighborhood's first ground-up speculative office building in four decades—but it is not a done deal just yet because the Gensler and HWKN–designed building sits within an area zoned for manufacturing. The Wall Street Journal reported that the project's developer, Toby Moskovits, who heads the women-led Heritage Equity Partners, will seek a special permit to get the project approved. While it would include 20 percent light manufacturing, some are already saying it is not appropriate for the industrial-zoned area. This issue will certainly be hashed out when the project enters ULURP in the next few weeks. As for its design, the Generator's brick and glass exterior is intended to evoke the neighborhood's industrial past while still giving it that glassy, modern feel. According to a press release from the development team, the interior layouts will be flexible and modular to accommodate the startups that will populate its halls. A public passageway will also cut through the building's two main volumes.
Last week, ODA: Architecture unveiled a dramatic rendering of a megaproject for Gowanus, Brooklyn, featuring a cluster of semi-transparent stepped pyramids. But almost as soon as the design was released, the site's owners stepped in as buzzkills, disavowing any connection with the ODA proposal. After the sleuths at 6sqft identified the future home of the ziggurats as 175–225 Third Street—thanks to a bit of graffiti pictured in the renderings—the owners, Kushner Companies and LIVWRK, released a statement indicating that they had already passed on ODA's pitch. "The developers are not working with ODA on this project and these designs do not represent our vision for this site or the Gowanus," they said. "We are committed to putting forth an outstanding plan that respects the context of the neighborhood and responds to the voices of local stakeholders." While we now know that ODA, which is currently working on other New York City projects including 10 Montieth Street in Bushwick, will not be bringing their pinwheel of Mesopotamian-inspired structures to the canal front, much about the future of the site remains uncertain. Last June, The Real Deal reported that the parcel could be rezoned to allow a mixed-use development of over one million square feet, to include 150,000 square feet of retail. The immediate area is ripe for commercial growth, with a Whole Foods located across the street and other large residential complexes going up nearby.
The comedy geniuses at digital network Above Average have released a glorious sendup of gentrification in New York City's outer boroughs. "Settlers of Brooklyn" (pronounced Brook-LAWN) promises hours of good old-fashioned board-game fun for the next generation of power brokers: millennials. A fictional update of "Settlers of Catan," "Settlers of Brooklyn" similarly encourages players to civilize Williamsburg and its surrounds by collecting resources and converting them into development—where "development," in the new context, equals upscale, hipster-oriented growth. "In the early 2000s, the land of Brooklyn was virtually uninhabited by young adults with wealthy parents," begins the voiceover. "Your goal is to be the first player to create a fully gentrified colony filled with used record stores, food trucks, and Urban Outfitters." Every aspect of "Settlers of Brooklyn" is tongue-in-cheek, from the lineup of resources—coffee, bicycles, vinyl, skinny jeans, and kale—to the prizes rewarding players on their way up—condo conversions and intangibles like "longest brunch." Development cards include "loan from Daddy" and "grad school," and a player who rolls the number seven can use the "realtor" piece to displace existing residents "to make room for more colonization." ("I hope they open a gym there," said the player demonstrating the move in the faux-mercial.) The corresponding piece in the original "Catan" is, of course, "the robber." The winner of "Settlers of Brooklyn"—the first player to 10 points—is "crowned Lena Dunham." Worried the fun stops there? Have no fear; the video promises expansion packs for Harlem and Astoria.
The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has given its blessing to ODA's jewel-like faceted facade for a factory-to-condo conversion on the Dumbo waterfront. The firm first presented its plans for 10 Jay Street last month, and while it was well received, commissioners didn't think the dramatic, glassy design was a perfect fit for the historic neighborhood. So the firm took that into account and added more steel and brick elements into its design. And with that—permission was granted. Curbed reported that the sugar crystal-design of the facade was inspired by the building's history as a sugar refinery. The commission had previously approved ODA's plans to restore the building's other three sides. Check out the fly-through below to get a better sense of the design—albeit, the earlier version of the design. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlLQ6DLy44c According to the Real Deal, demolition is slated to start May 1 and completion is planned for Fall 2016.
ODA has unveiled renderings for a massive new residential complex in Bushwick, Brooklyn—and it certainly reminds us of Bjarke Ingels’ 8 House in Copenhagen with its doughnut-like shape and landscaped roof that dips toward the street. At nearly 400,000 square feet, ODA’s 10 Montieth Street will become a major piece in the redevelopment of the Rheingold Brewery site. The 392-unit rental building is quite obviously geared toward younger tenants that have been flocking to the neighborhood in recent years. Above the building’s apartments—most of which are studios or one-bedrooms—is that 25,000-square-foot roof, which packs more amenities than a three-day Carnival Cruise. According to the Real Deal, 10 Montieth’s zigzagging roof has a “running/hiking course, urban farming areas and an outdoor cross-training facility.” There is also apparently a “chill space” and some graffiti walls so renters can take the edge off if urban farming isn’t going as planned. They could also probably use the 19,000-square-foot courtyard as a “chill space.” Good to have options. The building’s protruding volumes and balconies give it the boxy design aesthetic we have come to expect from ODA. The geometric exterior is primarily clad in light gray stone or concrete and has pronounced orange window frames. ODA adds contrast to the project by using darker materials on the sections of the building that are set back from the street.
Many of the new condominiums erected in Brooklyn during the last building boom are not aging well. The New York Times reported that “[w]hen the housing market collapsed in 2007 and coffers ran dry, many developers were left scrambling to complete projects. Some cut corners or abandoned developments, leaving others to finish the work.” This led to poorly constructed buildings and angry residents who are stuck dealing with mold, cracking balconies, and flooding. One such building even saw part of its facade fall off. Now many of the developers behind the shoddy buildings are breaking ground on new projects, hopefully with more attention to quality.
As AN reported, it will be quite difficult for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to pull off his plan to launch a five-borough ferry system. There are, of course, the obvious issues surrounding subsidies, ridership, operators, and dock placement that could all cause major headaches down the road. While the mayor starts charting his path through these details, another potential problem came to the fore: winter weather. https://vimeo.com/119709319 Specifically, a partially frozen East River. Just weeks after de Blasio announced his five-borough ferry plan, Gothamist reported that the East River Ferry had to discontinue service at least once because boats could not make it through the ice. On its website, New York Waterway, which operates the East River Ferry, explained that the river (technically an estuary) is extremely unpredictable over the winter and that conditions can change within minutes. This, it said, can disrupt the schedule and lead to the temporary closure of certain stops. “We hope that you can understand,” it wrote on its site, “and won’t hate us forever.” It is not you we hate, East River Ferry operator, it is this never-ending winter. https://twitter.com/eastriverferry/status/567044595859869696 https://twitter.com/eastriverferry/status/569922481802375168
As AN recently reported, a fire that destroyed a warehouse in Williamsburg, Brooklyn has rekindled questions about a long-promised waterfront park. Back in 2005, Michael Bloomberg rezoned much of Williamsburg and Greenpoint leading to a surge in glassy towers. With those towers was supposed to come Bushwick Inlet Park, a 28-acre green space along the East River. But in the decade since, only parts of the park have been completed. That is partly because when the city rezoned the waterfront, it didn't purchase the 11-acre Citistorage property that sits in the middle of the planned park. Now, with one of the warehouses destroyed, local residents and elected officials are urging the de Blasio administration to finally acquire the lot and deliver more green space. But with the property reportedly valued between $75 million and $100 million, the de Blasio administration says it has no plans to do so. In spite of that, over the weekend protesters used "light graffiti" to urge the administration to change course. Gothamist reported that images were projected on the side of a storage facility next to the charred site that read: "The city mapped it, designed it, and promised it and we need it more than ever," "Hey de Blasio Where's Our Park?" and "This Right Here is Supposed to be a Park." There were also details displayed about an upcoming rally planned outside City Hall on Thursday. The event in Williamsburg brings us back to 2011 when Occupy Wall Street protesters projected so-called "bat signals" on the side of the Verizon Building next to the Brooklyn Bridge.
Overcrowding on New York City subway trains is becoming a major problem for commuters. According to new data from the MTA, there were 14,843 weekday delays caused by overcrowding in December alone. The New York Post found that the number is up 113 percent from the same period a year ago. Fixing the overcrowding will not be easy for the MTA as it is trying to accommodate record ridership and still dealing with damage from Superstorm Sandy.
As AN has been reporting for a while now, it's all systems go for the long-stalled Domino Sugar Factory redevelopment on the Brooklyn waterfront. Crews have been demolishing old structures on the site for months, and today we got word that the developer, Two Trees, is breaking ground on the massive project's first residential building: a 16-story, 500-unit rental building designed by SHoP, which is designing the entire project. In a press release, the developer noted that "approximately 105" of the 500 units will be designated as affordable. With news of the groundbreaking also comes a new rendering of the building that gives us a better sense of its design. While its overall form appears to be roughly the same, with terraces that create a cascading effect, its materials have clearly changed. Atop a masonry podium, SHoP said the building will be clad in industrial materials like zinc and copper. The building is slated to be completed in 2017. Two Trees also announced that it's starting to repair the site's waterfront pier to accommodate an upcoming 5-plus acre public park designed by James Corner Field Operations. This prep work is expected to take between 12 and 18 months.