Posts tagged with "Brooklyn":

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Video> The Guggenheim′s Mute Button Dials Down the Urban Din

The Guggenheim has been blurring the boundaries of what makes a traditional museum lately, and among their latest forays into the streets of New York is stillspotting nyc, a series investigating urban life (a previous program, Sanitorium, explored what keeps city dwellers sane as they rush about their hectic lives). Now, The Mute Button, a collaboration between the Guggenheim and Improv Everywhere, continues this trend by staging 23 under-cover actors and two dogs at the entrance to Prospect Park at Grand Army Plaza. The troup is a noisy bunch, until--presto!--the din of the city turns silent. A camera was on hand to catch the reactions of befuddled passers by. (Via Gothamist.)
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Guggenheim′s Newest Exhibit to Offer Therapy

The stereotypes of New Yorkers are that they're rude, they only wear black, and they all have therapists. Sanitorium, the first installation of Guggenheim's new program, stillspotting nyc, explores the smorgasborg of therapies that help the city's neurotic residents keep their lives together. The installation is one of many that will take place over the next two years as a part of stillspotting nyc, which explores stillness and quiet in the hectic city. The program enlists architects, designers and composers to transform "still spots" into public tours, events and installations every three to five months. For the first installation, Artist Pedro Reyes transforms the storefront level of One MetroTech in downtown Brooklyn into a temporary clinic in early June. According to the Guggenheim:
In two-hour windows, Sanatorium visitors experience up to three sessions from over a dozen options through meetings with a series of “therapists.” Balancing reality and parody, Sanatorium draws from Gestalt psychology, theater warm-up exercises, Fluxus events, conflict resolution techniques, trust-building games, corporate coaching, psychodrama, and hypnosis.
The sessions include Ex-Voto, in which visitors express thanks for a blessing, which an artist will then render into a small painting; Epitaphs, in which a therapist will facilitate the inscription of one’s tombstone; and Gong Pavilion, in which vibrations from nearby gongs are applied to acupuncture points. The venue, a 23-story skyscraper in Brooklyn and former home to Bear Stearns and Keyspan Energy, may strike some as an odd choice for the Guggenheim, but the program is part of a trend to move the museum's Architecture and Urban Studies programming into the city, as is increasingly apparent with BMW Guggenheim Labs and FutureFarmers, which included events at the Gowanus Canal, in the East Village and other offbeat locations.
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Quick Clicks> Pruitt Igoe Today, Ciclovia Strategies, Brooklyn Drama, and Legos!

Pruitt Overgrown. Thirty three acres in the middle of St. Louis are now densely overgrown with forest, but the site was once home to the infamous Pruitt Igoe homes. Preservation Research Office led a tour of the site last week and took some great photos on the way to a screening of the Pruitt-Igoe Myth documentary. Ciclovia Transformations. While LA shut down city streets over the weekend for its first CicLAvia of 2011, Project for Public Spaces imagines how such car-free events can invite new thinking about the use of public space in cities across the world. Tobacco Troubles. On Friday, the latest round of drama surrounding Brooklyn's Tobacco Warehouse played out, and it wasn't the latest performance by the indie theater troupe of St. Ann's Warehouse, who plans to renovate the abandoned building. A judge has issued an injunction against developing the property on grounds that a public hearing wasn't conducted. Brownstoner and the Brooklyn Paper have the latest. Lego Love. The Overhead Wire spotted a lego train with an actual operating sliding door. OW says it best: "I like legos, I like trains, and I like them together." In other Lego news, Curbed found the world's tallest Lego tower in Sao Paulo, Brazil standing 102 feet high, and Unbeige reports that Mies' Farnsworth House is the newest architectural icon to become a Lego set.
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Celebrating Coney Island′s Most Curious

The Congress of Curious Peoples has touched down in Brooklyn. Part symposium, part festival, and part freak show, the event celebrates Coney Island's rich history as a vacation and amusement destination. Starting on April 8th, the 10 days of freaky fun begins with Coney Island USA’s annual Sideshow Hall of Fame Inductions and ends on the 17th with Alumni Weekend, where you can catch legendary sideshow performers from the Coney Island Circus Sideshow as well as a scholarly conference on the past, present, and future of this unique and historic part of NYC.
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Gowanus On My Mind

  The Gowanus Canal has been in the news a lot lately, with its superfund designation and sunken schooner. The canal and surrounding neighborhood have long fascinated architects and urbanists, and has been the subject of numerous architecture school design studios. A new ideas competition looks to develop that fascination into a series of proposals for the site, which would improve connectivity across and around the polluted waterway and take better advantage of the area's unique history, character, and economic potential. Sponsored by Gowanus By Design, Connections: The Gowanus Lowline competition site area covers the length of the canal from the flushing station at Butler Street to the Nineth Street Bridge and may include the uplands on either side. Entrants may also choose to focus narrowly on the canal corridor. Greg Pasquerelli, David Lewis, Julie Bargmann, Richard Plunz, Andrew Simon, and Joel Towers will serve as jurors. The April 1 registration deadline is approaching, and entries are due on April 17.  
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Prospect Park West Bike Lane Target of Lawsuit

That thin ribbon of green paint along Brooklyn's Prospect Park West sure is a touchy subject for residents of the Park Slope neighborhood, and beyond--they're even talking about it in London. Many love the new separated bike lane installed in June 2010--the "pro-laners"--but a vocal group packing some political power would rather see the lane removed--the "anti-laners." We're not kidding when we say the anti-laners are up in arms, either. According to a Gothamist report, one resident wielding a bullhorn shouted to bystanders that the new bike path "mutilated" the broad boulevard. After threatening legal action for a month, two area organizations, Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes and Seniors for Safety, have now filed a lawsuit requesting the lane's removal, which should make CB6's public hearing on Thursday night more lively than usual. StreetsBlog summarizes the complaint:
It argues that DOT acted in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner, with conclusions made irrationally or in bad faith. It argues that the bike lane did not properly go through the necessary processes given the landmarked status of the Park Slope neighborhood and Prospect Park. And finally, it argues that an environmental review was necessary to assess the impact of the lane on the historic character of the area.
Among the anti-laners are Iris Weinshall, a former NYC DOT commissioner who just happens to be married to U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, and former Sanitation Commissioner Norman Steisel. Anti-laners have also argued that the Prospect Park bike lane has remade crossing the street as a pedestrian into an urban adventure. Local resident and Huffington Post blogger Paul LaRosa wrote that Prospect Park West "now resembles that old video game Frogger where you need to keep looking and back and forth to avoid getting splattered by a car or a bike." Opposing the lawsuit, Councilman Brad Lander, who represents Park Slope, said a survey of the neighborhood shows the majority of residents support for the bike lane. The Park Slope Civic Association also falls in the pro-laner camp. Association president Michael Cairl told Transportation Nation, "Prospect Park West before the reconfiguration had been a speedway. It was unsafe to cross, it was unsafe to cycle on, it wasn’t all that safe to drive on." The anti-laners submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the DOT's raw data, finding flaws with the results. Their sentiments are echoed by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz who also questioned the validity of the DOT data. He suggested that the original study to determine the feasibility of the bike lane should have been done by an outside agency to make it more impartial. As different parts of the city create new bike-car combinations, it's inevitable that there will be some clashes. We'll keep an eye out for the implications for our built environment as cases like these plays out in court and on the street.
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Ahoy! Treasure in the Gowanus Muck!

The Enviornmental Protection Agency is beginning its analysis and cleanup of the filthy yet fascinating Gowanus canal. It's proving to be full of all kinds of junk, including horrendous carcinogenic chemicals and, as the Brooklyn Paper reports, a 60 foot long sunken ship! Located where Fifth Street meets the canal, the wooden ship likely dates from the 19th century, the channel's shipping heyday. What we're calling the S.S. Superfund was discovered through sonar scanning, its outline is clearly visible in the image above. This is the second time in a year that New York's maritime past has resurfaced. Last summer another submerged ship was found buried at the World Trade Center site.
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Quick Clicks> Piano, Plazas, Babbling, Budget Cuts

Manhattanville's Piano. While tallying who is the biggest landlord in New York (it's still the church by a hair), The Observer uncovered a few new views of Renzo Piano's Jerome L. Green Science Center at Columbia's Manhattanville campus, seen here next to a train viaduct. Pedestrianizing New York. The remaking of New York's public spaces continues its forward march. Brownstoner has details on the planned pedestrian plaza on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn and StreetsBlog highlights DOT's plans to create a permanent block-long Plaza de las Americas in Washington Heights. Archi-babble. Witold Rybczynski talkes issue with architecture's professional jargon in Slate, including a beginner's guide to commonly used words from assemblage to gesamtkunstwerk. What's your favorite word from the language of architecture? Subway Squeeze. We're not talking about your crowded commute, but New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposal to trim $100 million from transit. Transportation Nation and StreetsBlog have the details and implications for getting around New York.
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Quick Clicks> Greenways Coast to Coast

Hell's Gate. Gothamist reports that the NYC Economic Development Corporation is planning to spruce up a trail beneath the Hell's Gate Bridge railroad trestle on Randall's Island. The pedestrian and bike path will eventually connect to the South Bronx Greenway. Portlandia Greenway. A multi-use path planned since 2004 is finally getting underway in Portland, according to Bike Portland. The South Waterfront Greenway Trail might not feature those great archways from the Hell's Gate Bridge, but it does offer another innovation: separated pedestrian and bike paths. Biking JFK. Golden Gate Park could be much more bikable this spring. StreetsBlog says a bright green dedicated, bi-directional bike lane is planned along San Francisco's John F. Kennedy Drive and will eventually connect western neighborhoods with downtown and park attractions. Have you're say. The Brooklyn Greenway Initiative and the Regional Plan Association are hosting a visioning workshop for a planned greenway in Red Hook, Brooklyn. You can voice your suggestions for the Columbia Street Waterfront Park tomorrow, February 2 at 6:30PM.
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Quick Clicks> View, Fix, Crash, Don′t Crash

[ Quick Clicks: A regular guided tour of interesting links from around the web. ] What a view. Curbed uncovered a few renderings of the planned restaurant at Brooklyn Bridge Park including the view from its rooftop terrace (Hey, where'd the Beekman 8 Spruce Tower run off to?). There's currently an RFP out until January 25 for a restaurant operator to fill the already partially-built concrete and wood structure. Fix don't nix. There are a couple days left to get in on the conversation going on at The Glass House led by New York Magazine architecture critic Justin Davidson. This week's question asks how architects and designers can fix our pervasive car culture without outlawing cars outright. There's already quite a discussion going on. Crashing. A public safety campaign in Melbourne hopes to catch the eye of a few Aussie drivers. PSFK shows how a normal car has been wrapped with decals portraying the wreckage of a car after a high-speed collision to raise awareness of the dangers of speeding. Hopefully drivers will remember to keep their eyes on the road as they slow down to take in the view. Not crashing. Naysayers have been questioning the merits of a dedicated bike lane along Brooklyn's Prospect Park West ever since it was installed last year, but now a report released by the NYC DOT confirms the road diet has increased safety without major impact on drivers. StreetsBlog has full details, but crashes have been reduced 16% and injury crashes are down by 62.5%. Several new improvements are suggested to increase pedestrian safety even further, but no word if the Third Street boulders will get funding.
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Quick Clicks> Lost, Super, Speed, Parking

Parking Slope. A parking lot in Park Slope, Brooklyn could soon sprout an 11-story, 166-room hotel designed by Doban Architecture (pictured above). Curbed stopped by a community meeting last Thursday and reports Hotel Grand Prospect has extended the neighborhood an olive branch in the form of a 400-car parking garage which has won over some community members. The project is still in its early phases and traffic and environmental studies have yet to be completed. (More at Curbed.) Superstreet. North Carolina State University just published a study about a time-saving (for cars) intersection layout called the "superstreet." While researchers show the layout reduced automobile travel times and improved the car-crash rate, the aerial view shown on the NCSU page looks far from super in terms of multimodal transportation options. No sidewalks or crosswalks (and a super-low density neighborhood) could easily outweigh the "superstreet" benefits. (Via Urban Planning Blog.) Lost Brother. Located in the middle of the East River, North Brother Island and its quarantine hospital have been abandoned for 48 years resulting in some amazing ruin photography. Richard Nickel, Jr. at the Kingston Lounge has posted a series of photos from the island along with its history. Owned by the New York City Parks Department, Brotherly Island is closed to the public and is a protected nesting ground (Via Gothamist.) High Speed Fighting. California's battle for High Speed Rail races on. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood wrote in to contest an anti-High Speed Rail editorial in the Washington Post last week. LaHood opposed the notion that the west corridor isn't dense enough to support the proposed rail system. The fight won't be over for a long time, so stay tuned. King. Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! Check out AN's recent coverage of the planned $20 million upgrades to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis at the Lorraine Hotel where King was assassinated in 1968.

Friday Video: Little Plane Flies Through Big City

It's Friday afternoon, so why not take a joy ride through the skies of New York?  Gothamist uncovered this amazing video of a homemade RC airplane with a video camera attached to its nose making its way among the skyscrapers and bridges of New York.  Makes for some pretty amazing footage!