Posts tagged with "Manhattan":

AN Video> Performer: An Auto-Affirmation for Everyone

Next time you are in Times Square, don't be shy when you see a spotlight-- no matter how lame your dance moves are, you are guaranteed an explosive roar of applause from an invisible, enthusiastic crowd of people as long as you are moving. (What a refreshing departure from the notorious American Idol jury.) This location-appropriate spotlight installation is an interactive public art work by Adam Frank, an installation artist and a product inventor, whose body of work "represents an ongoing investigation of light and interactivity." His shadow-casting oil lamp, LUMEN, is one of the MoMA Store’s best-selling items. Frank's Performer installation near Times Square--a spotlight, speakers, and an "auto-affirmation" machine--provides a virtual 500-person audience culled from hundreds of live recorded reactions, such as clapping, whistling, hooting, and mumbling. Unsuspecting visitors passing by will only see a spotlight, while speakers, motion sensor, and wiring are cleverly hidden in the semi-enclosed breezeway, a location that effectively provides an open acoustic environment that can make the mechanics of the installation invisible. While the recorded enthusiasm begins when someone walks into the spotlight, it will increase or decrease depending on the performer's motion. There are even uncomfortable coughs and awkward throat-clearings if you stop being charming by standing still. "Performer flips the typical viewer-and-artwork relationship: the viewer's performance is necessary to activate and control the work," said Frank. This reversal of roles is especially potent against the backdrop of the flashy Theater District, where normally a passive, receptive role is expected. "Over a year ago, we got over 400 responses to our open call for art projects in Times Square--the second we saw this, we knew we wanted to do it, " said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance. "For over 100 years, Times Square has been a magnet for people who love being in the spotlight, and that particular phenomenon has only intensified, with technology's help, in recent years." While Tompkins rightly points out the relationship between technology and stardom--what with all the Youtube fames, blog stardom and whatnot--what modern technology enabled us to do may not be true to the classic concept of being a star, a performer--a light-and-stage kind, a la old Broadway. Instead, more and more "stars" are born off-stage, often secluded in their dark room with a brightly-lit Macbook. Frank's Performer, then, is a classic throwback, demanding a public performance with a physical spotlight (but with a forgiving audience). So next time you want to practice for that dreaded final review or presentation, bring your architectural models to the most easygoing 500-people panel of all. WHEN: Open to the public Oct 13th to Nov 22nd WHERE: Anita's Way at the Bank of America Tower, One Bryant Park (Passageway connecting West 42nd and West 43rd St.) Photos by Ariel Rosenstock.
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On View> PIIOTOS_WTC: 22 Brazilian Photographers Capture the World Trade Center on Film

PIIOTOS_WTC 1500 Gallery 511 W 25th St. #607 Through September 17 In honor of the tenth anniversary of September 11th, 1500 Gallery in West Chelsea will present PIIOTOS_WTC, an exhibition of photographs of the Twin Towers taken by 22 of Brazil’s most notable photographers. The images, which all have the World Trade Center site as their subject, span the last three decades of the 20th century. Selected photographers include Victor Andrade, Ali Karakas, and Roberto Linsker, among others. The selection is diverse, with works ranging from distant portrait landscapes of the towers from the Hudson River, to bold aerial views, black and white night shots, glowing, hazy sunsets, andclose-up structural shots, like the work of Tuca Reines, above. Gallery 1500—the only gallery in the world to focus specifically on Brazilian photography—brings together these poetic works, capturing the power, strength, and beauty of the city as it is no longer. Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow.
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AN Video> Esplanade Walk-Through with Amanda Burden

On Thursday, the East River Waterfront Esplanade officially opened to the public. Last week, while the paint on the new bike lanes was still drying, City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden took AN on a walk through of the first section.  The commissioner barely contained her excitement while showing off design details by landscape architect Ken Smith and SHoP Architects. Follow the commissioner as she takes us through the dog run and points out clever details like the "Get-Downs,"  the riverside bar stools,  and "seat walls."
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A Pictorial Description of Broadway in 1899

Last week, we came across illustrator James Gilliver Hancock's series of playful block elevations titled "All the Buildings in New York." It turns out this impulse to sketch block upon block of New York's architecture has been around for quite some time. In 1899, the Mail & Express newspaper company published a graphic journey down Manhattan's Broadway in a book called A Pictorial description of Broadway now archived at the New York Public Library. The stroll down Broadway 112 years ago reveals just how much New York has evolved over the past century. As the NYPL says, "The result, as you can see here, is a 19th century version of Google's Street View, allowing us to flip through the images block by block, passing parks, churches, novelty stores, furriers, glaziers, and other businesses of the city's past." Two of the most dramatic plates in the series show Times Square, above. Quite a striking difference to the neon canyon we know today. Below, you can see the lush Madison Square, also with significantly fewer high rises, and below that is a stunningly underdeveloped 59th Street showing vacant lots and buildings of only a few floors. Click on the thumbnails below to launch a gallery.
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Quick Clicks> Wren, Denver, Pike, & Livability

Wren's Dome. Some 300 years ago, Christopher Wren completed St. Paul's Cathedral in London. Now with today's modern icons transforming the city's skyline, the Telegraph pays homage to his lasting landmark amongst the new "Shards, Gherkins and distorted walkie-talkie-shaped skyscrapers." Green Mile High. The Editor-at-Large brings news that the USGBC has named Denver the "greenest" city in the United States with about 230 LEED registered or certified buildings. Two have earned LEED Platinum since 2010. Pike Park. StreetsBlog reports that construction has begun on permanent Pike Street pedestrian improvements to be completed this fall in Manhattan. The project replaces temporary materials DOT installed in 2009 to calm traffic along Pike and Allen streets. Shut Out. Reuter's has the list of the world's most (and least) livable cities ranked by the Economist Intelligence Unit. Vancouver topped the list (Harare, Zimbabwe came in last). No city in the United States managed to break into the top ten.
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Video> Pick Up The Pace, New York

If you thought the pace of life in Manhattan couldn't get any more hectic, think again. Photographer Josh Owens has compiled a stunning collection of time lapse scenes from around New York. Despite its fast pace, there's something distinctly calming about the hustle.  (Via swissmiss.)
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Video> Exhibition Recalls NY′s Lost Garden of Eden

As he watched his Manhattan neighborhood crumble and burn around him in the urban decay of the 1970s, Adam Purple decided to build a garden. For roughly a decade from the 1970s until 1985, Purple's Garden of Eden earthwork expanded with concentric circles as more and more buildings were torn down. Photographer Harvey Wang is marking the 25th anniversary of the garden's destruction with an exhibition at the Fusion Arts gallery running through February 20. Adam Purple built the his Garden of Eden by hand and invited the community in to find comfort and grow food. Jeremiah's Vanishing New York points out that the plot eventually grew to over 15,000 square feet covered with rose bushes, fruit and nut trees, edible crops, and other greenery. The city bulldozed the site in 1986 to make way for a housing project despite proposals from architects to build around the garden. Be sure to check out Jeremiah's interview with photographer Harvey Wang and check out the exhibition before it ends. Here's a short video on the Garden of Eden from the exhibition's KickStarter page:
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Hyatt Takes It Higher in Union Square

Gene Kaufman is putting the finishing touches on designs for the new Hyatt Hotel intended for the southwest corner of 13th Street and Fourth Avenue. Though its interior will be gutted, a century old limestone face will remain to sheath a two-story atrium/lobby. Just behind the facade the building sets back to form a large terrace holding a hydroponic bamboo garden, then continues to climb another eleven stories. Kaufman said the historical context of the old façade is not of particular importance, but Andrew Berman, executive director of Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, disagreed. “We are glad that they re-used the facade of the two-story building,” he said. “But the 11-story addition seems woefully out of place.” “Nostalgia is something that’s transient. It’s in people's nature to resist change,” said Kaufman. Though his daughter once took dance classes in the old building, he insists that he didn’t keep the facade for sentimental reasons. He said there were practical as well as aesthetic attributes to consider. The old structure forms a retaining wall that allowed the construction to continue unimpeded by regulations for buildings next to a subway line (in this case, the number six running along Fourth Avenue). Also, the street level structure allowed for Kaufman to conjure a 27-foot high lobby interior, which he foresees serving an amalgam of hotel, bar, and restaurant functions. The tower doesn’t veer stylistically far from its base, a lá Norman Foster atop Joseph Urban. Nor does it rest within a historic district,  so it did not have to undergo landmark scrutiny. The aluminum panel clad tower pierced with square widows is capped by a two-story glass curtain wall.  An open circular ring supported by six thin posts finishes the corner suggesting an iconic flourish. The architect is also at work on a boutique hotel on the Bowery and another on 13th Street at 6th Avenue. He said that there is no set house style for the firm, instead they respond to the neighborhood. Kaufman remains nonplussed by historic naysayers. “For us the primary relationship is to the avenue.”
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Condo Cluster at the Cloisters?

Quadriad Reality is in negotiations to acquire land at Broadway and 190th Street in order to build four towers ranging from 22 to 44 stories. If the proposals go forward they could represent the one of the largest residential developments above 155th Street in more than a generation. Not since the four Bridge Apartment towers went up back in 1963 has a development of this scale been proposed for the area. At 32 stories each, those four low-income residences, which straddle I-95 at the foot of the George Washington Bridge, could be dwarfed by the new Quadriad complex--to say nothing of the competition with the Cloisters for skyline dominance.
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Seward Park Redevelopment Clears Major Hurdle

Last night, the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) took a giant step forward after 44 years of contentious debate. Community Board 3's Land Use, Zoning, Public and Private Housing Committee approved guidelines for development of the city-owned land at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge. SPURA’s use of the term “urban renewal” reveals just how long the debate has been going on, a relic from the Moses era when the master planner evicted poor residents from tenements to build affordable housing and an unrealized downtown expressway.  Some housing did get built, but much of the unused land became parking lots. “While there were, at times, deep and principled disagreements among stakeholders, I believe that ultimately this process brought our community together,” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Sliver said in a statement. “The final guidelines that were approved by the committee tonight strike an appropriate balance between the needs and concerns of all stakeholders and will result in a development that will ensure our neighborhood continues to thrive.” The guidelines call for 800 to 1000 housing units to rise on the land and to be divided 50-50: 50 percent market rate and the remaining percentage to go to below and middle income families. The breakdown of units for the low to middle income is 10 percent middle income, 10 percent moderate, 20 percent low and 10 percent low income seniors. That the plan incorporates market solutions wasn’t lost on the crowd gathered at the Henry Street Settlement. The area, once a hotbed of Socialism, still retains some of that rallying spirit. During public comments, several speakers requested that document demand 100 percent affordable housing. “The work of Sidney Hillman and others has been destroyed and prostituted,” longtime resident Michael Gottleib told the committee, evoking the name of the area's famed labor leader. One point did unite much of the crowd; several said that the Essex Market should be preserved. For some, the city-owned and subsidized market represents an optimistic scenario for future development. Describing the food hall, speaker Carol Anastasio called it “a mix of the old and the wave of the future.” Emotions continued to run high while the committee listened. Residents displaced in 1960s stood alongside young residents forced out by the high rent. One young woman complained the she and a childhood friend can no longer afford to stay, even though she maintains a moderate income. “I help people at a not for profit and I can’t even help myself,” she said. “Can’t I come back to my own ‘hood? Where I was raised? Where I had my first date?” The full board is expected to approve the guidelines tonight. From there,  several civic hurdles must be cleared before ground is broken.
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World Trade Weekly: White Dots Edition

At first glance, it seems that the riot of square white panels suddenly appeared on the base of One World Trade, but  photos from the past few weeks show that they were going up all along. Closeup shots taken today reveal metal bolts protruding out from the panels. The curtain wall fasteners for the metallic scrim?

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!