Posts tagged with "Manhattan":

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Faulty concrete delays construction of new upper Manhattan pedestrian bridge

Last fall, AN reported on a $24.4 million bicycle and pedestrian bridge that was due to be constructed at 151st Street in Manhattan. However, as locals to the area may have noticed, footing that was put in place in April this year is now being torn down. What does this mean for those who had been longing for a connection between West Harlem with the Hudson River Greenway? Cyclists and pedestrians, fear not. After speaking with the New York State Department of Transportation (NYDOT) Public Information Officer Diane Park, AN can confirm that, due to a faulty concrete pour, the western abutment of the bridge falls short of NYDOT's standards and is being removed. https://twitter.com/DanielJBarchi/status/753647748910546948 "This will not impact the project's schedule" said Park, adding that the contractor will also foot the bill for the new work required as well as the cost of removal. In addition to this, Park was able to disclose that the bridge is due for completion in spring of next year. For cyclists, the bridge will be a welcome addition to the area as it is set to provide stair-free access between the greenway and the intersection of 151st Street and Riverside Drive. Spanning 270 feet, the new bridge will feature ADA-compliant ramps on both sides and a dramatic archway overhead. This is the second and final installment from the NYDOT within the 71st Assembly District to improve access to the Hudson River waterfront, the first of which came in 2006 with the $2 million ramp and stairway at 158th street. When announcing the project last year, NYDOT Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll said the project will cost $24.4 million, with some funds going toward new landscaping and lighting within the area.
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Public gardens at Trump Tower are a well-kept secret

A Crain’s New York Business article has publicized what a few already know: New York’s Trump Tower holds “secret gardens.” In 1979, Donald Trump made a development deal with the city that permitted him to increase the building's size by twenty stories. That zoning variance was only achieved by including 15,000 square feet of public space in the building's gardens and atrium. This space is one of some 500 privately owned public spaces (POPS) in New York City. The agreement with the city stipulates that the atrium must be accessible to the public daily from from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and the gardens must open at the same time as the building’s retailers. The agreement also states that the space can only be closed four times a year following the city’s authorization. But the atrium has been closed numerous times for Trump’s campaign affairs, such as press conferences. The Department of Buildings began to investigate whether Trump violated the agreement with the city. The Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings have looked into another possible violation of the deal. The removal of a 22-foot-long bench in the atrium led the city to fine Trump Tower $4,000 and an additional $10,000 if not reinstalled. In place of the bench were kiosks selling Trump’s campaign merchandise. Michael Cohen, a lawyer for the Trump Organization told The New York Times that the bench could be reinstalled in two to four weeks. That was in January of this year. The Crain’s article goes on to describe the challenges posed by people attempting to visit the “public” space. The reporter’s personal account states that the security guards prevented him from entering, telling him incorrect hours of operation. There is also a lack of clear signage for the space; only a sign above the lobby elevators. The reporter goes on to describe the gardens as not much to look at: a few plants—some appearing dead, simple metal chairs and tables, built-in granite benches, garbage receptacles, and a large fountain. But there is clearly a great deal of potential for the space. There were two gardens noted in the article: one on the fourth floor overlooking East 56th Street and another on the fifth floor overlooking East 57th Street. The fourth-floor garden is often not open, according to Crain's. In fact, the garden was roped off and the doors were locked when the Crain’s reporter visited.
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Cost of Second Avenue Subway continues to rise as planned December open approaches

In order to finish the Second Avenue Subway by its December deadline, the MTA requires an additional $10 million per month on top of the $39 million per month that is currently being spent, Kent Haggas, the project's independent engineer, has told DNAinfo. About seventy-percent of the project goals set forth by the MTA in March have been reached, according to the project's contractors. According to another engineer, a pileup of changes that arose during construction have also heightened the stress to complete the subway on time. In February, the MTA’s full board voted to use $66 million from its existing contingency budget to stay on schedule, leaving $50 million left to finish the project. On Tuesday, Governor Cuomo announced the Capital Plan Review Board’s approval of the MTA’s $25 billion repair and upgrade plan, according to an article from the Daily News: “The money covers everything from track and station repairs to new train cars and buses.” Included in that range is the next phase of the Second Avenue Subway project into East Harlem. The Daily News article quotes a statement from Governor Cuomo: “By investing in the most robust transportation plan in state history, we are reimagining the MTA and ensuring a safer, more reliable and more resilient public transportation network for tomorrow.” The state will contribute $8.3 billion while the city will contribute $2.5 billion but the funding will not be available until the MTA has exhausted its own $50 million slotted for the subway.
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Richard Meier blacks out for new tower on the East River

Pritzker Prize–winning architect Richard Meier's trademark is the white, or off-white, structure. Yesterday, though, the architect blacked out at the behest of his developer friend Sheldon Solow for a 42-story, 556-unit residential tower on the East River. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) revealed renderings of the 828,000-square foot, Terminator-black, UN-adjacent building, at 39th Street and First Avenue. It's Meier's tallest in New York and his first since his three apartment towers on West Street were completed more than 12 years ago. The WSJ generously described the form as "a plain rectangular slab...the new building, except for its color, is vintage Meier inside and out, a polished specimen of neo-Modernist simplicity." Sources close to AN panned the design: "A cheap lighter." "Nice gap tooth." "Looks like they hired no one to design it." "Should have stuck to white." Solow insisted that Meier use black, because all of the developer's buildings are black. Solow thinks of architects as painters, and it was a question here, Solow explained, of getting Meier to adjust his palette. Solow has intended to develop the site, formerly home to Con Edison steam plants, for decades. After years of environmental remediation, and fights with planning agencies and the community boards, visions for the towers were scuttled in the 2008 recession. Last year, Solow resumed the development, filing plans for the tower were last August, although a few details have changed since then: the size of the building is up 10,000 square feet, with one-third condos and two-third rentals. The project is expected to be complete in 2018. The site could accommodate more programs, including a proposed commercial high-rise by SOM, and a one-acre park designed by James Corner Field Operations, although Solow would like to see how Meier's project progresses before confirming details on these projects.
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East Harlem Esplanade Project aims to revamp waterfront parks on Manhattan’s East River

The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYCDPR), its Community Parks Initiative (CPI), and the Randall’s Island Park Alliance (RIPA), has inaugurated the East Harlem Esplanade Project. The scheme aims to completely rebuild the 107th Street Pier while expanding its programming in the process. This all includes a strategy pertaining to reconstruction advocacy, stewardship, and programming best practices for an improved Esplanade along East Harlem, covering East 96th to East 125th streets.

RIPA will provide support in the form of expertise for the management of long-term development, maintenance, programming and resiliency measures along the East Harlem waterfront.

Aimee Boden, RIPA President said, “The Randall’s Island Park Alliance is looking forward to reaching across the river to work with our nearest neighbors, and to helping to plan for and facilitate improved access and long-term resiliency along the East Harlem Esplanade.”

The CPI is currently committed to improving 67 community parks deemed to be "under-funded" and in "densely populated and growing neighborhoods with higher-than-average concentrations of poverty."

Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver said, “Conservancy partners like the Randall’s Island Park Alliance enhance New York City’s key public spaces with their expertise, resources, and passion. Now, with their generous commitment to create a strategic plan for the East Harlem Esplanade, RIPA is extending its influence to one of our city’s most densely populated communities, and providing expertise that will drive green equity and sustainability for the neighborhood.”

At the moment, RIPA is currently speaking to public agencies, advocacy groups and local stakeholders in order to assemble concerns related to the project while also referencing existing studies to develop the plan.

"East Harlem is a thriving, growing community that deserves world class waterfront access," said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. "For far too long, our esplanade has been neglected and has fallen into disrepair, which is why the Council has made a priority of allocating millions of dollars in capital funds to address these needs, including the reopening of the 107th Street Pier. Working with community residents and local stakeholders, the East Harlem Esplanade Project will help create a comprehensive plan to fully revitalize this important public space for generations to come." 

State Senator José M. Serrano said, "Through the collaborative efforts of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez, the Parks Department and now the Randall's Island Park Alliance we have a dynamic team that will transform the East Harlem portion of the Esplanade into a beautiful piece of parkland. Together we will be able to strengthen the East Harlem Esplanade and give the residents of El Barrio a much needed green space that will create economic growth for the surrounding neighborhood."

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Rafael Viñoly gears up redesign of office space on Manhattan’s Auto Row

Rafael Viñoly Architects will lead the redesign of—and two-floor addition to—an office building at 787 11th Avenue on Manhattan's "Auto Row." Viñoly's $100 million renovation will add 86,000 square feet of office space over two floors to the 10-story building, owned by the Georgetown Company. The additions will bring the structure's size to over half a million square feet. The work space, recessed from the building's original footprint, will have wide open floor plates and oversize windows to flood the space with natural light. Renovations will include a two-story penthouse and a 12,000-square-foot roof deck, accessible only to office tenants. Currently, Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan, and Infiniti have showrooms and offices in the space; post-renovation, BNF Automotive Group and Nissan North America will lease 265,000 square feet for their flagships on the building's lower floors. Viñoly, whose recent New York projects include the Rockefeller University Campus Master Plan and supertall 432 Park Avenue, offered unvarnished praise for the developers in a statement. He added: “The opportunity to combine the building’s historic architecture with a sleek and modern design is one I could not pass up.” The building is one of many new projects outside of Hudson Yards to blossom on Manhattan's Far West Side. A block away from Hudson River Park and the West Side Highway, tenants will have access to a private subway shuttle service, and a CitiBike station across the street. Work is expected to be complete by the end of 2017.
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SHoP’s new copper-clad tower on Manhattan’s East River

New renderings and construction photographs were released of the latest SHoP–designed Manhattan tower, located on First Avenue between East 35th and 36th streets. SHoP partnered with SCAPE Landscape Architecture and JDS Development Group to design American Copper, a pair of 900,000-square-foot residential buildings whose most prominent feature is a 100-foot-long, three-story tall, skybridge, suspended 300 feet aboveground, that connects the two towers at a jaunty angle. The skybridge, according to the developers, is the first major one constructed in New York in over 80 years. The steel trusses that connect the bridge weigh almost 421,000 pounds, while the facade is clad in over 5,000 copper panels, each measuring about six-by-ten feet. On terra firma, two lobbies with 25-foot ceilings open up onto a park with a water feature.
While the towers are diminutive (the west tower is 540 feet tall, the east, 470) compared to the firm's 1,438-foot-tall 11 West 57th Street, its features are not. The building's 761 units will have access to 60,000 square feet of amenities, many of which double down on the quotidian luxury offerings: Residents can slough off dead skin in a Turkish-style marble hammam; work out in a fitness center that includes a rock climbing wall; bring their children to the playroom, lounge, and juice bar; grill on the roof; chill in the hot tub; or splash around in the 75-foot-long lap pool in the skybridge (from where swimmers can probably see, though wall-to-wall glass the plebes schlepping to the Metropolitan Pool over in Williamsburg).
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The Frick Collection Expansion, Take 2

There is a new expansion plan in the works for the New York City museum founded in 1935 that sits on the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue in the Upper East Side. The 1977 Russell Page-designed garden will still be part of the new plan for a larger Frick Collection. Last week, “leaders of the Upper East Side museum and library said they intend to issue a formal request for qualifications from firms with expertise applicable to the Beaux-Arts mansion,” wrote The Wall Street Journal. “A selection is expected later this year, with designs following in 2017.” Facing criticism from designers and preservationists, The Frick Collection abandoned the former expansion proposal last spring that would have removed the garden, added six stories to the east wing, and “established a stronger connection from the museum to its art reference library on East 71st Street,” explained The New York Times. The nixed plan would have added almost 25 percent more space for permanent exhibits and over 50 percent more for temporary exhibits. If implemented, this would be the third expansion for the Frick. The first was a new entrance in 1977, and the second enclosed the existing open air portico in 2011. The museum was the home of the industrialist Henry Clay Frick who made his fortune on coke manufacturing and steel and infamous for his anti-union policies. Frick stipulated in his will that his house—designed by Carrère and Hastings—become a public museum after his death.
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Jack Masey dies at 91, 57 years after he displayed American culture to Russia and the world

In 1959, Jack Masey caused communism and capitalism to collide thanks to his kitchen design that left a bitter taste in the mouths of Nikita Khrushchev and Richard Nixon. His re-creation of a Long Island kitchen at the American National Exhibition amplified American pride and stirred up tensions between Russia and the United States during a difficult period. After 30 years working as a designer for the United States Information Agency (not a branch of the CIA), Jack Masey passed away on March 13 in Manhattan.

In a rare public meeting of the pair, things appeared to be going swimmingly until Khrushchev's gaze fell onto Masey's Long Island Kitchen. In what would come to be known as "The Kitchen Debate" the world leaders clashed in a bitter exchange. "You must not be afraid of ideas!" Nixon spat, only for the Russian President to smugly retort: "That's what we're telling you - don't be afraid of ideas."

Born in Brooklyn in 1924, Masey worked out of Manhattan for most of his life. During the Second World War, Masey was part of an elite 1,100-man unit that used visual and sound effects to impersonate larger forces. Mastering the art of deception, much of his time was spent designing inflatable rubber tanks and jeeps. “Three guys could blow up a Sherman tank in a half-hour,” he told The New York Times in 1969. “Two guys, a jeep in about 15 minutes.” 

A trained architect, also studying graphic design at Yale, Masey worked with R. Buckminster Fuller and Charles and Ray Eames at numerous exhibitions where he incorporated fashion shows and art by the likes of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. With these artistic devices at his disposal, Masey was able to articulate the flamboyant image of the American proletariat, just as the Information Agency wanted. Mundane appliances such as washing machines, dryers and electric ranges flaunted the fruits of capitalism. Ford car designs, films, Pepsi, Levi jeans, hairstyles, and even a mechanical talking chicken all featured as Masey told the world what the Soviet Union was missing out on.

The concept of a World's Fair today seems unnecessary and outdated. During the Cold War, when the world was a lot bigger, Expos informed the public of how others lived. For Expo '67 in Montreal, Masey filled Buckminster Fuller's iconic geodesic "biosphere" with space technology and the arts. Two years later, America landed on the Moon.

One wonders what Masey thought of all this glorified attention seeking. In a interview with the Guardian in 2008, he colloquially described work for the Information Agency laid out on his desk as "the whole shebang," reflecting a laid-back attitude.

An exhibition of his work, “Make-Believe America: U.S. Cultural Exhibitions in the Cold War,” is on view now at the Museum of Design Atlanta.

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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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Six design lauded for ideas to reclad Manhattan’s MetLife Building with an energy-efficient facade

Manhattan's MetLife building celebrated its 53rd birthday on Monday. The tower has become engrained into Manhattan's urban fabric, but it has also become an incredibly inefficient in how it uses energy, and a recent competition tasked designers with fixing the problem by applying a new building facade. Metals in Construction magazine has unveiled six winners of its “Reimagine a New York City Icon” competition after its jury couldn't select just one winner. Tasked with developing an "innovative and energy-efficient redesign of the façade of 200 Park Avenue," the winning teams split the $15,000 prize. The brief stipulated that designers come up with a "highly efficient envelope with the lightness and transparency sought by today’s office workforce—while preserving and enhancing the aesthetic of the building’s heritage." Prizes were given at a conference at the Times Center in New York City, preceded by talks on sustainability and retrofit facades which included panel discussion. The winning submissions are: Panam Under Glass (PDF) According to competition organizers: "Adapting the tapered form of the tower as a geometric module/motif creates a non-directional pattern across the surface of the tower – in keeping with early models and renderings which emphasized the form over the surface. Applied in a larger scale to the tower allows for maximum daylighting while the denser, smaller scale at the podium creates a more monolithic reading much closer to pedestrian level." Performance-Based Preservation (PDF) According to competition organizers: "By preserving and overcladding - instead of demolishing and recladding - our proposal reduces the building’s environmental impact by 42% over the next 50 years... On the north and south, we add a new unitized curtainwall outboard of the concrete that uses emerging materials to generate energy while dynamically controlling solar heat gain and glare. On the east and west, we bring the new envelope inboard of the concrete to highlight the materiality and plasticity of the existing skin." Thermalswitch Facade (PDF) According to competition organizers: "The Thermalswitch facade looks at hybridizing the overcladding and double skin techniques to create a unitized frame which mounts directly over the existing precast panels. The Metlife facade is constructed of a primary precast panel with integrated fins on both sides that alternates every other bay. Between these primary panels, secondary infills are set at the spandrel conditions." Harnessing Urban Energies (PDF) According to competition organizers: "In our submission for the Metals in Architecture competition, we have lowered the present annual energy consumption of the building by 80 percent, and by 74 percent as compared to the median New York City office building." Vertimeme (PDF) According to competition organizers: "Macro geometry of the curtain wall unit creates a self shading effect to reduce undesirable direct light and heat gain. The angle of the glazing is tuned to reflect solar insolation, optimize views from the building and reflect the image of the city back to the streetscape. Pre-assembled unitized aluminum curtain wall frame and assembly, stainless steel mullions, caps and grills." Farm Follows Function (PDF) Submitted as a graphic novel, "Farm Follows Function" sees Walter Gropius say "This will surely be my Finest work: A masterpiece - my crowning achievement! A multifunctional complex set in the middle of america’s metropolis..." His work is then dramatically transformed into a living tower-block farm. One passer by is shown to be saying "This elevated park is a real oasis of calm in the hubbub of midtown! with a market and even outdoor seating! awesome!"  
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The Port Authority declines to celebrate the grand opening of the world’s most expensive train station

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has declined to celebrate the March grand opening of the Santiago Calatrava–designed World Trade Transportation Hub. Why is the agency snubbing its own baby? Because it's monstrously over-budget. The $4 billion taxpayer-financed project cost $1.8 billion more than expected, and construction extended years over schedule. These issues have dogged Calatrava personally and professionally, and cast a shadow on his otherwise bright reputation. Pat Foye, the Port Authority's executive director, told POLITICO New York that the project's been a fiscal fiasco from the start: “Since I arrived here, I have been troubled with the huge cost of the Hub at a time of limited resources for infrastructure so I’m passing on the [now-cancelled opening] event.” The Hub is expected to serve 100,000 daily passengers, far fewer than the Port Authority Bus Terminal (230,000), Grand Central (750,000), and Penn Station (906,708). In a follow up statement, Foye was unequivocal about what New York's newest piece of public infrastructure represents to him: “The thing is a symbol of excess.”   In an interview with AN last year, Calatrava delineated the project's design goals and ethos behind the Hub:
I tried from the very beginning to do that whole network of connections extending from the oculus as a single unit. So the character of the structural members you can see with the ribs, and a certain character in the paving, and a certain character in the front of the shops is already delivering a character that a person will see all the way through. So if you are in the oculus or the mezzanine, or in the other corridors to Liberty Street or the other internal streets towards Liberty Plaza, or towards Wall Street or towards Fulton, all these areas are marked with the same character. My goal is to create a space where as soon as I arrive in the transportation hub I know I am in the transportation hub, no matter what corner I enter from. Also, something that the corridor delivers is a sense of quality of spaces. I have built seven of the major transportation hubs in Europe, in Lisbon, in Lyon, in Zurich, in Italy, and so on. Getting out of this experience, it’s very important to create places of quality, because people behave according to that. You see after all the enormous effort to bring all the subways and the trains to this place and see to maintain the service through all the construction—why shouldn’t these places have a certain material and structural quality that you can enjoy in a day-to-day way, not just commuters but visitors who arrive in this place. I think the station will match with the tradition in New York of great infrastructural works, as you see today in Grand Central and in the former Penn Station. If it had not been demolished it would be recognized as one of the greatest stations worldwide. I hope people can see some of these material qualities in the East/West corridor.
On the eve of the opening, New York architecture critics are divided on the aesthetic and functional value of the Hub. AN toured the Hub this afternoon, so check back here for our assessment. In the meantime, picture Calatrava riding a Zamboni, polishing the smooth white Italian marble floors world's most expensive train station.