Posts tagged with "Manhattan":

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Hallway of mirrors installation now on display at Times Square

Can you see yourself at Times Square this month? Running through November 21, visitors to Times Square in Manhattan will find The Beginning of the End. The reflective intervention comes from the Times Square Arts, Cuban Artists Fund, and Cuban artist Rachel Valdés Camejo and asks audiences to think about the relationship between an object and its surrounding space—Broadway Plaza between 46th and 47th Streets. Camejo’s first work in the U.S., The Beginning of the End sees the bright lights and razzmatazz of Times Square amplified through a corridor of mirrored surfaces. Visitors can walk through and glance down to see the sky at their feet along with the vibrant streetscape around them. Immersed within the new perspective of their surroundings, the audience is prompted to contemplate the way they view the vicinity. The Beginning of the End also works as a successful installation at night too. Despite not being able to walk on the sky, Camejo's installation encapsulates and reverberates the visual chaos of Times Square has to offer. Speaking in a press release, Camejo gave her thoughts on the installation:
For me it is wonderful to have this opportunity to present my work in a public space such as Times Square. It is certainly a place totally different from the environments where I have shown my installations before. My pieces always work according to the environment that concern them and in this case will be very different. I build objects to create dialogues between human beings, the object and space. So far the other environments in which I worked are quieter places, even places that become inhospitable, so to have my work this time in a place where so many people pass, and in a city like New York, it gives a whole other visual and conceptual possibility to my work.
“This work pulls in the sky to draw it underneath your feet, wrapping Times Square completely around your body," said Times Square Arts Director, Sherry Dobbin. "The natural skyscape, the electronic billboards and the office buildings combine in a human kaleidoscope, in which each twist of your body brings about new perspectives.” Meanwhile, Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, said, “Times Square has always been a reflection of America and ourselves. Ms. Camejo’s work allows the marvelous mix of people in Times Square to intersect in ever-new ways.”
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Manhattan's Temple Court Building restored and reopened as The Beekman hotel

The Temple Court Building in lower Manhattan, at the corner of Nassau Street and Beekman Street, recently re-opened as The Beekman following a period of heavy renovations. The Renaissance Revival style building is now a hotel, with a 51-story condominium building on the adjacent lot. Both the renovation and new building were executed by New York-based Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel, Architects (GKV Architects).

Coming soon to a #siesta near you #beekmanhotel

A photo posted by 🍴🍸😴 (@eatdrinksiesta) on

The Architect's Newspaper took an exclusive preview tour of the building over a year ago. The Beekman has quickly become an Instagram hotspot; visitors have taken some beautiful shots of its lobby, which features an intricately-detailed 9-story atrium. GKV Architects reports that the "historic cast iron balconies, the grand skylight, the atrium... the wood millwork doors and windows surrounding the atrium" were all part of their restoration effort.
A photo posted by The SKW Team (@theskwteam) on
The Temple Court Building—as it was originally named—was completed in 1883, with an attached annex completed in 1890. According to GKV Architects, it was the first of the "fireproof" skyscrapers in New York City, though that didn't stop a small fire from breaking out in 1983. The building and annex were designated a New York City Landmark in 1998.
The first 10 floors of the 68-unit condominium are attached to the hotel and the building's permanent residents will have access to the hotel's amenities. This includes personal training at the hotel's fitness center and in-residence dining by the hotel restaurant, led by celebrity chef Tom Colicchio.
Of course, all this luxury doesn't come cheap: units start at $1.475 million and run up to $3.75 million. A two-day stay at the hotel in early October will run you over $500 a night.
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Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava makes steps to ensure its preservation

Located on 15 West 25th Street in Manhattan, the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava was severely damaged by a fire on May 3rd this year. The church is now working with the city and engineers to develop a plan of action for the building. Formerly known as the Trinity Chapel Complex, the English Gothic Revival church was completed in 1855 and designed by British-born American architect Richard Upjohn. In 1942 it was purchased by the Serbian Eastern Orthodox parish. In 1968 the church's stone facade and roof (all of which was lost in the fire) were designated a city landmark. 14 years later, the whole complex—which includes the Cathedral's Parish House and the Clergy House—was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This month, the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) ordered that the South Gable wall on 25th Street be reinforced with metal beams for public safety reasons. Working with engineers and the Landmarks Preservation Committee, the DOB also stipulated “shoring and bracing” and that the wall tops be covered with a waterproof canvas to protect them from the elements. Rumors of arson spread once news broke that three other churches had been subject to fires that Easter. "Too many churches have burned to call it an accident," said former Serbian ambassador Dusan T. Batakovic. "It is very strange that it happened, that the fires all took place on Easter, the greatest Christian Orthodox holiday. Some kind of terrorist action can not be excluded." However, officials said that candles were the most likely cause of the blaze. AN also spoke to FDNY Deputy Chief Michael Gala who recalled the incident. "Upon arrival, fire was already billowing out of the rose window. Due to the amount of combustible material in churches, fires can spread very rapidly," he said. "I think this fire could have resulted from an improperly discarded candle." There were also fears that structural damage would result in the building being torn down. However, Alexander Schnell of the DOB said in June: "We don’t see that it’s impossible to stabilize the structure and preserve what remains while ensuring that public safety is not compromised. The situation—as we see it right now—does not pose a hazard to the public." The church (albeit, its shell) is still standing. As Ann Friedman, director of sacred sites at the New York Landmarks Conservancy points out, churches have a habit of staying put. 235 out of the 255 landmarked religious buildings in the city are currently still used by religious organizations.

As for St. Sava, the church is going through motions of fundraising to ensure its preservation.

Just yesterday, AN spoke to a number of attendees at a fundraising event. Gordon Bijelonic, a Los Angeles-based film producer who grew up in the community, mentioned how the church played a role for refugees arriving in the U.S. "This Church created safe passage for my parents to the U.S.A. from an Austrian refugee camp during the communist era of former Yugoslavia.” He added how it was imperative that the building maintains its landmark status. "This is not so much about religion either, it has become a cultural icon. The church is a pillar of culture for Serbians who come to the U.S.," he said. "We want to rebuild, not move. It's so important that it remains where it is."

Newly appointed to the parish, Very Reverend Dr. Živojin Jakovljević spoke of how much the church welcomed the support they received after the fire. "At the time when our Parish and we, the people of Saint Sava, grieve the loss of a beautiful church, we also feel comforted, because we know we are not alone. We would like to thank all those, who, by their support and solidarity, have given us comfort and hope. Such attitude will not only help us rebuild the church, but also uplift the spirit of many lovely faithful people of our Saint Sava community."
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A man is currently climbing up the facade of Trump Tower using suction cups

A man is currently on his way up the Trump Tower in Midtown, Manhattan with the aid of suction cups. The police and fire department so far have tried (unsuccessfully) to help the man down, however, he does not appear to be cooperating.
A person is climbing Trump Tower in New York City.A person is climbing Trump Tower in New York City using suction cups. Posted by CNN on Wednesday, 10 August 2016
According to multiple ABC News, the climber had smashed several windows while also changing his path up the building so to avoid police who had sawed into ventilation grates. Police were reportedly leaning out of these openings, though were unable to stop the man who's reason for the stunt is so far unknown. At the base of the Tower on Madison Avenue, a crowd had formed with many cheering the man's efforts. He has so far responded with whistles though gasps were heard when the climber slipped. So far provisions have been made for if the climber falls with two giant inflatable cushioned drop-zones in place. The road has also now been closed.
The climber will have no luck if he expects to find the Republican nominee in the building as Trump himself is currently at a rally in Abingdon, Virginia, more than 500 miles away. UPDATE: As of 6:35 p.m. (EST) AN learnt that the man, identified as Stephen Rogata was caught and subsequently arrested shortly after by the NYPD. Glass had been removed from windows located above the climber thus preventing him from ascending any further. Rogata was described by police as a 20-year-old man from Virginia who intended to meet Trump. Ironically, Trump (as mentioned above) was in Rogata's home-state as he made his ascent. Since his arrest, he has been taken to Bellevue Hospital to be psychologically evaluated.
In a YouTube video posted this week (see below), Rogata defines himself as an "independent researcher" who had to give an "important message" to the Republican presidential nominee. Trump's campaign meanwhile, has reacted to the incident. "This man performed a ridiculous and dangerous stunt," said Michael Cohen, executive vice-president of the Trump Organization. "I'm 100% certain the NYPD had better things to do."
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A smart Manhattan office design fits three companies into one space

New York City is one of the most expensive global cities for office space, along with London, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai. According to data from real estate firm JLL, the average cost of office space per square foot in New York for 2015 was $171. So it is no wonder that companies are turning to innovative ways to rethink where and how they work.

A midtown Manhattan office interior unites three companies—America’s Kids, Gindi Capital, and Mad Projects Industries—across 15,000 square feet to make the most of this precious commodity. (The three companies are leasing the space as one entity.) New York–based architecture firm Only If — was tasked with creating a balanced range of spaces: Half of the space is dedicated to interactive and open space, while the other half to more closed areas for focused work. At one end, toward the right of the lobby, is Gindi Capital and at the other end is Mad Projects with America’s Kids housed in a space near the middle. Among the three companies, there are open work areas and private offices, conference rooms, a studio, a showroom, as well as a lobby, lounges, and a kitchen.

“The three companies, which range from fashion to real estate, had different and often conflicting requirements, but we mainly interfaced with Mad Projects. Mad Projects supported our work but also pushed us further in a way that was truly collaborative,” explained Adam Frampton, principal of Only If —. “During the design process, we were often in a position of mediating and resolving the conflicts between companies that, given their different operations, by definition, had very different needs and visions for what their office should be. Aspects of the design brief were totally contradictory.”

Only If — focused on a simple palette of black and white to help tie the spaces together. “At first, given that each business is very different and relatively independent, we considered expressing differences throughout the entire space as different zones,” said Frampton. “The monochromatic approach provides a relatively neutral background. It doesn’t look overdesigned, and it doesn’t look like the so-called contemporary creative office where one finds tech startups or coworking spaces. As an architect, it’s the kind of space I’d like to work in.”

The firm also employed a range of materials to help break up the space and introduce variety. There are wood, felt, stone, glass, and mirrors that cloak the plus-sign-shaped clothing display and storage module in Mad’s showroom. “The perpendicular and parallel relationships between mirrored surfaces create cascading visual effects,” said Frampton. The mirrored module also helps to divide the showroom into separate display areas.

The firm started working on the project in summer 2014. The clients moved in March 2015, and the interior was finished by fall 2015. “Within an accelerated schedule, a lot of the design also happened while the project was already under construction,” said Frampton. “Technically, the black, seamless floor was also quite challenging to achieve. It’s a poured resilient polyurethane, and because the building was originally two separate buildings, there are different subfloor conditions that had to also be constructed.”

The midtown office project gave Only If—an opportunity to think more deeply about the next wave of office interiors. “The project allowed us to speculate on what we think the future of the creative workplace will be,” said Frampton. 


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Two modern developments in Manhattan's Noho neighborhood given the green light by the LPC

A ten-story office complex on 363 Lafayette Street in Manhattan's Noho neighborhood has been awarded approval by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). Designed by local firm Morris Adjmi Architects, the scheme had previously been rejected. Another project, a multi-family residency just round the corner on 22 Bond Street by fellow New York practice BKSK Architects, was also given the go-ahead. Initially, Adjmi's design had employed double-height windows as part of a slightly angled and staggered facade that included a dash of greenery along its incremental edges. This design was rejected by the LPC in July earlier this year, but Adjmi's subsequent alterations did the trick this time around. The modifications included making sure the street corner doesn't feature the staggered angular fall-back—except for a major recession on the eighth floor)—which was a previous gripe of the LPC in July. These subtle angular increments now occur southwards down Lafayette Street and, unlike before, are in accordance with each level change. Furthermore, new glazing has been placed on the south-side of the building while additional window detailing features around every exposed facade. According to New York Yimby, in response to the latest iteration, Commissioner Michael Devonshire described the design as “beautiful.” Preservation consultant Elise Quasebarth from New York firm Higgins Quasebarth & Partners, who specialize in the preservation and rehabilitation of historic properties, commented that the architects had “strengthened [the] corner, using it as a pivot” to create “dynamic slicing” and “more graceful proportions." While commissioner Frederick Bland said it was a “terrible thing for a committee to nit pick [an architect’s work] to pieces,” he and the rest of the commissioners were happy with the design voting unanimously for its approval. Also vying for approval was New York studio BKSK for their multi-family dwelling lot on 22 Bond Street, a stone's throw away from Morris Adjmi's project. The design features minor changes to the front facade as well as a "braille sidewalk" that features cast-iron vault lights which illuminate the entrance area at night. A third project at 413-435 West 14th Street was also due for hearing but was laid over at the committee meeting. All three projects can be viewed in detail here, here and here (in order of appearance in this article).
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Sleek quinoa automat coming to NYC

Love quinoa but loathe human interaction? A California–based restaurant is bringing its healthy quinoa power bowl automat (yeah) to Midtown this fall. At Eatsa, which has locations in San Francisco and Los Angeles, patrons order via iPads instead of popping coins into a slot in exchange for food. Diners can customize their quinoa bowls, or choose options like the "Cantina Kale Salad" or "Chili con Quinoa" a-la-carte. In the video below, food blogger Eddie Lin, alternating between amazement and pure, unadulterated joy, offers a blow-by-blow look at the bowl-ordering process: Other corners of the internet are abuzz about the old-fangled concept updated for 21st-century habits. See this diner pick up his food and beverages from the slot with his name displayed on it:

Greetings from the future. Coolest restaurant ever!!! #eatsa @meagle23

A video posted by Chelsea Franco (@francothetank0) on

Quinoa bowls are prepared behind the scenes by real live people but delivered automatically into cubbies with light-up, numbered displays and include the diner's name. While Bamn!, the short-lived automat on St. Marks Place, had a vintage, Jetsons-in-pink aesthetic, Eatsa's brand skews more Apple Store. Crucially, while the automats of yore kept items to temperature with in-cubby heating, Eatsa's items are made to order.
As an added bonus, all dishes are priced under $7.00. Mmmm.
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LPC approves faux-classical Upper East Side mansion; many see a lost architectural opportunity

Manhattan-based firm HS Jessup Architecture has been given the green light for a five story faux-classical apartment on 34 East 62nd Street. The design, which is for the Woodbine Development Corporation, was approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) and will rest on the site where Dr. Nicholas Bartha blew up his own house in 2006. Only days more than a decade ago, Bartha had become embroiled in a marriage dispute that forced him to sell the house. However, Bartha wasn't budging. The New York Times reported the incident on July 11 2006:
The graceful town house on East 62nd Street was more than a home to Nicholas Bartha. It was the culmination of his life’s work, proof that he had realized the classic immigrant’s dream. In court papers, [Bartha's former wife] said he had repeatedly vowed in ominous tones that he would die in that house and that she would never get it. Now there is no house.
Shortly afterward, the 20 by 100 foot plot was available for $8.35 million and marketed by Brown Harris Stevens as an “opportunity to build your dream house” on a “quiet, lovely tree-lined street.” A year on from this, Bridgehampton-based architect Preston T. Phillips was touted to design a slender, modern replacement for Bartha's town house, though the 2008 crisis proved to fatal stumbling block for the project. Fast forward ten years ten years and now it looks like there will be a house on East 62nd Street once again. Employing a limestone and red brick on the North and South facades respectively, the 7,800-square-foot Manhattan mansion seeks to fall in line with its adjacent typologies adding a contemporary edge. The Historic Districts Council (HDC) however, had other ideas. At a hearing on July 12 the council said:
HDC finds that while the proposed design is not offensive and would be constructed of appropriate materials, it raises the question of whether it is appropriate to construct faux historic houses in historic districts. Introducing a design that is of our time or replicating the house that originally stood here would be acceptable strategies, but this house, while thoughtfully picking up details found in the neighborhood, does neither. The house might look like it has always been here, but we are not sure that would be an honest approach.
They weren't the only group to raise their concerns too as Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts voiced their issue with the facade's design:
While the proportions and scale of this building are appropriate for its setting, our Preservation Committee can’t help but feel that this project may be a missed opportunity for a more creative design.
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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.