Posts tagged with "Maps":

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Historic District Struts Its Stuff on Manhattan’s West End Avenue

As we reported a few weeks ago, the Landmarks Preservation Commission is gearing up to create a huge new historic district on the Upper West Side. Last night, the commission held a meet-and-greet with the neighbors, at which the tentative boundaries for the new district—technically five contiguous extensions to five existing districts—were unveiled. As the map shows, it's quite a lot of real estate, and though smaller than the extant Upper West Side historic district (2,000+ versus 745) it will become, should it be approved, one of the largest in the city. What's most interesting, though, is how much of the Upper West Side will now be under the commission's purview. It will be interesting to see how the development community reacts.
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This Is a Brooklyn-Bound V-Train

Sometimes, bad news can be good news. That's the conclusion we came to when we saw the map above, posted on the MTA-obsessed blog 2nd Ave. Sagas. On Friday, the MTA announced its revised set of Doomsday 2.0 service cuts, which include slightly fewer bus route eliminations and maybe not quite-so-bad service (get the very detailed details on the Sagas blog). But as Gene Russianoff, head of the Straphanger's Campaign, put it in an email today, "the cuts still stink." Except for one. While the MTA has still recommended eliminating the W-Train and most of the G in Queens, the elimination of the M-Train will be coupled with the extension of the V into Brooklyn and Queens, providing residents of South Williamsburg, Bushwick, northern BedStuy, and Ridgewood a far more convenient route to Midtown than the morass that is a Canal Street transfer. Russianoff does dampen the parade somewhat with this caveat: "The M platforms are shorter than the V (480 feet instead of 600 feet), so the new line would be composed of a smaller number of cars. The MTA materials admit there would be an increase in crowding, but don’t describe how much." But in further good news, the revised cuts also call off the elimination of the Z Express, which would have made the trip in from parts of Queens interminable. We won't venture to guess whether the proposed V service has anything to do with the affected areas continued gentrification, but it does remind us of another bad-news-is-good situation on the aforementioned, afflicted G. The impending closure the Smith/9th Street station, while a pain in the ass for Redhook residents, has become a blessing for their southern neighbors, as the G must turn around quite a ways further down the line, with service now extended five stops further to Church Avenue. Denizens of Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, and Kensington are among the grateful. We're still begging the MTA not to make any cuts, though here's hoping they might make this V-Train change no matter what. As for bad news that is bad news, Bob Noorda, the graphic designer who created the iconic, unmistakable subway signage, died two weeks ago according to an obit in the Times. Perhaps compose your next email, blog post, or tweet in Helvetica in his honor.
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Wishful Blinking

In the 17th century, the Dutch republic was booming, and the public clamored for paintings celebrating the iconic forms of their cities. The art world’s response to that demand is on display in the National Gallery of Art’s Pride of Place: Dutch Cityscapes of the Golden Age , a captivating collection of paintings that is less like a window on cities of the past, and more like a lens, distorting and idealizing its subject in fascinating ways. Blurring the boundary between map and painting, Dutch artists produced meticulously rendered, three-dimensional aerial views of their cities, like Jan Micker’s “A Bird's-Eye View of Amsterdam,” which sports a map’s legend but is dappled with trompe l’oeil shadows from imagined clouds overhead. Other maps are inset with simplified profile views of cities, miniatures that distill each city’s built form into its most defining characteristics, the shape of city’s skyline, the curve of another’s harbor. Of course, there’s a fine line between simplification and idealization, and it’s one these artists unconcernedly stride across. Painted Holland is a much more placid, orderly place than real Holland: Grime and poverty are excised, roofs straightened, streets widened. These artists don’t just remove and rearrange, they also add, splicing a medieval tower into the background of a scene, for instance, to emphasize the modernity of the buildings in the foreground. And sometimes the deception is implicit. One painting by van Ruisdael puts us at the top of Amsterdam’s newly-built Town Hall, gazing out onto the city, and he exaggerates the tower’s height by shrinking the houses on the ground below. Keep an eye out for other visual trickery, which the Dutch of this era seem to have had a particular penchant for. In Jan van der Heyden’s 1667 depiction, Amsterdam‘s stately new town hall appears warped and flattened, until you move to a particular spot near the lower right of the painting and gaze up at it, at which point the perspective snaps into place and the building towers over you, the scene morphing from unreal to hyper-real. Pride of Place: Dutch Cityscapes in the Golden Age is on display at the National Gallery of Art, at Constitution Avenue on the National Mall, Washington, D.C. through May 3.
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SHoP Drawings

When I bumped into Gregg Pasquarelli at the LPC on Tuesday, I asked him about a certain map that had been floating around the Internet a day or two before. The SHoP principal began to fulminate. "That was totally taken out of context," Pasquarelli said. Turns out it's a SHoPping map. "It was one of a series of maps we had made to illustrate the retail landscape in New York and why an anchor store would work so well down there," he continued. "It has nothing to do with New York as a whole." He added that, yes, obviously, it's an omage to Maira Kalman and Rick Meyerowitz. And he couldn't help but wonder how anyone got a hold of the map since it was the property of General Growth. Granted, they don't own much anymore, now do they?