Posts tagged with "New York Times":

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MTA releases 10-year plan to improve subway and bus services

Within ten years, a modernized signal system on 6 subway lines and more than 180 new subway stations are among many new improvements to New York City’s public transportation promised by the MTA. In a package released by New York City Transit Chief Andy Byford and the MTA, called “Fast Forward: The Plan to Modernize New York City Transit,” (PDF) the transit provider also guarantees repair work at more than 300 stations, new subway cars and CBTC-modified car, a redesign of bus routes and a new tap-and-go fair payment system to be in place in the next decade. The improvements come with a cost. According to The New York Times, the groundbreaking proposal will cost more than $19 billion for the first five years. The plan will also entail closures, including continuous night and weekend closures for up to 2.5 years per line. Byford’s plan is thought to be ambitious, as work previously estimated to take 40 years would be completed within the next ten years. The two-stage proposal will benefit a cumulative eight million daily riders. The outdated transportation infrastructure has caused delays and frustration. The “state-of-the-art” communications-based train control (CBTC) is believed to deliver greater reliability and better prospects for future capacity growth. In the first five years, lines 4, 5, 6, 7, A, C, E, F, M, R, G will be upgraded with the advanced train control signal system; in the next five years, lines 1, 2, 3, B, D, S, N, Q, R, W too will be upgraded. The bus network will be reimagined across the five boroughs, promising customer focused routes, faster and more reliable travel times, and more comfortable and environmentally sustainable buses. However, the plan has an issue with funding. Amidst the quarrel between Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio on who should pay to rehabilitate the subway, a spokesperson for de Blasio told The New York Times that the city is not willing to help pay for Byford's plan. He advised that the MTA should instead resort to existing resources and the state should endorse new revenue sources such as the millionaire's tax that de Blasio has proposed.
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A life in the shadows: Take a look at some of Manhattan’s darkest and brightest streets

A comprehensive shadow study of Manhattan has been done by the New York Times. The analysis plots average shadows over the course of the year from every building in Manhattan shedding light (or rather shade) on New York's gloomiest and brightest streets. By hovering over areas of the map, one can find out how much a certain street spends its time in the shadows. This data is presented as a percentage of daylight hours and is split in three to account for different times of year: Summer, Winter, and Spring/Fall. The amount of time a particular area is shadowed is written as a unit of time. For example, the intersection of Broadway and Murray Street spends on average: Four hours and 35 minutes in shadow during the Summer (38 percent); two hours and 34 minutes in shadow during Fall/Spring (29 percent) and two hours and 47 minutes in shadow during the Winter (46 percent). This information changes pretty drastically at the slightest movement of your cursor due to the nature of shadowing. However, the most consistently shadowy areas on the Manhattan grid is the Financial District (FiDi). Much of its narrow streets were designed by the early Dutch settlers of "New Amsterdam," and thanks to the hefty clump of skyscrapers now in the vicinity, they seldom see natural light. One location in particular that this author spotted was Exchange Place. In this dark corner of FiDi, sunlight only gets through three percent of the time in Summer, while the narrow street lies in shadow for the whole of Spring, Fall, and Winter. How cheery. Today, as some may know, is the winter solstice. After rising in the southeast at 5:44 a.m. this morning, the sun will set in the southwest at the depressingly early time of 4:22 p.m. this afternoon. During the Summer months, this will change. Days will be longer, the sun will rise and set farther north, and most of Manhattan's shadows will be shorter. This is due to New York's longitude: by being closer to the North Pole, the city has access to more daylight during the Summer and less in the winter—hence the dramatic shadow interplay.

“One of the beauties of Manhattan, particularly in spring or fall, is that the grid is about 30 degrees off true North,” said New York–based architect and shadow consultant Michael Kwartler in the New York Times. “That means the intersections tend to be very bright because the sun is going diagonally across them at lunchtime.” Speaking of these intersections, Kwartler added that they “tend to be brighter than the streets in between, so it creates this really fabulous rhythm in Midtown of light-dark, light-dark.”

The study in detail can be found here. Those interested in learning about how density, FAR, and vertical development enables—or blocks—sunlight can explore this map from the Municipal Art Society.

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NYC 2014: What if New York hosted the Super Bowl of winter sports?

As the Sochi Olympics commence amongst a slew of issues ranging in severity, the New York Times has imagined what the games might look like in a more local context. Perhaps inspired by the weather of late, these renderings imagine what particular locations throughout New York City might look like playing host to a variety of events. The typically circular speedskating track has been unfurled into a 16,400 foot angled sprint from Madison to Battery Park. The ramps of the ski jump stretch out across Bryant Park to loom over the Public Library. A track for bobsled, luge, and skeleton races snakes through Times Square, curving amongst the billboards before a final straightaway past the Lion King. Downhill requires perhaps the most monumental intervention, with Central Park hosting a 2.2 mile long mountain twice the height of the Empire State Building standing 20 blocks to the south. The replica of the course from the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center is slightly larger than the most recent snow-covered artificial mound to grace Manhattan. Head over to the Times for more.
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Series of Films Explore the Past of Future of the Ubiquitous Highrise

Highrise buildings are the most commonly built form of the last century. So says A Short History of the Highrise, an interactive documentary that is a co-production of the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and the New York Times Op-Docs which has its premiere at the 2013 New York Film Festival and will launch on the website on October 5. It explores the 2,500-year global history of vertical living in four short films: Mud, Concrete, and Glass, which draws on the Times photo archives. The fourth, Home, is comprised of images submitted by the public. The films can be stopped at any time by swiping, pinching, pulling and tapping to dig deeper into the stories, see the backs of photos, and play games. Questions like who gets to live on the top floor and why (in Roman times, upper floors were the least desirable) are asked in rhyme: “Were these vertical experiments there for elites? Or to warehouse the poor away from the streets?” We climb the Tower of Babel, the Hakka round houses of Fujian province, and medieval Yemenese Manhattan-like mud towers before arriving at New York’s luxury-serviced Osborne, London Terrace, and Dakota built simultaneously to the multi-story tenements of the Lower East Side. All are shown in still images cleverly animated: buildings grow up, skaters glide, women wink, lights turn on, and the text is read by well-known Canadian musicians Feist and Cold Specks, as well as the series director, writer and editor Katerina Cizek. The result is a delightful, visually stunning exploration that is seemingly simple, but actually stretches both the conventional documentary form and how we depict space. This endeavor is the latest of a multi-year multi-format project of the NFB called Highrise. They have harnessed the tools of the digital revolution and fused them with tools of the social sciences, architecture, and design. Cizek has been working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's OpenDocLab as an MIT Visiting Artist, and with York University’s CITY Institute. The results thus far have been a series of web documentaries that tell tales “story by storey.” World of Highrises goes from the macro to the micro--Google Streetview aerials of countries, zooming into cities, and then specific highrises accompanied by a Wikipedia entry. We are encouraged to add to the roster. Living Proof shows that downtrodden highrise renewal is not a pipe dream. Examples of successful revitalization projects around the world are shown, narrated by architect Graeme Stewart who argues that it’s not the buildings themselves that are the problem so much as the system around the building. Cited are Hansaviertel in Berlin where a ground floor apartment was transformed into a cafe with terrace, and the facade brightened with an awning and paint. 1- CHOICE 1_NYThighrise The first documentary produced, Out My Window: The Towers in the World, the World in the Towers is comprised of interactive “Views from the Global Highrise.” Called a 360-degree documentary, it uses Yellowbird multi-lens panoramic video technology to look at the “concrete-slab residential highrise buildings that are the most commonly built form of the last century. On the outside, they all look the same. But inside these towers of concrete and glass, people create community, art and meaning.” More than 90 minutes of material features 49 stories from 13 cities, “not the Parises, Londons, Tokyos” but the mid-sized cities -- Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Sao Paolo, Havana, Amsterdam, Prague, Istanbul, Beirut, Bangalore, Phnom Penh, Tainan, Johannesburg -- in 13 languages told in fragmented, non-linear fashion from the destruction of Cabrini Green in Chicago to the fallout of the Velvet Revolution in Prague, all from from very personal points of view. “One Highrise, every window a different city.” One Millionth Tower is an interactive open-source documentary which reimagines what rundown highrises can be. Many of these concrete blocks are falling apart, and considered failures. Some are torn down, some renovated, but most left to decay. In Toronto there are 2,000 such high-rise towers. In this video, a cluster of suburban Toronto towers (19 towers with 19,000 inhabitants) are matched with architects and animators. Together they envision a market, a garden, a playground in dis- or un-used spaces. On this video journey, we travel through a virtual space online in a 3D experience using HTML5, flying over a gridded ground, rather than viewing a straightforward 2D film. Utilizing Popcorn, created by the open-source web browser Firefox’s parent, Mozilla, allowed the team to add interactivity to video by linking it with social media, news feeds, and data visualizations. What you see is a series of stills accompanied by recorded conversations that are overlaid with what is re-imagined in drawings and animation. We come to understand the grim reality of the place, and the possibilities of changing that space with simple interventions--an abandoned tennis court becomes a performance arena with shallow stairs, a ravine becomes a stepped garden, a parking lot becomes a farmer’s market. Animators overlaid trees, a basketball court, bright colors, dancers, skaters, and a meditative garden. They tried to “make a photo come alive, to say `this space is alive.’ .... to slowly build the characters ... breathing and moving” transitioning from daytime to nighttime. In fact, one of these dreams actually came to pass: the Toronto residents built their own new playground. After all the brainstorming for the documetary, they applied for a grant (it took 10 days to complete the proposal) which was awarded. 90 residents together with outside help, performed the labor. In a shot from One Millionth Tower, a resident blows animated “seeds” from her hand which float across the “garden,” alight, and take root, a harbinger of the new growth that followed. 2 -NYThighrise2
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Ratner Ready to Sell Majority of Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards to an Investor

It has been a bumpy road for Brooklyn's controversial Atlantic Yards development. The ten-year project-in-the-making is in the news yet again. According to the New York Times, 50 to 80 percent of Atlantic Yards is now up for grabs. Developer Bruce C. Ratner, chairman of Forest City Ratner Companies is on the hunt for an investor to buy the lion's share of the development for a hefty sum of up to $800 million. Forest City would still hold the reigns over the future development of the project. The plan for this swathe of land in the downtown Brooklyn vicinity would include 14 residential buildings and 6,000 apartments of which thirty percent are committed to moderate- and low-income housing. One motivation behind this sale is to accelerate the construction process, which has experienced delays. Development watchdog site, Atlantic Yards Report, stated in response this announcement and the Times article: "Real estate analysts speculate that Mr. Ratner’s company could reap as much as $800 million from the sale of 50 to 80 percent of the remaining project. Well, that's an estimate, but if Forest City has invested about $500 million in cash, as the company said in June, that looks like a rather significant profit. So that's a pretty generous headline—'enhance Atlantic Yards'—as opposed to 'cash out/make profit.'"
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Times’ Take on Topping Four World Trade

At a panel discussion on architecture journalism held at the Center for Architecture last month, the New York Post's Steve Cuozzo griped that The New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman had yet to weigh in on the 9/11 Memorial. Indeed, even the Times's go-to architecture reporter Robin Pogrebin had to concur. She noted that she too had raised the question. Nevertheless, World Trade Center reporting—let alone criticism—can be a full time job. Although Pogrebin continues to report on the cultural venues slated for the site, the architectural aspects of the project have been the province of David Dunlap from the get-go. With the topping of Four World Trade today at 977 feet, Dunlap once again provides a highly detailed report, as he did two weeks ago in his analysis of the grossly altered designs of One World Trade. Standing in the shadow of One World Trade, Dunlap notes that architects Fumihiko Maki and Osamu Sassa have no problem with his building being labeled "the biggest skyscraper New Yorkers have never heard of." "Subtlety extends one’s appreciation," Sassa told the Times. Kimmelman, meanwhile, has made a trip to the area, but to review a glass canopy, "in the shadow of One World Trade Center no less."
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Kimmelman Bags NY Times Archi-Critic Post

An internal New York Times email, acquired by AN today, announced that Michael Kimmelman would start this fall as the New York Times’ new chief architecture critic. Citing Kimmelman as “one of the paper’s great writers”, Jonathan Landman, deputy managing editor, wrote how Kimmelman started at the paper of record as a music critic and “swiftly morphed into an art critic.” And now after four years as a foreign correspondent, he will fill out his all-purpose critic portfolio as architecture critic. In the same memo, Kimmelman is quoted describing his abiding interest “in how we live, in how buildings actually work, in city planning, public policy, neighborhoods, communities and characters”—intriguingly local interests not on best display in his magazine marquee profiles of Oscar Niemeyer, Shigeru Ban, and most recently Peter Zumthor. Meanwhile in an Architectural Record web story, “Vote: Who will Replace Nicolai Ourossoff?” put up on June 17, the top choice of 12 was Chicago Trib’s Blair Kamin with 79 out of 685 votes. A close 2nd Place went to LA Times’ Christopher Hawthorne with 76; with third (69) and fourth (66) going to Atlantic Monthly’s Witold Rybczynski and AN’s Julie Iovine. In Arc Rec’s vote, Kimmelman attracted the fewest votes, 18, in a slightly eerie confirmation that what architects and what the paper of record think are very different.  But that is hardly new news.
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Will Kimmelman Replace Ouroussoff at the Times?

The Architect's Newspaper has heard from multiple sources that the New York Times may be close to naming the art critic Michael Kimmelman as the paper's new architecture critic. Outgoing architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff resurfaced today with another far flung report, a glowing review of Steven Holl's Vanke Center in Shenzhen, China. Will it be his last? Though Kimmelman is best known as an art critic, he has written on architecture several times in recent years during his posting in Europe, including an excellent piece on David Chipperfield's Neues Museum in Berlin and a profile of Peter Zumthor for the New York Times Magazine.
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Baan Among the Best

First there was Ezra Stoller, then Julius Shulman. Now comes Iwan Baan, who is furiously "remaking the genre" of architectural photography, as Charles Renfro put it to Fred Bernstein in Sunday's Times. Baan, while only 34, has an exploding, explosive list of clients. As Bernstein explains, "Mr. Baan’s work, while still showing architecture in flattering lights and from carefully chosen angles, does away with the old feeling of chilly perfection. In its place he offers untidiness, of the kind that comes from real people moving though buildings and real cities massing around them." It is for this reason, among many others, that Baan was selected as one of a dozen photographers in our annual Best Of issue, now online. Not surprisingly, his work turns up throughout, bringing to life everything from the High Line's lighting to 41 Cooper Square's facade. Do think of calling on him—as well as the hundreds of other contractors, fabricators, and suppliers in Best Of—next time you need a smart hand or steady eye on one of your projects.
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Eavesdrop NY 14

THE PLOTS THICKEN Did The New York Times learn nothing from its error-riddled obituary of Walter Cronkite this summer? The famous newsman was 90 years old and in failing health for some time. His obituary should have been in the can for years. And yet there were seven inexcusable errors, which prompted a lengthy correction, which prompted a lame mea culpa from the public editor, which prompted an avalanche of snarky comments from readers. Back to the question, did the newspaper learn from this embarrassment? It did not. The obituary for Charles Gwathmey, who died on August 3 (according to the Times), was revised with a correction regarding the architect’s education. Turns out, that correction was incorrect and therefore had to be corrected. A correction of a correction spun the needle right off Eavesdrop’s Cringe-O-Meter. Gwathmey was interred at Green River Cemetery in the Springs hamlet within East Hampton town—famous as the final resting place of many artists, including Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Stuart Davis, and the poet Frank O’Hara. Steven Ross, the former Time Warner chief executive, is buried in a section added in 1987. According to a 2002 Times article (no corrections cited), his widow, Courtney Sale Ross, “paid $77,000 for 110 of the 400 plots left in the new section, creating a wide buffer between her husband and less affluent residents. The [cemetery] trustees later instituted what is known as the ‘Ross Rule,’ which permits no one to buy more than eight plots.” Eavesdrop is pleased that Mrs. Ross deemed Charlie worthy of eternal exclusivity. Most worthy. TRIPPINGLY OFF THE TONGUE While we’re reporting from the Hamptons, we’d like to bring your attention to more corrections needed, as yet not made. Dan’s Paper—”the largest weekly community newspaper in the Hamptons”—covered an event in East Hampton recently. According to the author, Dan himself, the people gathered “to hear a discussion about architecture in the Hamptons... featuring panel members Richard Meier, Robert Stern, and Paul Goldenberger.” Goldenberger, eight times. “Goldenberger is the longtime architecture critic for The New York Times,” Dan continued. Don’t tell Ouroussoff or Remnick. And on he goes. Meier “mentioned the home built by Robert Gwathmey for his parents in the 1950s, which he said, was a masterpiece.” The house Charlie Gwathmey completed for his parents in 1966 was also a masterpiece. Dan must have been on a tight deadline. Eavesdrop is on one, too, and apologizes in advance for all idiocies in the here and hereafter. Send corrections and columbaria to
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Lessons From The Past

We just came across a story (above) by David Dunlap in the New York Times whose headline reads: Recession Is Ravaging Architectural Firms. In it architects bemoan the state of the industry and make claims like "it will never be the same again," and "I've had the chance to see a lot of ups and downs. This one, to me, is without a doubt the worst." Dunlap suggests that 'Now, having shrunk, firms may decide to stay smaller.' And one architect thinks this is the next Great Depression: "We don't see a way out, a real turning point, until the end of the decade. If you're talking about no significant work until the latter half of the decade, you're talking about a situation that is somewhat similar to the 1930's." Surprise! This isn't a recent story. It's dated May 17, 1992. So apparently people always think their recession is the worst, and that things will never get back to the way they were. But so far they've always been wrong. So don't listen to people like this guy, who back then claimed, "We are never going to reach the employment levels we demanded in the 80's... "We are never going to be fully employed at the level we've been turning out students." Not that looking at the past doesn't teach valuable lessons. Said one wise architect, "There's been a realization on a lot of firms' parts that they need to begin adjusting the focus of their practice.They will also be competing for work farther and farther afield." Others were more specific: "It's high time," said David M. Childs, the chairman of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. "We've cleaned house and it's been extremely healthy. We've been forced to make decisions we knew we had to make five or six years ago that we didn't want to make or didn't have time to make." The recession, said Eugene Kohn, prompted Kohn Pedersen Fox to explore new kinds of buildings and technology, overseas ventures and smaller but architecturally challenging commissions. "The negative is obviously the sadness of letting go of very good people you care about," he said. "But the chance to rethink the structure and the philosophical approach of your firm is a good thing." We're in a new business," said Richard Roth Jr., chairman of Emery Roth & Sons, a 94-year-old firm. "We saw the handwriting on the wall that architecture is not going to be the bread and butter of the 1990's, so we formed an interiors company" -- Emery Roth & Sons Interior Design/Facilities Management. The new company will probably generate 35 to 40 percent of all income for Emery Roth this year. "A lot of commercially oriented firms are now trying to scramble around to develop an understanding and expertise in the institutional market -- health care and criminal justice buildings," said  Jerry A. Davis, managing principal in the New York office of Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum.
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Up, Up, & Away

No, we're not talking about the progress on Tower 1, though that is impressive. We're talking about news of the building's new, fastest-in-the-hemisphere elevators. Call it jealousy: We've been having horrible problems lately at A/N HQ with the elevator. First, it was grinding and creaking. Then it was getting stuck between floors. They say it's fixed but we're still taking the stairs. Can we be blamed for looking longingly to the south from 21 Murray Street after this ecstatic report from tomorrow's Times:
Add one more ear-popping superlative to the structural distinctions at 1 World Trade Center. On opening in 2013, it will have the five fastest elevators in the Western Hemisphere, according to the company that will make them. These express cars, serving the restaurant and observatory, will reach a top speed of 2,000 feet a minute, meaning that a trip to the top of the city’s tallest building will take less than three-quarters of a minute. To put that speed in perspective, it is 25 percent faster than the express elevators that served the twin towers — which seemed plenty quick enough, once you had negotiated the long waiting line.
Perhaps we've been rendered paranoid, but what happens when you get stuck on a super elevator? Are you super screwed?