Posts tagged with "Queens":

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New York City to remove 96 sites from landmark consideration

In an effort to supposedly streamline New York City’s landmarking process, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) will drop 96 buildings and sites from consideration for historic preservation. These sites span all five boroughs and include Union Square, Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, and the Pepsi-Cola sign in Long Island City (above). Of the nearly 96 sites (94 structures and two historic districts), 80 have been calendared for more than 20 years.“The buildings considered for this action were placed on the Commission's calendar, public hearings were held, and they currently remain inactive,” explained the LPC in a statement. While being calendared is kind of like landmarks limbo, it comes with significant protections. “Calendaring means that no demolition, construction, or alteration permits can be granted for a site without first notifying the LPC and allowing them up to forty days to designate the structure or negotiate a change or withdrawal of the permit applications,” explained Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP), in a statement. The Society has called upon the LPC to drop its so-called "mass de-calendaring." Landmarks West!, a committee to promote historic preservation on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, has also slammed the LPC’s planned action, saying the commission is “essentially sentencing [the buildings and sites]to death by bulldozer.” The LPC contends that removing the sites will make the landmarks process smoother. "Cleaning up that backlog will ensure the LPC can much more effectively fulfill its mission of responding to the landmarking issues of today in real time," de Blasio spokesperson Wiley Norvell told DNAinfo. The Commission adds that this action would not stop it from reconsidering landmark status for any of these sites or buildings. After some pressure from DNAinfo and the Manhattan Borough President's office, the LPC has made the list of sites available to the public. The Commission will vote on its "administrative action," this upcoming Monday.
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Jasper Morrison and Yoshio Taniguchi awarded second Isamu Noguchi Award

The Noguchi Museum in Queens, New York has bestowed its second annual Isamu Noguchi Award to designer Jasper Morrison and architect Yoshio Taniguchi. This eponymous accolade is given to professionals who, like Noguchi, are leaders in the fields of design and architecture, and “kindred spirits in innovation, global consciousness, and Japanese/American exchange,” the museum said in a statement. Noguchi, an artist and landscape architect, brought a sculptor’s touch to furniture design, creating pieces that were abstract yet functional, soaring yet minimalist. The recipients of this year’s award were selected because they demonstrate a common approach to their work and “exemplify Noguchi’s lifelong commitment to world citizenship and the practice of art with a social purpose,” stated Jenny Dixon, Director of the Noguchi Museum. Motohide Yoshikawa, the Ambassador of Japan to the United Nations, will officially present the awards to Morrison and Taniguchi on May 19, 2015 at the museum’s Spring Benefit and 20th Anniversary bash. The museum’s inaugural awards went to Norman Foster and Hiroshi Sugimoto this past May.
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Developer of 5Pointz-replacing towers wants to trademark the name "5Pointz"

As we speak, Long Island City’s graffiti mecca, 5Pointz, is being demolished so two beige apartment towers can rise in its place. But lest we forget the history of the iconic institution, Jerry Wolkoff, the owner of 5Pointz, wants to trademark its name so he can spray it on the residential replacement he is developing. DNAInfo reported that Wolkoff’s company G&M Realty filed an application in March with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to do just that. That request was apparently denied in June, but Wolkoff has some time to respond. As the New York Times explained last year, the name was originally coined by graffiti artist Meres One back in 2002. Unsurprisingly, the attempt to trademark the name has been blasted by 5Pointz artists. But Wolkoff has defended his actions, saying that all is not lost with the new development as space will be reserved in his towers for artists' work. "I'm bringing the artists back," he told DNAinfo. "The building is going to be back and the artists are going to be back." Well clearly not everyone sees it that way. [h/t 6sqft]
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With deal in place, Citi Bike system set to expand in 2015

It's happening. After years of talks and reports, it's actually, finally, in-paper, happening—Citi Bike is expanding. Tuesday, at the Queensbridge Houses in Queens, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced that the system of 6,000 bikes will double by the end of 2017—putting 2,000 more bikes on the streets than initially envisioned when the program was launched. The news comes as Bikeshare Holdings, a private investment company headed by the CEOs of Equinox and Related Companies, acquires Alta Bicycle Share, which oversees Citi Bike, and other bikeshare programs around the world. As the Daily News first reported, former MTA Chairman Jay Walder will serve as Alta's new CEO. Starting next year, a new fleet of blue bikes will arrive in Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, and in Long Island City, Queens. As Citi Bike noted on its blog, all of these stations were intended to be part of the program's "initial deployment." Based on a map provided by Citi Bike, the second phase of expansion will include Upper Manhattan, Astoria, Queens, and more Brooklyn neighborhoods. But the system won't just be expanded, it will be entirely overhauled. Anyone who has been on a Citi Bike recently knows why—seats are torn, bikes are broken, docks are out-of-service, and the credit card system is glitchy. To pay for all of this, and to keep the program solvent moving forward, Citi Bike will raise the annual membership fee from $95 a year to $149. The $60 annual membership New York City Housing residents will not change. According to the NYC DOT, Bikeshare Holdings has invested $30 million into the program, the Partnership Fund for New York City pledged $5 million, the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group is lending $15 million for a credit increase, and Citigroup has increased its sponsorship commitment by $70.5 million and has extended it through 2024. (Citi initially paid $41 million for a five-year sponsorship contract). “We believe in Citi Bike’s potential as a fixture of New York City’s public transit system," Mayor de Blasio said in a statement. "It can make our neighborhoods more accessible, help us achieve our sustainability goals, and bridge inequities in our transportation network. To achieve all that, bike share has to be reliable and responsive to community’s needs. Today, after tremendous efforts across our administration, we can say we have the management and the support in place to fulfill that mission."
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Archtober Building of the Day #11> Queens' Glen Oaks Branch Library

Archtober Building of the Day #11 Glen Oaks Branch Library 256-04 Union Turnpike, Queens Marble Fairbanks The goal of libraries is to provide communities with access to resources, said Karen Fairbanks, founding partner of Marble Fairbanks. Before Fairbanks and a large team of fellow architects, landscape architects, and engineers designed the new Glen Oaks Branch Library, community members were yearning for a facility that could provide more resources that better serve their needs. Throughout the design process, the design team continued to return to the word “search”—it is projected across the facade of the building, changing its appearance based on time of day and season. Even in the age of digital resources, libraries remain hubs for people of all ages to search for answers and information. In their design, libraries today must achieve the proper balance of flexible space for programming and digital research as well as storage for printed materials. The brick library that previously stood on the site was small, uninviting, and lacked sufficient natural light. Overall, the building was not civic, said Fairbanks. The design team set out to design a new structure that appeals to library goers, and adequately represents the area’s diverse community of 30,000 people speaking 30 different languages. The intricate design on the building’s glass exterior skin, developed by a complex algorithm, spells out the word “search” in 30 different languages to signify the community’s diverse demographic makeup. Each translation is accompanied by a series of lines representing the population size of each language represented. From a distance, it looks like rows of books. Each of the building’s three levels serves a distinct group—adults, teenagers, and children. Teens primarily use the main floor and the rear garden, or outdoor reading room. After school, this area is flooded with students. They can choose from a range of furniture types and feel comfortable doing homework or socializing. An open stairway with transparent glass railings leads to the basement level where adults, the largest group of library patrons, congregate. The stairwell creates an atrium allowing light to enter the lower level. Skylights embedded in the landscaping outside, over which visitors must walk to enter the library, also bring light in to the grand basement space. The perimeter of the basement reading room is wrapped in books for easy accessibility, with intimate reading areas arranged throughout. One of two community rooms is tucked in the back of this level. The top floor, reserved for children, is the quietest floor. Fairbanks noted that the carpeting and perforated ceiling absorb sound. Smaller chairs and tables and shorter bookshelves clearly indicate the target audience. Children can access materials and librarians can monitor the whole room. An LED art piece by Janet Zweig, commissioned by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs as part of the Percent for Art program, hangs from the ceiling. On it, unanswerable philosophical questions scroll overhead. The stimulating installation is meant to inspire children and engage their sense of wonder and desire to “search.” The Glen Oaks Branch Library opened to the public in September 2013. Five days a week, visitors flow naturally from the bus stop on Union Turnpike, to the sitting area outside the entrance made possible by the building’s setback on the site, and into the library. Emma Pattiz is Policy Coordinator for the AIA New York Chapter.
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New Queens Public Plaza Shows Public Space Doesn't Take All That Much

A new public plaza in Sunnyside, Queens proves that creating inviting public space doesn’t require lots of money and a lengthy design process – especially in a crowded city like New York. That’s certainly the case with Bliss Plaza, a recently-opened plaza tucked underneath the tracks of the 7 train. Frankly, there’s not all that much to it – save for a new sidewalk, some planters, and a handful of bright bistro tables and chairs. But here’s what Bliss Plaza does have: People. And that’s the key. According to Streetsblog, the space was already closed-off to cars, but recently revamped by Sunnyside's Business Improvement District (BID) and the city’s public plaza program. The same approach is being taken for nearby Lowery Plaza, which  is expected to open this fall. If both plazas are successful, then there are are plenty of opportunities for the city to keep going. The vacant spaces and parking lots under the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, for example, could be similarly activated with some planters, chairs, and, of course, people.
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New York City allocates $5.8 million to stabilize Philip Johnson's New York State Pavilion

After decaying for years, the New York State Pavilion from the 1964 World's Fair is getting some TLC. The New York Times reported that $5.8 million was allocated in New York City’s budget to stabilize the Philip Johnson–designed pavilion in Queens. A NYC Parks Department spokesperson told the Times that the exact use of the money has not yet been determined yet, but it will likely go toward electrical and structural work at the site’s iconic towers. The decaying Tent of Tomorrow will be getting some love as well. According to engineering studies from the Parks Department, it would cost an estimated $14 million to raze the pavilion, $43 million to stabilize it, and $52 million to restore the towers' elevators. Any attention to the park is a good sign, but considering the high cost of doing just about anything to the pavilion, this is a relatively small investment. But it is a start.
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New York City Traffic Safety Laws Signed by Mayor De Blasio Seek To Strengthen Vision Zero Plan

In his ongoing effort to eliminate traffic fatalities through Vision Zero, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed 11 new traffic safety bills. According to Streetsblog, the bills “suspend the licenses of dangerous taxi drivers, require the installation of 20 mph Slow Zones, and make it a misdemeanor to strike a pedestrian or cyclist with the right of way, among other changes.” These bills were signed at PS 152 in Queens, where 8-year-old Noshat Nahian was struck and killed by a truck in December. It was at that school, one month later, where Mayor de Blasio announced his Vision Zero plan to dramatically improve street safety throughout the city. At the signing on Monday, the mayor also said that legislation recently passed by the state senate, which lowers New York City’s default speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25 MPH, will go into effect this fall.          
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Obit> Dr. Alan Friedman, 1942-2014

We love all of our clients equally… but Dr. Alan Friedman we really, really loved. We should all be so fortunate as to work with someone as generous, curious, optimistic yet not unrealistic, trusting, and somehow always fun. BKSK worked with him on two ambitious permanent outdoor exhibits (collectively the NY Hall of Science Playground) approximately ten years apart, and in between were tapped for various smaller tasks. So lightning, for us, struck more than once. The beginning of any project was, following that metaphor, electrifying. His spark of inspiration for the first playground came on a trip to India, where he found an exhibit harnessing children’s full body play to demonstrate principles of physics. He envisioned it on a park-sized scale and empowered our team (Ivan & Jane Chermayeff, Lee Weintraub, Mattyias Levy, and Tian Fang Jing from Weidlinger Associates, among others) to engage in extreme brainstorming. His questions all involved content—“What does it teach? How can it engage a group of participants?” At his urging, our projects embraced the sun, sounds, water, and wind of the museum’s Flushing Meadow site. We feel sure that the other architects he engaged as the Hall of Science grew, including Ennead (then Polshek & Partners) and Beyer Blinder Belle, would say the same: that Alan was a tireless source of, and promoter of, ideas. Above all, he wanted us to make spaces that were themselves teaching tools. Under his guidance, the process of design itself was a full body and full mind experience, filled with surprise and delight. Joan Krevlin is a partner at BKSK Architects in New York City.  
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Michael Kimmelman Proposes A Queens-Brooklyn Waterfront Streetcar

As development along the Brooklyn and Queens’ waterfront has increased dramatically over the years, transportation options—for residents old and new—has not. The number of glass towers, startups, and parks along the East River has only been matched by style pieces on new “it” neighborhoods from Astoria to Red Hook. But, now, the New York Times' Michael Kimmelman has used his platform to launch a plan to change that equation, and give these neighborhoods the transportation system they deserve. Kimmelman is proposing a modern streetcar to better connect these waterfront neighborhoods. He explained that a streetcar system takes less time to build than a new subway line, needs less space on the road than light-rail, and is more romantic than a city bus. “By providing an alternative to cars, streetcars also dovetail with Mayor De Blasio’s vow to improve pedestrian safety,” Kimmelman said, adding that the mayor wouldn’t need Albany’s blessing for this plan. The streetcar would, of course, not run cheap, but Kimmelman said the upfront costs are more than worth it. “The city’s urban fabric can’t be an afterthought,” says Kimmelman. “The keys to improved city life—better health care, housing, schools, culture, business, tourism and recreation—all have spatial implications.” Read Kimmelman's full proposal at the NY Times.
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Architects Propose Parametric "Urban Alloy Towers" Bridging a Train Yard in Queens

Why cap a transit hub with traditional, mixed-use towers when it can be topped by an amorphous, alien-like, tubular, metallic structurethat seemingly defies gravity? That, apparently, was the thinking behind AMLGM’s “Urban Alloy” proposal for Queens, New York. Their dramatic proposal, which bends and twists above an existing transportation center, includes retail, office, cultural, and residential space within its metallic skin. The hypothetical project is the brainchild of New York City–based architects Matt Bowles and Chad Kellogg, and it recently won Metropolis’  Living Cities competition. Using the intersection of the Long Island Railroad and the 7 Line Subway as a test case, the architects place tunnels above existing tracks, and had them converge and transform into towers. The resulting superstructure resembles a piece of coral, or an alien, or maybe even a giant virus. The team says Urban Alloy is an "opportunity to draw the energy of Manhattan out into the four other boroughs without disrupting existing land use." While the radical forms of the proposal might not scream Manhattan at first glance, it's not likely to crawl or slither into reality any time soon.
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New York City's Vision Zero Arrives on Atlantic Avenue with "Arterial Slow Zones"

Vision Zero is coming to Brooklyn and Queens' Atlantic Avenue. Nearly eight miles of the notoriously dangerous thoroughfare will be transformed into the first of 25 planned “arterial slow zones.” Last Wednesday—at the busy corner of Atlantic and Washington avenues—Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced that the city is taking immediate steps to save lives by reducing the street's speed limit from 30MPH to 25. The city will also be re-timing traffic lights, increasing speeding enforcement, and adjusting medians to increase pedestrian safety. According to the commissioner, there were 25 traffic fatalities on Atlantic Avenue between 2008 and 2012. The change on Atlantic Avenue is a significant step in Mayor de Blasio’s ambitious goal to reduce traffic fatalities to zero. As part of his Vision Zero plan, he has also proposed installing more speed cameras and reducing the city’s default speed limit from 30-miles-per-hour to 25; but both of these initiatives require approval from Albany. And while five new speed cameras have issued 14,500 tickets since January, new  cameras aren't coming to Atlantic Avenue just yet. At the announcement, Commissioner Trottenberg said “we have some pretty tight restrictions from Albany on how we can deploy speed cameras.”