Posts tagged with "Queens":

Hotelier Andre Balazs to Update Saarinen’s TWA Terminal With New Standard Hotel

The TWA terminal at JFK airport in New York may soon change prevailing opinions that sleeping at the airport is strictly a last-resort decision. Reports have recently circulated that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has named André Balazs—the hotelier behind the Standard hotels in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles—to develop the iconic TWA terminal in Jamaica, Queens. According to an exclusive interview with the New York Post, the terminal will be transformed into a hotel and conference center with a spa and fitness center, retail space, eateries, and a flight museum. The facility will be called The Standard, Flight Center. Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye told the Post in a statement, "The Port Authority is committed to preserving the essence of [Saarinen’s] iconic design and to continuing to work with [Balazs Properties] on a plan to transform the historic TWA Flight Center into a one-of-a-kind hotel and conference center in the heart of JFK’s central terminal area." Andre Balasz Properties could not be reached for comment. Eero Saarinen designed the terminal in 1956 that then opened in 1962, though flight operations were suspended in 2001. Four years later, JetBlue began construction of a new terminal that encircled the original building and has been open since 2008. Saarinen’s terminal has since remained vacant, with the exception of a handful of rare and exclusive events.

Graffiti Mecca in Queens to be Replaced by Residential Towers

The former record needle and clothing manufacturing building, 5 Pointz, in Long Island City, Queens, is one of the few remaining refuges for graffiti art in New York City. For the last two decades, aerosol artists have flocked to this 200,000-square-foot warehouse to exhibit their work. But now the graffiti art mecca is one step closer to being demolished and replaced by two 47 and 41 story residential towers. In spite of Queens Community Board 2's opposition to the plan, the City Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve a special permit that would allow developer G&M Realty to build a larger structure than permitted by the existing zoning. DNAinfo reported that Queens Borough President Helen Marshall also came out in favor of the plan with the stipulation that the development include 75 affordable housing units and studio space for artists. The plans, not surprisingly, have been controversial and elicited protests from local residents and aerosol artists. Next up, City Council will vote on the permit. But regardless of the outcome, the developer will still have the right to demolish the existing structure and build something new, but to a size that the current zoning permits.  

Zoning Change will Open Door for Sprawling Residential Development in Queens

Astoria may soon rival its neighbor, Long Island City, as the next major residential waterfront community in Queens. In a unanimous vote, the City Planning Commission has given developer Lincoln Equities Group the green light to move forward with a $1 billion residential housing development on Hallets Point peninsula. DNAinfo reported that the project would include 2,161 market-rate and 483 affordable apartments as well as a public esplanade along the East River, retail, supermarket, and possibly a public school in NYCHA's adjacent Astoria Houses campus. According to the Daily News, some government officials have voiced concerns that the infrastructure cannot support the surge in population that will come with this seven-building project.  Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. is worried about the strain this development will put on the local transportation. “There’s going to be thousands of people moving into this development and future developments,” Vallone (D-Astoria) told the Daily News. The proposal still has to win the support of City Council before the developers can proceed with construction. The project is anticipated to be completed by 2022.

Jamaica Bay To Serve as Model for Research on Climate Change and Flood Protection

Spreading out across 10,000 acres of parkland, Jamaica Bay in Queens, New York will now serve as the focus of a new science and resilience institute spearheaded by the City University of New York (CUNY) to understand how urban ecosystems respond to changing weather patterns and global warming. The CUNY-led research consortium, temporarily housed on Brooklyn College's campus, will collaborate with other leading New York institutions to study the efficacy of natural flood protections, such as dunes and salt marshes, in safeguarding New York's coastline. These findings will benefit and be applicable to other cities and regions that are vulnerable to flooding as sea levels rise and storms become more frequent and powerful. “In the City of New York, we have a powerful and dedicated partner to promote visitation, education programs, scientific research and opportunities for recreation in our urban parks,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell at the announcement of the new program yesterday. “And now, in CUNY and their academic partners, we have a consortium of world-class institutions to advance our understanding of climate change and its impact on our natural systems. Working together, we will develop and coordinate approaches to coastal resiliency for Jamaica Bay that can serve as a model for communities around the world threatened by climate change.” The institute will formally launch in October with the "Urban Resilience in an Era of Climate Change: Global Input for Local Solutions" symposium, which will investigate and come up with strategies to make urban areas more resilient. Mayor Bloomberg also introduced a new public-private partnership, called Jamaica Bay—Rockaway Parks Conservancy, founded to support the development and operations of the parklands and waters in the Jamaica Bay area. The Conservancy will also be responsible for programming and amenities including, boat rentals, food trucks, and biking.

New York City Asks For Help Redesigning the Hurricane-Ravaged Boardwalk in the Rockaways

Even as New Yorkers throng to the beaches in the Rockaways, the remnants from Hurricane Sandy still linger. One such vestige is the damaged boardwalk that once stretched from Far Rockaway to Rockaway Park in Queens. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation with the help of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in July seeking designs for the 4.7-mile boardwalk, and now the August 14th deadline is nearing. The RFP calls for a multifaceted approach that incorporates a range of flood protection measures such as seawalls and dunes: "The design shall provide for protective structures that are more resilient and able to withstand storm and tidal forces that may impact the coastline in future years." The proposals will focus on the coastal area from roughly Beach 20th to Beach 126th. The Parks Department anticipates that they will select a group of finalists within the next several weeks, and present the designs to the public and Community Board 14 sometime in September.

Friday> NightSeeing Light Walk in Queens

nightsee_01 Join NightSeeing Friday night for an illuminating walk through Queens to discover the dynamic interplay of light and shadow along the Roosevelt Avenue and 82nd Street corridors. Led by lighting professional Leni Schwendinger and the 82nd Street Partnership , NightSeeing is an educational tour and community enrichment program which aims to introduce the public to lighting theory by bringing awareness to the complex role of light within our urban environments. The projects will work to create a site-specific lighting strategy that aims to foster community engagement and enliven one of the borough’s most vibrant commercial districts. The event begins with a LightTalk by Schwendinger at the Jackson Heights Cinema at 8:00 pm, followed by a guided tour later that evening and a community planning workshop the following day.

Four Finalists Imagine a More Resilient Rockaways in the Far Roc Competition

Four teams of architects have been selected to envision new possibilities for a long stretch of vacant land along the Sandy-battered coast in the Rockaways. The ideas presented at Thursday's announcement range from practical resiliency tactics to creative design solutions such as dune sand filters, elevated undulating boardwalks, and clusters of low-rise and mid-rise housing. The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) along with private developers and the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter, launched the Far Roc Competition back in April to generate proposals to turn an 80-plus-acre site, called Averne East, into a resilient mixed-use waterfront community. The competition calls on architects to think expansively about the challenges facing the Rockaways and come up with a multi-layered proposals that offer concrete ideas for sustainable mixed-income housing, flood protection measures, and recreation and park land. "We need to build durable, affordable infrastructure for those who really need and deserve it," said Bomee Jung Enterprise Community Partner, an affordable housing organization. The competition yielded 117 submissions from more than 20 countries. The jury panel whittled it down to four finalists, all hailing from across the globe: New York-based Ennead Architects, Toronto's Lateral Office, London-based Seeding Office, and Scandinavian firm White Arkitekter. "We don't have a choice. We have to conquer this challenge if we want to ensure the viability of our waterfront community," said HPD Commissioner Mathew Wambua. "We are eagerly anticipating the final presentation of your visions [addressing finalists]." Plans to develop this site have been brewing for several years. In 2007, HPD and developers—the Bluestone Group, L+M Development, and Triangle Equities—were in talks to build a mixed-income development, but held off when the economic crisis hit. The four finalists will be awarded $30,000 to continue to fine-tune and develop their ideas. The proposal deadline for the second phase of the competition will be on October 7th. In addition to the four finalists, there were six honorable mentions, which included: Michael Cowdy from Sydney-based firm McGregor Coxall; John Ellis from San Francisco and Seatte-based firm Mithun; Iljoong Kim from New York-based firm ijKim Architect; Giuseppe Lignano from New York-based Lot-EK; Pablo Oriol from FRPO Rodriquez & Oriol in Madrid; and Zhang Quian Christopher from Los Angeles and Honk Kong-based eLandScript.

MoMA PS1 Expanding Thanks to $3 Million in Funding

In an effort to secure financial backing for the city's cultural institutions, New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who is the chair of the city council’s Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee, has locked in $3 million of city budget funds to expand MoMA PS1. The funds will be used for the museum to specifically acquire the small apartment building at the rear of its current Romanesque Revival school building at 22-25 Jackson Avenue in Long Island City, Queens. Van Bramer has revealed that the purchase will allow the museum to expand its exhibition space. The museum is deciding if it will shift its offices from the main building to the apartment structure. The funding has been apportioned to the museum in capital funds as part of the city’s 2014 budget, which was confirmed last month. Councilman Van Bramer also allotted budget funds for some other arts organizations in his Queens district including The Noguchi Museum, which will receive $600,000 in capital funds for a new generator to replace one damaged by Hurricane Sandy flooding, and SculptureCenter, which will receive $300,000 in funding. According to DNA Info, the councilman said “It’s a real imperative to expand our cultural institutions, expand their foot prints, increase funding for them and allow them to do more of what they already do well—produce art that brings lots of people to the neighborhood, who then spend money in the neighborhood.”

Landmark Aluminaire House Seeks a Home

The landmark Aluminaire House is homeless yet again. The situation is not so out of the ordinary, however, as preservationists and communities have recently been confronted with the futures of these pioneering modernist structures. In this particular battle, a team of architects is hoping to relocate the historic house, which has already been disassembled and rebuilt three times, to a vacant lot in Sunnyside Gardens, a landmarked district in Queens. The proposal to reassemble the house as part of a low-rise residential development at 39th Avenue and 50th Street is facing uncertainty from residents who would prefer the site be turned into a community park. Architects A. Lawrence Kocher and Albert Frey designed Aluminaire as a case study in 1931. Constructed of donated materials and built in ten days, the first all-metal, prefabricated house in the country debuted at the Allied Arts and Industry and Architectural League Exhibition. Subsequently, the house was sold to architect Wallace K. Harrison who disassembled and moved it to Long Island. New York Institute of Technology then reassembled the structure on its campus, which has since closed, leaving the structure to the Aluminaire House Foundation, which has disassembled and stored it. The Foundation now seeks a low-rise, high-density New York neighborhood to display the building as it was initially intended – as a low cost urban home prototype. Residents are concerned that the house’s design does not belong with the area’s traditional brick housing scheme. Still, Sunnyside Gardens and Aluminaire have a history together—they were both featured in a 1932 MoMA modern architecture exhibit. Reconstructing the house in Sunnyside would actually place Aluminaire within its planned context. The project embarked on its lengthy journey through the public approval process at Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee meeting last month. The foundation is scheduled to present to the commission in September. For now, the house is in storage.

Saturday> Flux Factory to Release Kittens Into a Model City to Teach Kids About Urbanism

kitty_city_01 While it certainly won't be as terrifying as a Godzilla or King Kong tearing through city streets, what you might call Kitty Kong will be pawing through a model of an imagined ideal city at the Flux Factory in Long Island City, Queens, beginning Saturday. Developed by a team of children, artists, and city planners, the Flux Factory's Kitty City project is an intergenerational experiment in collaborative urbanism, designed to teach kids the way cities get built, encourage democratic decision making, and challenge the opacity of urban planning processes. Throughout the past month, a group of children, ages 7-12, participated in a series of workshops in which they designed the many components of their meowtropolis, including buildings and parks, water, transportation, and sanitation systems, housing, commercial, and cultural districts, and even a Museum of Natural Cat History. Their proposal then had to pass through a rigorous approval process before the kids could begin construction. Tomorrow their 1,7000 square foot city, equipped with waist-high condos, cat-houses perched upon giant mushrooms, cardboard residential towers, and kitty-hammocks will open up to 30 eager kittyzens. Aside from introducing children to participatory urbanism, civic engagement, and urban design, the project will also provide homes for dozens of orphaned cats. For tomorrow’s ribbon cutting, Flux Factory has partnered with For Animals, Inc., a South Ozone Park-based, no-kill animal shelter that will provide the city with its first residents. Once the cats get the chance to explore their custom-made urban environment, you can adopt them on-site free of charge. Stop by between Flux Factory in Long Island City noon and six tomorrow to see the Kitty City in action and maybe bring home a feline friend of your own.

On View> do it (outside) at the Socrates Sculpture Park

do it (outside) Socrates Sculpture Park 3205 Vernon Boulevard Astoria, NY May 12 to July 7, 2013 Socrates Sculpture Park, in collaboration with Independent Curators International (ICI), presents do it (outside), an exhibition curated by art critic and historian Hans Ulrich Obrist. The exhibition is a selection of 65 artist instructions interpreted by other artists, performers, and the public. The results will be displayed in a site-specific architectural pergola by Christoff : Finio Architecture, a New York based architecture and design studio. do it (outside) connects a diverse group of people who craft remarkable works originally created by internationally acclaimed artists. The outcome ranges from sculptural, to performance-based, to the simply bizarre, and raises questions about and transforming ideas. do it began in Paris 20 years ago as a discussion between Obrist and artists Christian Boltanski and Bertrand Lavier. Each do it exhibition is site-specific and seeks to engage local communities. Adaptations of the progressive exhibition have been conducted in more than 50 locations worldwide. The twentieth-anniversary show will be the first presentation of the exhibition in New York City and the first to be situated completely outside in a public art venue. The opening coincides with the release of do it: the compendium, a publication that provides the instructions from the exhibition, co-published by ICI and D.A.P.

Competition Asks Architects to Create Ideas for a More Resilient Waterfront

Hurricane Sandy not only caused considerable damage to the Rockaways, but it also exposed the vulnerability of New York City’s waterfront communities to future storms and changing weather patterns. Today, the American Institute of Architects New York, along with NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development, L+M Development Partners, Bluestone Organization, Triangle Equities, and Enterprise Community Partners, announced a new design competition for "resilient and sustainable development in the Rockaways." The group called on architects to come up with different strategies for how cities can build more thoughtfully in areas prone to flooding. Following the June 14th deadline for submissions, a jury will preside over the proposals. The jury will announce four finalists in July—each of which will receive a stipend of $30,000 to continue to hone their ideas. The winner will be revealed on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, and will be granted an additional $30,000 for their work. The Rockaways have been the focus of a number of competitions, including MoMA PS 1's EXPO 1: NEW YORK, that asked artists, designers, and architects to submit 3-minute videos that provide ideas for making the Rockaways more sustainable.