Posts tagged with "Williamsburg":

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NYC announces expanded Citi Bike service and new busway for L train shutdown

New York City's dreaded L train shutdown looms ever closer, set to begin in April 2019. In the past week, however, new details have emerged about the city’s plan for Citi Bike and buses, transportation alternatives that riders will flock to once the train no longer runs from Bedford Avenue to 14th Street/8th Avenue in Manhattan. In an effort to accommodate the estimated 225,000 riders that will be displaced from the train, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced earlier this week that Citi Bike will expand its service around Williamsburg and Manhattan between Canal and 59th Streets. There will be an additional 1,250 bikes and 2,500 docks. Citi Bike’s operator, Motivate, is also planning to introduce a temporary “Shuttle Service,” which will come in the form of pedal-assist electric bikes. They will only be available in four locations—two in Manhattan and two around the Williamsburg Bridge—where cyclists may require a small boost to help navigate the steep slope. Citi Bikes can only handle a limited amount of the offload of L train riders, however. Most of the brunt is expected to divert to alternative subway lines like the J/M/Z, and surface travel: buses. In a separate announcement on Monday, the city Department of Transportation (DOT) revealed plans to turn 14th Street into a “busway” for 17 hours a day as an alternative commuting plan, as first reported by NY Daily News. Car traffic will be limited from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. DOT also revised its bike path plan—there will also now be two one-way bike paths on 12th and 13th Streets to handle the anticipated increase in cyclist traffic. “We’re solving, hopefully, the local mobility and access challenge while discouraging through traffic on 14th St.,” Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said in the Daily News. Following the dedicated busway announcement, DOT presented their proposed plans to the City Council Committee on Transportation, revealing four “short, intense routes” that are expected to carry 17 percent of L train riders, as reported in am New York. The routes include: Grand Street (Brooklyn) – First Avenue/15th Street (Manhattan); Grand Street (Brooklyn) – SoHo; Bedford Avenue (Brooklyn) – Soho; Bedford Avenue (Brooklyn) – First Avenue/15th street (Manhattan). The MTA is also adding five trains to the M line, making G and C trains longer, and offering increased E line service. The L train shutdown will be taking place for 15 months, where the Canarsie Tunnel under the East River will undergo infrastructure repairs necessitated after flooding by Hurricane Sandy.  
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Brooklyn artist Leigh Ruple creates moody paintings of Williamsburg

The mundane moments of Williamsburg trespass on Leigh Ruple’s canvases. The Brooklyn-based artist’s works are inspired by her daily life, featuring stylized, temperamental depictions of objects and figures abstracted within an array colors and forms. Her studio is located in East Williamsburg, allowing her to observe the architecture and people within the thriving neighborhood, and the geometries and patterns of the district’s local architecture have become motifs of her paintings. Her work also explores the city’s nightscape, with changing highlights and shadows. In a painting titled Nightstand, the Manhattan skyline is backlit by moonlight, while an assortment of prosaic objects including kitchen gloves, a pair of scissors, and a trimmed plant occupies the foreground, hinting at the inner life of an unseen subject. In Red Door, a bare-chested man sitting on an inverted tin bucket paints a fence door from blue to red; the red light shining from behind the fence illuminates parts of the man’s torso. The placid scene is dramatized with contrasting tones, hues, and lighting effects. Ruple is an expert in conveying moods through colors and composition. In Healthful, the ordinary scene of shopping for apples is exaggerated with backlit lighting and a heightened exaggeration of a mainly red-and-blue palette. The face of the shopper is tinted with magenta, the same shade as the apples in the basket. Ruple continues to draw references from New York’s cityscape and frequently captures the sidewalks, lampposts, animals, and plants with her paintbrush. In many paintings, a main figure takes center stage, often with blank and indifferent expressions; a reference to the solitude and loneliness of living in a bustling city like New York. Leigh Ruple’s most recent exhibition was at the Morgan Lehman Gallery.
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Van Alen Institute’s spring festival focuses on getting around New York City

New York City subways and buses serve eight million riders per weekday. However, the transit system that many New Yorkers rely on encounters frequent delays and suspensions. As a response, New York-based Van Alen Institute will bring together city planners and participants to imagine new approaches towards seeing, navigating, and moving through the urban environment, with a series of events ranging from bus and bike tours to a flash design competition, from June 17 to June 23. The Van Alen-organized spring festival, "FLOW! Getting Around the Changing City" seeks to rethink the consequences of the 15-month-long L-train shutdown, among other transit issues in New York City. They will host “The Williamsburg Challenge,” where participants will test out what it’s like to travel from Union Square to Williamsburg without using the L train. The institute has also invited professional teams to propose creative solutions to solve the over-ground congestion created by the L train shutdown, in a one-night-only design competition. On June 20, AN’s very own Assistant Editor Jonathan Hilburg will moderate the talk, “Mind the Gap: Improving Urban Mobility through Science and Design." Participants include author Susan Magsamen, Perkins + Wills Associate Principal Gerald Tierney, Gehl Studio Associate Julia Day, and Multimer Strategy Associate Taylor Nakagawa. Other events include an East Village-to-Harlem bus tour led by sociologist and author Garnette Cadogan, a four-hour Brooklyn bicycle tour, a screening of the William Holly Whyte-produced The Social Life of Small Urban Space, and an interactive Urban Mobility Variety Show at Figment NYC featuring dance, music and other performances. Check out this link for a full schedule and tickets.
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It looks like the MTA system can’t handle the L train shutdown

For the estimated 24,100 New Yorkers who cross between Manhattan and Brooklyn on the L train every hour, 2019 is not looking so good. After being pushed back year after year, the 15-month L train shutdown to allow for repairs to the Canarsie Tunnel for Hurricane Sandy-related damage is finally happening next April. The city is hoping that riders will use alternative subway connections, or even alternatives to the subway, and is implementing changes across the subway system as well as establishing new shuttle bus routes and usage restrictions on the Williamsburg Bridge and 14th Street. At a May 16th town hall meeting in Williamsburg, according to The Village Voice, city and MTA officials were reluctant to reveal how many more trains can cross the Williamsburg Bridge on the J/M/Z lines, one of the proposed solutions for displaced L train commuters. But the answer eventually came: 24 trains an hour—in a best-case scenario. This number is just three trains over current capacity. A large part of the issue is due to the fact that the tracks feature S-curves on both sides of the bridge, which requires trains to slow down significantly to safely make the turns without derailing. The MTA is adding and reducing trains at other points in the system in an attempt to alleviate some of the problems for L-train commuters. Even still, this leads to a net reduction of capacity by 12.5 train cars, or 25,000 riders per hour, according to The Village Voice. This also means that beyond longer treks and numerous transfers, waits on platforms to get on packed trains may become even worse. There are currently plans to restrict travel on the Williamsburg Bridge to buses, trucks, and carpools and to restrict 14th Street to buses and local deliveries during peak hours, but borough politicians say this isn’t enough, and that restrictions to bus service and high occupancy vehicles needs to go beyond peak hours during the L train shutdown and call on the city to develop a 24-hour plan. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer sent a letter on Monday to Mayor Bill de Blasio calling on the city to provide 24-hour busway alternatives. As Adams and Brewer point out, they represent 24/7 communities and stated, “If we hope to persuade New Yorkers to continue to rely on public transit while the L train tunnel is closed, we must provide shuttle bus service that is seamless, efficient and reliable whenever our constituents need to ride.” The mayor has thus far opposed a 24-hour busway in favor of restrictions and shuttles for yet-to-be-defined peak hours. Many residents are divided on the issue. Regardless, as the shutdown rapidly approaches, the city must finalize a 24-hour plan to deal with the significant blow the loss of the L train will deal to commuters.
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Archtober Building of the Day #26: The William Vale Hotel

This story is part of a monthlong series of guests posts by AIA New York that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours. See the full 2017 schedule here. On Halloween, we dressed as astronauts and boarded the space ship that has landed in McCarren Park – the William Vale Hotel. The hotel, designed by Albo Liberis, sits adjacent to McCarren Park, two blocks from the Williamsburg waterfront. The 20-story structure stands out in the Williamsburg skyline, where the building stock is primarily made up of four- to six-story buildings. Nick Liberis of Albo Liberis, and Amy, Lindsay, and David from the William Vale Hotel, led us on a tour highlighting the hotel’s urban features, event spaces, and retail spaces. The William Vale Hotel, which opened on September 2, 2016, sits on a 50,000-square-foot site that is sloped seven feet from one side of the site to the other. The hotel is made up of three buildings; there are two short buildings on the east and west ends of the site and a tower that springs from the middle. The tower contains six stories of office space and ten stories of hotel rooms. A large sculptural truss acts as the base of the tower. The truss is made up of five pieces – four legs and one center truss – which land on a massive beam at the base of the site. This six-story truss base, currently used as office space, allows for spectacular views for the ten stories of hotel rooms above. Due to a zoning quirk that allowed for the building of smoke stacks, the designers could max out the height of the building. The downstairs event spaces, including the conference center and ballroom, are submerged in the cellar on the south side of the building, allowing for 27-foot-high ceilings. Interiors were designed by Studio Munge, a Toronto-based interior design firm. Studio Munge and Albo Liberis worked closely together to create a contemporary line motif based on the large truss that the buildings rest on. This design is carried throughout the building and can be seen in the ballroom, hotel rooms, and public spaces. Studio Munge and Albo Liberis also worked carefully to source materials for each individual space. Another benefit of the set-back, raised structure is the creation of an expansive urban green space below. Albo Liberis wanted to integrate the building with the urban fabric by creating a courtyard and lawn that would blend seamlessly with the neighborhood. At street level, the retail storefronts read as the same height as the buildings that surround the hotel. One flight up, the public can enjoy rolling green hills and food from Mister Dips, an airstream parked on the roof, owned by Andrew Carmellini. Carmelini directs the entire food program at the hotel, including the restaurant on the ground floor, Leuca, and Westlight, the rooftop bar and restaurant. Liberis and the William Vale Hotel team also led us to the very top of the hotel, a private event space on the roof. As the tallest building in the surrounding area, the views are amazing. Author: Katie Mullen.
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Archtober Building of the Day #16: Carroll House

This story is part of a monthlong series of guests posts by AIA New York that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours. See the full 2017 schedule here.

With its cross-cut profile and tiny vertical slivers for windows, the Carroll House might appear to be an up-and-coming studio space in Williamsburg. Neighbors walk by, staring, and some pause to take photos. Inside, however, is an industrial-chic home for a family of four.

We were joined on our Archtober Building of the Day tour today by Virginie Stolz, project manager at LOT-EK–the firm behind the building's design–alongside the home's owners Joe and Kim Carroll. Built on a 25-by-100-foot site, this standard Brooklyn residential lot is almost tailor-made for shipping container construction, with three eight-foot-wide containers making up the short side of the structure. Comprised of 15 shipping containers in total, this 5,000-square-foot home took four years and many conversations with the NYC Department of Buildings to complete.

According to Joe Carroll, LOT-EK originally planned to strip the shipping containers and let them rust naturally. However, due to code requirements, the design team and homeowners landed on the building’s ruddy brown color, which balances edgy design with the rest of the neighborhood. The details of the long shipping containers were kept intact. The bright yellow twist locks that connect containers on maritime voyages are welded in place.

The 15 containers went up in three days. Originally, LOT-EK wanted to build the house out of pre-fabricated pieces, but due to city code requirements the architects had to rethink the construction process. HVAC and electrical systems were threaded throughout the structure after the containers went up. Surprisingly, the floor of all shipping containers, industry-wide, are made of wood. For this project, LOT-EK chose to keep the original floors. A steep interior stair spans the middle container, maximizing the floor space on each level. An exterior stair snakes up the entire terrace structure at the back.

While the house appears dark and solid from the outside, the interior is quite bright. The containers are sliced at an angle, with floor-to-ceiling glass doors, opening the back of the house to direct sunlight. Solar panels will be installed between the upper terraces, taking advantage of the direct sunlight.

The Carroll family moved into their home in November 2016, and since then, they say passersby and the occasional film scout regularly ring their doorbell to a get glimpse inside the unusual home.

Author: Kelly Felsberg
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Fogarty Finger unveils 22-story tower next to historic Dimes Bank in Brooklyn

New York–based architecture firm Fogarty Finger along with developers Charney Construction & Development, 1 Oak Contracting, and Tavros Capital Partners, unveiled its latest project: a new 22-story mixed-use tower integrated with the historic Dimes Saving Bank of Williamsburg in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The site, nicknamed “The Dime,” involves a 342,451-square-foot building at 263 South 5th Street, with over 100,000 square feet dedicated solely to office space, 50,000 square feet of retail, and 177 rental apartments. The project is aimed towards the increasing number of office tenants in the area and features an open-plan space with large floor plates. The building's streamlined aesthetic with ribbon windows and rounded corners is a nod to art moderne architecture, particularly Frank Lloyd Wright’s Johnson Wax building and New York’s Starrett–Light building, according to the architects. The facade will be clad in white terra cotta tiles in reference to the neo-classical bank, which will also be undergoing a renovation. “It was tying back to the bank building, but the idea that the bank building and what we were using for the new building are materials that were used at the same time,” Chris Fogarty, a partner at Fogarty Finger, said to Commercial Observer. The restoration of the 16,700-square-foot bank will involve revitalizing existing columns and maximizing natural lighting by replacing the current skylight. The plan is to let the old Dime bank become a flexible commercial area, with spaces for a showroom, an office lobby for tenants, or stand-alone retail. The project’s strategic location, which is close to the Marcy Avenue J/M/Z stop, offers commuters a solution to the upcoming L train shutdown, according to the architects. “The Dime building will create the perfect gateway to Brooklyn, welcoming inhabitants at the crossroads of the bridge, the BQE, and the elevated train tracks, creating an iconographic project that merges the past and future of the city,” the firm said in a press release. Construction is expected to begin in June 2017 and finish by 2019.
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New images released of Domino Sugar site public waterfront park

Today, real estate development firm Two Trees Management released new images of the James Corner Field Operations (JCFO)–designed Domino Park, which will line the waterfront of the 11-acre Domino Sugar redevelopment site in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In its press release, Two Trees confirmed that the park is on track to open in the summer of 2018, as per its original estimates. “By opening Domino Park in its entirety next summer—ahead of the site’s new waterfront buildings—we are delivering on our commitment to bring waterfront access and much-needed public park space to North Brooklyn,” said Two Trees principal Jed Walentas in the press release. “Weaving in industrial remnants of the factory, Domino Park will serve as a living, breathing reminder of the history of this storied neighborhood.” As part of its design, JCFO preserved 21 columns from the site's Raw Sugar Warehouse, 585 linear feet of crane tracks, and 30 other "industrial artifacts" that will be used in the park. This includes "36-feet tall cylindrical tanks that collected syrup during the refining process, mooring bollards, bucket elevators, and various dials and meters from the factory." JCFO is extending River Street to run the length of the park, all the way from Grand Street to S. 5th Street at the base of the Williamsburg bridge. The aforementioned artifacts (including two 80-foot-tall cranes) will feature prominently in the aptly-named "Artifact Walk," a five-block stretch that includes a "450-foot-long elevated walkway" inspired by the catwalks of the old sugar factory. When complete, the Domino Sugar project—whose campus is being designed by SHoP Architects—will feature 380,000 square feet of offices and 2,800 rental apartments (700 of which will be affordable) across four buildings. The landmarked Domino Sugar Refinery building, designed by the Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism and Beyer Blinder Belle, will retain its facade and host the offices. 325 Kent will be the first residential tower to open, in June 2017
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NYC acquires last parcel needed for new Bushwick Inlet Park

8Yesterday, Mayor de Blasio announced that New York City had acquired, for $160 million, a large parcel needed to create the new Bushwick Inlet Park, located on the East River shoreline of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The parcel in question is the 11-acre CitiStorage storage facility, which was ravaged by a seven-alarm fire back in 2015. The site's owner had been demanding up to $250 million for the land, and there were rumors the city would use eminent domain, though that appears to not have happened. “Today’s acquisition is proof positive that we keep our promises,” said Mayor de Blasio in a press release. “We are one step closer to realizing the vision of the completed Bushwick Inlet Park North Brooklyn deserves.” “On a per capita basis, Brooklyn Community Board 1 has one of the city’s lowest ratios of open space," said Brooklyn Community Board 1 Chair Dealice Fuller, also in a press release. "Since the 2005 rezoning our community has added tens of thousands of new residents, but the creation of new open space has not kept pace with the influx of new people. We are highly pleased that the Administration finally lived up to its promises and acquired the parcels that comprised the CitiStorage site. With the NYC Parks now leading the charge, we can begin moving forward to make this park a true reality.” This final parcel is just one of six that will go into the new 27-acre park; 3.5 acres are already finished and open to the public. The already-completed section, designed by Brooklyn-based Kiss + Cathcart, features a multi-purpose sports field, viewing platform, and community activities building, in addition to other amenities. Many ideas have been floated for the new park's design, including a "Maker Park" that would make sure of derelict industrial facilities near the inlet, though the City and NYC Parks have not released final plans. Four other parcels are currently in various stages of environmental remediation and development; the CitiStorage site must also go through a similar evaluation and remediation process. Once such an evaluation is complete, the City said in a press release, it will formulate a timeline for development. (The article's first image was taken from a 2005 Greenpoint – Williamsburg master plan created by Mayor Bloomberg's administration.)
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Construction worker falls and dies at former Domino Sugar Factory site

At 8 a.m. this morning, a construction worker fell two stories from scaffolding on the Domino Sugar factory site, 335 Kent Avenue, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, near the Williamsburg Bridge. The former factory is currently being converted into affordable housing backed by New York City and designed by SHoP Architects with developer Two Trees Management. "We are overwhelmed with grief by this tragic accident and extend our deepest condolences to his family, loved ones and colleagues," a representative of Two Trees said in a statement. "All work has stopped on the site and we are working closely with the city to determine the cause of the accident." The Domino Sugar factory site is an open worksite, although union workers have performed specialty tasks onsite. This is the 11th construction worker death in the city this year according to the Department of Building. The majority of the construction worker deaths that took place last year were also on non-union worksites. The City Council is currently working on new legislation that would make worksites safer and the process of reporting injuries and fatalities more accurate. Now, a special session regarding this legislation has been called before the year’s end. Slated to open in 2018, the Domino Sugar Factory building will have a total of 500 apartments, 105 of which will be affordable units. The redevelopment will be a total of 600,000 square feet and will also include office space, ground-floor retail, terraces, and an open plaza, as well as access to the waterfront, a new five plus acre park designed by James Corner Field Operations, and a new ferry landing. The former factory is an exterior landmark, so the 19th-century redbrick facade will remain unchanged. However, new “industrial luxury” amenities will be used throughout such as exposed brick, ceiling beams, will define the interior spaces.
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Revamped McCarren Park Skatepark opens in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

The redesigned McCarren Park Skatepark in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, opened June 21, just in time for the official annual holiday known as Go Skateboarding Day. The skatepark was originally constructed behind the massive McCarren Park Pool, which itself reopened in 2012 after a $50 million renovation. The pool was one of 11 built in the summer of 1936 by Works Progress Administration laborers under Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and Robert Moses.

The skatepark was designed and constructed within its original footprint by California Skateparks. The company is responsible for many of the city’s most popular skating venues, including the ones at Pier 62, in Tribeca, and underneath the Manhattan Bridge on the Lower East Side.

The redesign adds poured concrete ramps and quarter pipes, and also replaces the existing rails and benches. A key to a successful skatepark design is the ability for skaters to naturally create a “line” between objects for a succession of tricks. The designers collaborated with both professional skateboarders and members of the community, who have been using the park since its initial opening in 2009.

Nike Skateboarding funded the $315,000 for design and construction and threw a block party to celebrate the opening. “The revamped McCarren skatepark is an exciting new addition to this magnificent, busy park,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver in a statement. McCarren Skatepark Bayard and Lorimer Streets, Brooklyn, NY Designer: California Skateparks

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All the toxic sites in two of Brooklyn’s most expensive neighborhoods, mapped

On a Jane's Walk tour of the Williamsburg-Greenpoint industrial waterfront last year, our guide gestured to the luxury-high rises that have sprouted from former industrial areas along Kent Avenue in recent years. "See those buildings? See all the strollers? EVERY SINGLE ONE of their kids is exposed to TOXIC POISON." Though the North Brooklyn neighborhoods are now known for servicing the lifestyle needs of bourgeois bohemians, the cold-press juice shops and midi-ring purveyors are, a new map confirms, laid on a foundation of seriously toxic earth. Yesterday Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG) launched their ToxiCity Map, an interactive tool that shows how environmental risks correlate with the neighborhoods' population density, average income, and health outcomes. NAG advocates for policies that promote "healthy mixed-use communities," works with Williamsburg and Greenpoint residents to access the waterfront, and partners with citizens and businesses to reduce area environmental threats. The map was created with the help of a NYS Department of Environmental Conservation grant in partnership with Pratt Institute's Spatial Analysis and Visualization Initiative (SAVI). The ToxiCity Map lets users pinpoint environmental hazards and gives an idea of how specific hazards could impact a given neighborhood zip code. Waste transfer stations, scrap metal and recycling sorting facilities, for example, are all sites which divert materials from the waste stream but are often surrounded by idling materials delivery trucks that degrade air quality. The location of these facilities can be overlaid onto district asthma rates: The map suggests that the number of waste transfer stations is positively correlated with higher rates of asthma. On the toxic waste side, the map features fine-grained explanations of the difference between, say, highly regulated sites versus "E" designated sites, or spills versus brownfields versus Superfund sites. Handily, the map links to the group's industrial history walking tour, the same one this reporter took last year.