Friday, March 31, 2006
An aggressive government role in galvanizing the best creative minds is virtually nonexistent in the United States, where political and financial power has shifted to the private realm. ... In New York, the system can foster a poisonous mix of political self-interest and commercial greed, as it did at ground zero.
So the best thing that could happen is for the whole process to get derailed for some period of time while the one person who has no real political agenda beyond looking good for doing the right thing, i.e. Bloomberg and his legacy concern, to step in and impose some common sense at Ground Zero. And it seems that's exactly what's happening.
Photo by Julian Olivas.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
UPDATE: If the map is a little too complex for those of you not following this very closely, check out a commentary by WNYC's Brian Lehrer (hands down, the best host on the radio anywhere, and a New York treasure). He offers five reasons the Yankee Stadium deal should be voted down by City Council next week. Here's just one reason:
The current stadium has no apartment buildings right across the street from it. The new stadium would, both east and west. That's a big hit to the quality of life of the people who live in those buildings, which now face the park. Imagine the outcry if the city proposed doing THAT to the residents of Central Park West.
Leave it to Brian Lehrer to break this all the way down to its essence.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Photo: John Harrington Jr., left, and Casey Kemper of the Collegiate Church Corporation and the original staircase and railing from 1888 by Michael Flaco.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
P.S. The Cube still spins ... all that alcohol appears to have weakened this guy's upper body strength.
Monday, March 27, 2006
Sunday, March 26, 2006
It's 4 a.m. Do You Know Where Your Realtor Is? [New York Times]
Photo Credit: Robert Stolarik for The New York Times
Morning Edition, March 24, 2006 · A secret cache of Cold War-era emergency provisions was recently discovered beneath the Brooklyn Bridge. Engineers inspecting the bridge found the hideaway, meant to help people survive in case of a nuclear attack. The cache includes water drums, medical supplies, blankets, drugs to treat shock and more than 350,000 crackers.I heard this story on NPR last week and didn't see any other coverage, so I assumed I had just missed it. Turns out, the Times and every other New York paper got scooped.
But in keeping with the Timesian tradition, when the paper gets beat on its own turf, it comes out with a smarter, more in-depth piece. Without ever mentioning the words "war on terror" the piece uses Cold War hysteria -- with its bomb shelters and stash of crackers -- to shine a light on the current state of affairs:
"'All civil defense can do is to frighten children and fool the public into thinking there is protection against an H-Bomb,' declared a flier calling for a Civil Defense Protest Day on May 3, 1960, in City Hall Park."
Sounds just like Tom Ridge suggesting that we duct tape the windows.
Credit: Above image from The Onion.
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Last year, 1,200 seals were spotted off Long Island and Connecticut alone. This year, for the first time, the count has included the waters off New York City. Donald E. Moore III, the director of the Prospect Park Zoo ... said he had spotted 26 seals off Orchard Beach in the Bronx last week.
Whoa, the Bronx. Now we're talking gentrification.
Photo credit: Marilynn K. Yee/The New York Times
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
In this article, Shane -- who teaches urban design at Columbia and Cooper Union -- applies the theories he laid out in his book, Recombinant Urbanism: Coneceptual Modeling in Architecture, Uban Design, and City Theory, which I interviewed him about when the book was first published in the fall. Here are some excerpts:
What do you mean by "recombinant" urbanism?
Recombinant comes from genetics. Watson and Crick had a big influence on me. My idea is that through history, urban elements combine and recombine to make something entirely new and unique.
What is the difference between urban planning and design?
My definition, it’s a scale thing. Urban planning is very large scale. Urban design is much more about the fragments. It’s more in tune with the way catalyst development works. People can only assemble so much at one time. It’s more about packaging. Urban design is more pragmatic.
It's a dense book. Can you sum it up?
It starts with the idea that there are basic elements of urban design, one is a centering device, a town square or an atrium. Another is a linear sorting device, a street or a mall. The third one is places of urban change, the recombination of urban elements, or heterotopias as [Michel] Foucault called them.
Your book argues that there’s no such thing as a master planner anymore.
Planners and their dream of a rational scientific world just doesn’t work. The world is an irrational place where strange things happen. In the past, the illusion of planning scientifically was supported by the state and corporate economic planning departments. It was a different world. A lot of the book is about complex interactions and layers of different approaches. People in the past tried to simplify things. Today, in a heterotopia, actors work out their differences and come to some kind of agreement about its future shape.
Progressive urbanists say there’s no good planning in
In certain ways, the
Monday, March 20, 2006
Update: I was informed that the pic I pulled from the Curbed photo pool is not of a North Fork Bank branch, just an advertisement for one. But the question still stands.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Friday, March 10, 2006
According to bird-watchers who have tracked the hawks' behavior for years, Lola has almost certainly laid eggs. If so, it will be six weeks, or perhaps until the end of April, before an unlikely wildlife saga reaches its climax and baby red-tailed hawks are hatched.
Of course, New Yorkers will recall the fight that erupted last year over the hawks' nest, resulting in their eviction by the Fifth Ave. co-op board, which of course resulted in protests. But like tenacious New Yorkers determined to maintain their coveted address, the hawks are back ... and this year, they've already got a ginned-up PR machine that Lizzie Grubman would only dream about.
Sunday, March 05, 2006
A new -- to me -- and rather disturbing detail was revealed: due to security concerns, the perimeter of the PATH station will be solid concrete up to ten feet (though this number was disputed by Mr. Plate). So the two projects that have cleared design development and security review [the other being the
This is just ... I just don't know ... I'm just at a loss for words. Having repeatedly named the planning process at the WTC site "breathtaking inanity," that doesn't accurately depict the magnitude of the tragedy here. Can the worst terrorist attack on American soil be turning into the worst redevelopment disaster this country has ever witnessed ... in slow motion, no less? This can't be happening. And yet it is. Read the whole thing here.
Saturday, March 04, 2006
Your Hidden City, the world's first open-source architectural contest, is only open for submissions for one more week! On March 10, at 5pm, we will close the Flickr pool and the jury will begin deliberating. Check out the full details at our announcement a couple of weeks ago.
If you place your entry right now, you will join
551 556 560 entries from 156 158 160 entrants. The pool is growing. The jury has its work cut out for it already, we hope you will add to the collection. Be sure to include your caption on why this is part of Your Hidden City (posted by Tropolism).
Photo taken in an old Jewish neighborhood in Rome, Italy, posted by ja_mo