Two Tenements, Standing

Greg Gordon:

Two of our favorite buildings we’ve written about were highlighted in the New York Times today, via Artist Hedy Pagremanski who is chronicling Our disappearing New York. You can read more on the article HERE and our original post on the soon to be demolished tenements below:

Originally posted on Gordon's Urban Morphology:

Tenements

(400 & 402 Grand Street, Lower East Side, New York, New York. April 2014)

Old New York. I pass by these buildings every day and imagine what life was like when these sturdy structures contained The Immigrants; Germans, Jews and Irish families crammed within quarters, searching for a better life in The New World, working alongside pushcarts and carriages. These buildings used to have neighbors just like them alongside, although they were wiped away by neglect when this area of Grand fell on hard times. Two Tenements, Standing; embody the American Dream of yesteryear, soon to be relinquished to the wrecking ball of renewal. Ghosts of their prior life, swept away.

The City of Today circulates at a faster rate, a heightened pulse keeping pace with the technologies and societal changes of Time. The City of Today, some say, is losing a core set of values which used to…

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Waterworks Manhattan

Water Tunnel

(New York Water Tunnel #3, Under Construction)

Infrastructure is rarely a topic of notice to the typical City-Goer. It often happens behind the scenes, and unnoticed to the general public.

Not many New Yorker’s know, but many experience on a daily basis, the addition of the New Water Tunnel #3 Viaduct; partially completed and also still under construction under the tangled streets of the City. Providing fresh and potable water to residents, the water Tunnel is designed to supply Greater New York from the Upstate water supply system.

Water Tunnel 3 Map

(Map of the Water Tunnel’s and their connection to Manhattan)

Burrowing deep under the ground, the water tunnel is accessed through vertical shafts intermittently occurring in and around The City. Shown in the picto-graphic below, the scale of both the tunnel and  the access system is enormous, as is its budget at an estimated 6 Billion USD. Considering the span of its construction, nearly 50 years, this puts the price tag in a larger perspective.

city-water-tunnel-4

(Picto-Graphic of the Water Tunnel and its link to Manhattan Buildings) 

Over time, the water tunnel will enhance the quality of life in The City by providing clean water for future generations ahead. It will allow for the shutdowns of New York’s other water tunnels for repair (#’s 1 & 2) which have been in service for much of the previous decade. An investment well made for the Greater New York.

Links of Relatable Note can be found Here:

60 Minutes video on the miners of Tunnel #3.

NYC.GOV weblink to Water Tunnel #3

Wikipedia Link to Water Tunnel #3.

A Gem at The Trade

Night_03_CloseUp

St. Nicholas Church (Rendering), New York, NY. Image by Santiago Calatrava Architects.

Soon to rise above ground, the foundations of The Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, the only religious structure destroyed in the September 11th attacks, have been placed. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, the same architect of the World Trade Center hub, and subject of our prior post “The Serpent of The Trade”  The new church will act as a central beacon looking out across the Trade Center Fountains.

St. Nicholas Church_Inside

(Interior rendering of the New St. Nicholas Church)

Unknown to many visitors and observers of the reconstruction effort, the church has been mired in many stops and starts through its efforts to rebuild. Now though, A Byzantine form is about to ascend at this place which witnessed great destruction. Another symbol of Hope at The Trade; and undoubtedly a new pilgrimage spot for those seeking solace in Our City.

Links of Relatable Note:

A fly through video of the Church’s future reconstruction can be found HERE.

Link to the St. Nicholas National Shrine page can be found HERE.

An article on the design and rebuilding effort from the New York Times can be found HERE.

Murder Alley, Chinatown

Greg Gordon:

One of our favorite and most popular posts from the Past, for the Urban Wanderer:

Originally posted on Gordon's Urban Morphology:

Murder Alley

(Doyers Street, aka “Murder Alley”, Chinatown, New York)

A curious bend in the street at The Lower East Side’s most infamous spot, Murder Alley, lives on in history and in the imagination. If you are visiting The City, this is a place that is not in the tourist books, but perhaps is one of the most quintessentially New York locations. It sparks the wandering travelers’ interest as it is raw, ungentrified (a rare trait in Manhattan these days) and very much a working street for the neighborhood.

Doyers Street has a storied history. It is one of the few which bends in such a tight radius within a short distance. The moniker “Murder Alley” was bestowed upon the place because, in the early Century, this location was ruled by the Chinatown Gangs and the blood flowed freely. Apparently the bend in the street invited questionable activity due to its secrecy…

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New York’s Next Tallest, Climbed

432parkavenue

(The View from 432 Park Avenue, New York, NY 2014. Image by Stephen Farrell)

The New York Times has featured the newest Rich Enclave Addition to our Urban Landscape this week in an article focusing on Building Height. Thin, tall and making an impression, The Rafael Vinoly Tower has proven to be quite a stunner. You can read more about Its Skyline altering views and watch a video from The Pinnacle Here.

Highlighted in a prior post “New York’s Next Tallest, Climbing” , our site continues to seek threads which bind The City and its built environment together.

As a marker of memory, it remains to be seen. For visitors, the vision of a pencil thin obelisk may not be the primary impression people remember, but it may somehow linger in the background. For those of us residing here, The Tower will likely serve as an object for orientation. So despite the elitist nature this structure stands for, it has nonetheless become a symbol of our growing Metropolis. In the corner of one’s eye. The Center of New York.

Archtober in New York

The month of October is “Archtober” with a monthlong series of events for the Urban Wanderer in and around New York City. For a complete listing, you can click HERE. For the calendar of events, you can click HERE. And For a link to the Archtober Blog, you can click HERE. This is the fourth year of Archtober, and it continues to grow. For the Urban Wanderer in The City, it is a wonderful way to explore the treasures of New York, both old and new.

Archtober 2014 Postcard_Page_1_283

Old Gotham Returns

Walker Tower

(The Chelsea Beetle, New York, NY. 2014)

An interesting phenomenon is occurring over the New York skyline; The return of The Old Gothic & Art Deco Style, made popular during the 20’s and 30’s.

Most notable are the new buildings going up at 30 Park Place (By Robert A.M. Stern) and the Gothic Revival addition to Ralph Thomas Walkers’ infamous Verizon Buildings in Manhattan’s Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen neighborhoods. Of the two, The Chelsea Beetle makes a more notable appearance due to it’s height and sizeable addition to his existing structure, crafted in a similar style as the original by the Architecture firm Cetra/CRI Architects.

As an addition, and partial imitation of an existing building, The Chelsea Beetle appears to be a success in an Urban environment which is often littered with cheap copies of style. From a distance (and up close) the details of Art Deco Ornament have been carried forth with careful attention. The Beetle’s top is adorned with a slightly taller Bell Tower, and capped with four tapered antennae, perhaps a nod to the Communications history of the earlier building’s past?

 

photo

(The Chelsea Beetle in profile, New York, NY. Photo by Greg Gordon Canaras. 2014)

Turning South into the Lower Financial District of Manhattan, we see 30 Park Place rising against the skyline. Crafted in a similar Deco Style by the architect Robert A.M Stern, albeit much taller, the tower is meant to evoke visions of Manhattan’s early 20th Century Grandeur; Another imitation which seeks to fulfill a void of sorts. This Void is the lack of quality in The Urban Form, and as quality is subjective, it commonly refers to a level of “appropriateness” as to how a structure serves its inhabitants, and in turn the greater City at large.

30_Park_Place

(30 Park Place by Robert A.M. Stern. Under Construction. New York, NY. 2014)

For some reason, these imitations, much like 15 Central Park West (another Stern Building) evoke a quiet confidence in a New York which is both progressive yet seeks to hold true to its Roots. We love the established buildings which are the Cornerstone’s of The City; The Chrysler Building and The Empire State, similar in style to the time. The Chelsea Beetle and 30 Park Place fulfill a Historical spot in Our City’s collective mind; one which is moving ever so swiftly forward…with a backward glance to The Past.