Vintage Stock of NYC

Vintage Stock_Williamsburg

(Construction of The Williamsburg Bridge, New York, 1903. Image by Ewing Galloway)

For all the mapping fans, and the historical photo fans of New York’s History: The New York Public Library has released an interactive photo map highlighting numerous locations across The City. For a fun historical tour of many familiar and some long gone places, you can click HERE.

It’s the Vintage Stock of NYC.

Imagination City

VISUALHOUSE NEW YORK 2030

VISUALHOUSE NEW YORK 2030

(The 2030 Manhattan Skyline envisioned by Visualhouse. New York, NY. 2015)

A compelling image has been released by Manhattan architectural graphics company Visualhouse, depicting the Manhattan skyline as it will appear with all of the planned and to-be-built towers coming down the pipeline. Mesmerizing yet also familiar; The pictorial takes into account all of the “Supertalls” planned for the West 57th Street corridor, as well as the Massive Hudson Yards complex rising above the Westside rail yard.

Mesmerizing yet also familiar. The fascination with the everchanging skyline (this blog included) encapsulates the capacity for imagination and wonderment. Perhaps it is Awe in the collective constructive achievements of Mankind? Individual feats, brought together by teamwork and assembled into a massive agglomeration? This agglomeration creates that feeling of the familiar and is a nod to a form of Expectation: The Gestalt of New York.

Manhattan 2030 really is not that much different from Manhattan 2015, 2000, or 1975 for that matter. Differing socio-economic and geo-political circumstances aside, The City just grows and multiplies based on the prevailing forces of Market Capitalism. The seemingly familiar driver behind The Mesmerizing.

Step back within any of those eras, and The Skyline consistently captivates. It has, and always will remain a symbol of Destiny Density; of a collective will-to-improve. The Skyline also serves the memory as a Projection of Dreams, where people cast their own visions onto that familiar skyline, constantly changing in the blink of an eye.

Links of Relatable note can be found Here:

Visualhouse, a unique Manhattan architecture and urbanism branding company.

Imagining the Megatower Filled Manhattan Skyline of 2030, from Curbed New York.

The Housing Authority Rules

 

NYCHA

(The Baruch Houses in New York’s Lower East Side. 2015. Image by Greg Gordon)

The Urban Critic: This week Mayor Bill De Blasio announced an overhaul of the 10 year plan for the New York City Housing Authority’s cash and building infrastructure crisis. The specifics of this plan can be sourced (HERE) for the reader to gain an overall knowledge, but here at our blog, we are particularly interested in one aspect of this proposal: The leasing of land located in Public Housing developments for the construction of new housing which will target lower to middle income residents.

This plan, in all respects, is a good one with solid backing and is well intended. The strategy would call for the construction of new residential buildings in-between existing (but decrepit) public housing towers. In theory, adding new housing to a City which desperately needs it can only be a net positive. The flaw in this approach is the lack of a solution for all of the existing housing which is in complete disrepair.

Asbestos laden, mold infested and with crumbling infrastructure; These buildings built during the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s deserve to be a part of this overall masterplan. Namely, they should be systematically removed and demolished as new housing is built. In turn, residents of these aging structures should be moved, building by building, into these newly constructed housing blocks in order to avoid societal displacement.

photo

(An older image of the Lower East Side in transformation, sometime during the 1950’s)

Existing NYCHA buildings are a monetary drain on The City and its resources. The cost to maintain and upgrade is prohibitive and in many ways the new plan underserves the residents of existing NYCHA buildings by granting housing to those on a backlog instead of improving the lives of current tenants.

We argue that both can be done in simultaneous fashion. The City can construct twice the amount of new building stock adjacent to the existing housing (there is plenty of space), then move the residents of these buildings into them once they are finished. There would also be a surplus of new housing for population waiting in the lottery. It could be a win-win.

The point being is that part of the plan should address the third world living conditions currently existing, and not just kick this issue down the road. In order to improve on The Urban Condition from society’s standpoint, improved housing should be a right for ALL.

You can read more on Mayor De Blasio’s plan HERE from the New York Observer.

The State of Two New York’s

The destruction of Penn Station seen March 14, 1966. CR: Sam Falk/The NYT

The destruction of Penn Station seen March 14, 1966.
CR: Sam Falk/The NYT

(The fall of Penn Station, initiating the preservation movement in New York, 1966)

An interesting interview this week in New York Magazine between two dueling camps of the preservation and development fronts in New York City. On the one side is Jeremiah Moss, writer of Vanishing New York, and a fierce protectionist of all things “Old” New York. He fights for the establishment culture and mom and pop shops (for good reason) which are being obliterated by the massive rent hikes kicking well intended tenants out of our everyday storefronts.

On the other side is Nikolai Fedak, creator of New York Yimby, an oftentimes mis-aligned, but well intended blog highlighting all of the massive development which is displacing the establishment culture of New York. All in the name of Change.

Two interesting perspectives, and two very different viewpoints on what Change means for Our City, and the future it is headed.

You can read the article from New York Magazine, and form your opinion, HERE.

The New Whitney : Americana Projected

Whitney_Ed Lederman

(The New Whitney, An American Projection, New York, NY. 2015. Image by Ed Lederman)

The New Whitney, in Manhattan’s West Side / Meatpacking District is set to open on May 1st, and already the reviews are rolling in. So, in a spirit to look past those reviews (some good, some not so good) Our blog celebrates the transformative nature that such a structure brings to a once derelict part of The City. Aesthetics aside, a new museum, any new museum only serves to add as a cultural anchor in the placemaking structure of a Metropolis.

Oftentimes, critics jump at the chance to take shots at what many perceive as a positive force, or in the particularities of a buildings aesthetic nature. While valid as criticism, these gestures often miss the mark of true intention.

People must remember, when reading criticism, that buildings take many years to formulate through ideas and ultimately the execution by thousands of people. Involving multiple hands in the act of construction, they serve as monuments of inspiration not only for ART people, but for everyday people; The Union people and the Industry of Craft.

So, as the criticism of this particular building gets solidified by the arbiters of Architectural taste (mind you they oftentimes write about buildings, but do not actually build them), remember as you read, that this particular emblem is foremost a celebration of the American Spirit. Muscular in true intention. The opening of this emblem is a projection, both inward and outward, of the Everyday People. It almost serves to defy criticism by merely existing.

A link to The Whitney’s descriptive video on the building can be found HERE.

A pragmatic take and cool video on The Museum, not necessarily criticism, from the New York Times can be found HERE.

Market Down

Essex Demo

(View of the Old Essex Market Demolition, New York, NY. 2015. Image by Greg Gordon)

The time has finally come for the transformation of the Empty Void of the Lower East Side. Demolition Porn at its best. Buildings in their half state.

In this image, we see the remains of the Old (abandoned) Essex Market building coming down to make way for the first “Gateway” structure of the Essex Crossing Development. You can read more on our opinion on this replacement complex HERE, but we won’t digress.

Back to the shot. Every once in a while, a building comes down and reveals a bit of character in the process. Sometimes it may be a room revealed with contents still in place, say when a facade is shorn from a building. In this case, a parting dose of color pops out behind what was once a rather unassuming brick wall. The structure revealed, soon to be dismantled by the Local Ironworkers.

Westside Robot Rises

Hudson Yards 1

(Westside Robot on 30th St. New York. March 2015. Image by Greg Gordon)

Construction Pic of the Day: The Westside Robot Rises. An image pulled seemingly from another world. Legs straddling precariously over the Highline; Antennae pointed skyward. The Westside continues to grow upward and outward.

This image of The City captures the fast pace of Change enveloping Manhattan. Dizzying to keep track of all of the new development sprouting around, sometimes uncomfortably so. It appears that The City is constantly under construction, roads and all. Never settled. Never static.

Westside Robot symbolizes the constant remaking of our Urban Identity. An object-to-be unto itself; It struggles against the grain and the population at large, adding congestion to an already congested Metropolis. Flip side: The beginnings of this new neighborhood brings a level of optimism to a place which was cast to the wayside. The Westside Railyards.

Westside Robot symbolizes the quest for Urban balance. Sometimes welcomed, sometimes shunned, but ultimately accepted in its place. It will solidify itself as a marker in the Urban Landscape, and someday seem as if it were always there.

Links of Relatable Note Can be Found Here:

High Line Promenade, from Gordon’s Urban Morphology, with first views of Westside Robot under construction.

Platforms, Above and Beyond. An earlier post about the massive construction platform supporting Hudson Yards and Westside Robot.