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.

Bon Voyage, Memory Container

Roseland

(End Days of The Roseland Ballroom. New York, NY. March 2015. Image by Greg Gordon)

Like a Ghost Ship sailing through the bowels of Manhattan, the lurking hull of Roseland Ballroom awaits its final days. Urban Morphology as a passing moment in time, captured in still. Tomorrow Forgotten.

Memory Containers serve the greater population at large and create lasting imprints which are not visible in photographs, or the naked eye. The act of demolishing memory containers signifies the passage of time and also reminds us of the Impermanence of The City. The Urban Condition is a constantly malleable State, ebbing and flowing with the greater population & economics The Times. Or, perhaps that is just New York?

This Urban Condition, A Memory Container destroyed, paves the way for a new foundation to be cast on its footprint. Another spire soon to rise under The Developers guise.

Countless memories contained within, now scattered like Ghost Ships in The Sea.

Railspotting NYC

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(Williamsburg Bridge Subway Rails, New York. 2007. Image by Flickr User R36 Coach)

An interesting post from our fellow bloggers at Curbed, Nick Benson has compiled an array of photographs of rail systems traversing many Cities across the globe in his Railfan Atlas. Of particular interest to us are the Subway images of NYC across its 5 Boroughs.

Urban geography is defined not only by buildings but by the vast infrastructure connecting people across The City’s terrain. The subway is the lifeblood of New York. The experience is often mired by the difficulties of traveling so close to so many in this large Metropolis. But oftentimes, moments of beauty break through to give pause in The Frenzied City. Enjoy.

Links of Relatable Note can be found Here:

Railfan Atlas (Note: Type in New York on Location Search)

Mapping the Many Photographs of NYC’s Subways from Curbed

Construction Pic : Pile Driving in The City #3

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(Pile Driving on 29th St. New York. Image by Greg Gordon. 2015)

A familiar sight across Our City, the massive machines which drill into Manhattan bedrock and lay the foundations for skyscrapers to come; One of the more poetic (but very loud) phases of the construction project, the drilling of piles sometimes unearths layers of Urban history deep beneath the surface.

Our Construction pic of the day recognizes the intensity and backbreaking Labor of building in New York, one structure at a time, and is a hats off to the countless souls who risk their lives on a daily basis to build The Greatest City. Skyscrapers in The Sky.

Storefront Memories of Old Chelsea Yore

Chelsea 1990's

(The Image of what Old Chelsea Used to Be, always a smile. Late 1900’s)

A popular post which is currently making the rounds; The Death of Chelsea’s 8th Avenue by Kenneth in the 212 chronicles the sudden vacancies of multiple retail storefronts on Chelsea’s 8th Avenue. As a resident working around this area, this event has happened fairly suddenly, as we have seen many Chelsea standby’s close shop or depart because of asshole landlords raising rents other reasons.

These retail shops, clothing stores and coffee shops used to be the gathering spots for Chelsea’s counterculture in the 90’s and Aughts. A formidable playground for the Gay Community. A protected enclave in the bubble of New York.

These storefronts, now vacant, signify the rapid cultural shifts on the Urban Groundplane. Sheer economics, combined with the ease of internet culture has brought many businesses to their knees (One exception: Our friends at Nasty Pig would probably take this as a compliment). So, Kudos to the Old Chelsea establishments whom were able to weather this current storm.

M&S Realty

(The vacated storefront of M&S Realty, 8th Avenue, Chelsea, NY. 2015)

On a personal note, we take keen interest in the death of the M&S Real Estate storefront. Only a few years old, this buildout was completed by the popular Architecture Firm DXA Studio in 2011. For it’s brief tenure along 8th avenue, Its Hi-Tech computer screens lit up The Street like a candlestick, with local pickings’ for Rent and for Sale. The presence of this facade was welcome along a particularly lonely stretch, where it took the place of an empty Blockbuster video store. For this storefront, in summary, there have been 3 vacancies over 5 years. Something clearly is not right with this picture.

The City, as we all know by now, is pricing itself out of reasonable existence. So as not to get too deep, we’ll mention only this: These forces of societal change are making New York into a cultured enclave, mainly for the rich…and inaccessible to the rest. Storefronts like these are a testament to the twisted market forces gripping our Beloved City. Landlords would rather keep these spaces empty, then rent them to the Mom-and-Pop establishments which make an interesting Urbanscape REAL.

So, we’ll end this one on a lighter note. Kudo’s again to The Nasty Pig’s and remaining holdouts of Old Chelsea Yore; the one that remains in many of our memories. Because these memories of The City, the Old New York, are the best ones to keep when you need to pull up a smile.

Links of Relatable Note Can be Found HERE:

Kenneth in the 212

New York Before and After, from Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York

New York’s Disappearing Mom and Pop Storefronts, from Smithsonian Magazine

Urban Artboard : Urban Voids

Urban Voids

(Urban Voids, New York, New York. 2014. Image by Greg Gordon)

Along the streets of The Lower East Side sit vacant lots ready for the developers shovel. Sometimes empty for years, these spaces exist in between the rich historical fabric of the storied New York neighborhood. Once the sites of tenements, housing countless immigrant families and dreams for a better life, these voids now stand as a testament to a form of Urban Impermanence.

The F#ck You Building on the Fringes of Delancey

Cantilevered Condo

(Rendering of the F#ck You Building. New York. By ODA Architecture)

The Urban Critic: Delancey Street, in New York’s Lower East Side, has been known for its rough around the edges aesthetic, and below the radar neighborhood status for the majority of New Yorker’s. Its Far East Side location, at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge, has been kind of a no-man’s land for many decades after the demolition of multiple city blocks in the name of Urban Renewal. Of Note: These demolished city blocks are now under development as the future Essex Crossing, which we critiqued in our prior post A Bait and Switch in The Lower East Side.

Where the Essex Crossing development lacks in clarity across Delancey, this fortress of glass rising across the street (at 100 Norfolk Street) harnesses the current trend of Air Rights Transfers in New York and takes this real estate trick to a new level. By exposing all aspects of building structure and packaging it into a powerful building Form, this cantilevered condo tower takes an aggressive position of iconography in a rapidly changing Lower East Side. In a lot of respects, this position is welcome.

Oftentimes, the softer side of architectural expression takes over with the contribution of community organizations and neighborhood input. Watered down versions of friendly building forms with developer-grade facades becomes the expectation. Since this is the prevailing trend in Our Changing City, the definition of powerful architecture gets lost.

Essex_Main

(The softer side of Architecture, across the street at Essex Crossing)

The Cantilevered building on Delancey falls into the category of a F#ck You building. It positions itself as an “edge” structure, in a fringe neighborhood; Not quite sure of itself, but taking a position by pushing boundaries. Its fragmented form, a building type we’ve highlighted before in Jenga Box Rising, bucks the notion of traditional residential architecture and elevates it into the realm of Fragmented Realism.

And while this notion of fragmentation is oftentimes disturbing to the viewer, provoking feelings of unease and imbalance; It is precisely what society needs in order to keep moving in a progressive direction. The F#ck You building is a provocation, an Urban Experiment. It questions the everyday challenges of living in a complex and mutable city, and solidifies these challenges into a three dimensional Urban Form, soon to rise on the fringes of Delancey.