Hudson River

An Urban Provocation

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(Honeycomb on The Hudson by Heatherwick Studio. Image by Visualhouse, 2016)

At the massive Hudson Yards complex rising on Manhattan’s West Side, the anticipated centerpiece has been unveiled by London’s Heatherwick Studio.

Towering above the newly constructed platform over the railyards, this Honeycomb of sorts, at least through its representative image, draws the public in like a sieve and portends to act as an Urban Filter for the masses. A large scale and walkable sculpture. At once, another New York Icon which prioritizes the Participatory Public (as a subjective experience) over what easily could have been an exercise in objective “Form Making”.

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(The Honeycomb’s Base. Heatherwick Studios. Image by Visualhouse. 2016)

Nodding to The Chicago Bean, another interactive Art Piece (and more an object in its own right), The Honeycomb softens the edge of an oftentimes Caustic City. Placed in the middle of New York’s man made environment; it is an invitation to view and be viewed within, provoking one’s physical and perceptual senses. An Urban Awareness on the grander scale of The City, which continues to transform at an overwhelming pace.

Time Lapse NYC

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(Time Lapse Image of Lower New York, 1779. By Reuben Hernandez)

A video depicts Lower Manhattan’s evolution from a natural habitat to The Center of Urban density in one continuous time lapse. The video, by Reuben Hernandez for The New York Times, captures the spirit of Urban Morphology spanning multiple decades. A landmass undergoes change from its point of settlement to over 500 years later, with buildings appearing and disappearing as the pace of development continues.

This video is the centerpiece animation for the elevator ride to the Skydeck of the One World Trade Center Observatory.

To see the video of New York and its growth, click HERE.

 

Canyons of New York

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(Urban Canyons of New York, Image via ILNY / Skyscraperpage. 2015)

New Brusque City, via Urban Canyons of The rising Westside. Up and around the environs of West 42nd Street, Our Urban landscape is being transformed into a new, and oftentimes unrecognizable, landmass.

Buildings of immense scale and height resting side by side, non-deferential to sunlight or privacy for their inhabitants. This phenomenon of relentless, developer driven construction has picked up pace since the last recession ended here a few years ago. It continues unabated and will continue until this stretch of Manhattan’s Westside becomes one big Urban Canyon. Fast forward to The not-too-distant future: One will be able to rise to the perimeter of these luxury boxes, via sky-elevator, and look down into the shadowy chasms of the streets below.

This particular piece of Manhattan is past the point worth saving for harvesting any meaningful relationship to the human condition. It has transformed into a spectacle unto itself. Might as well keep going and make it complete as New York’s next great tourist attraction. The Grand Canyon of Manhattan. Come here twice a year to watch Manhattanhenge, between the slivers of sky. Come here to race down 42nd Street, where parkland on The Hudson awaits. Come here with a selfie stick, and drop the plastic wrapper which it came in, onto the windswept streets of New Brusque City.

Vintage Stock of NYC

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(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.

The New Whitney : Americana Projected

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(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.

Westside Robot Rises

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(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.

2014 Urban Morphology Round-Up

Thanks to the readers of our blog. Gordon’s Urban Morphology has gained a steady readership month over month and we look forward to bringing more stories about New York’s building culture to our pages in 2015. It looks to be a busy year!

2014 has shaped up to be a very interesting one in New York. As the development cycle heats up across the City, we expect more stories to be told through the changes in our Urban Form, as well as the many personal and cultural stories that go along with this change across The City landscape.

And here is a Round-Up of our most popular posts from 2014, based on user clicks:

Corlears Hook Aerial

Our most popular post of 2014 which garnered the most clicks: Readers took great interest, especially International ones, in Corlears Hook, Forgotten Corner of The Lower East Side.


Murder Alley

Another popular post which drew International readers took us deep into the heart of Murder Alley, Chinatown.


Tenements

Two Tenements, Standing dove deeper into the meaning of The Tenement in society, before the wrecking ball comes for the Upcoming Essex Crossing Development in New York’s Lower East Side.


LES People

And continuing in The Lower East Side, our blog took personal interest in a New York Times article about life in Coop Villge, and wondered about the meaning of living in a NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community) in Our Lower, Lower East Side.


Domino Demolition

Across the East River, we watched the demolition of the Domino Sugar Factory to clear the way for a new housing development in Domino Sugar, Down. This trend toward larger and more significant development on the Brooklyn waterfront continues the gentrification wave sweeping across The City.


Serpant

And at The World Trade Center site, many of us watched in awe as Santiago Calatrava’s new transit hub rose from the ground. It’s alien form has made it an instant landmark. Our take on the building’s appearance was written about in The Serpent of The Trade.


Beast 1

We were sensing that the gentrification wave has gone too far and has left our new buildings lacking personality in one of our favorite posts, Beasts of The West Side.


One-World-master675

And back at The Trade Center We felt that The New York Times review of One World Trade was a bit one dimensional, considering it is a National Symbol. Our impression of The Times article struck a few chords with readers in A Flawed Review of A National Symbol.


 So, there you have our year’s top posts. Thanks again for your readership and we’ll see you in 2015. Happy New Year from Gordon’s Urban Morphology!