All posts by Diane Pham

Diane is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn, NY. After graduating from the University of Southern California with a B.S. in Real Estate Finance & Development and a minor in Architecture, she enjoyed stints at SCI-Arc, the A+D Museum Los Angeles, Perkins Eastman Architects and Resolution 4: Architecture. She also previously served as Senior Editor of Inhabitat.com and spent several years as an analyst at CB Richard Ellis Investments in Milan, Italy.

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apartment living 101, City Living, Features

types of air-purifying and air-cleaning plants

Our ongoing series Apartment Living 101 is aimed at helping New Yorkers navigate the challenges of creating a happy home in the big city. Previously, 6sqft rounded up a list of 10 nearly indestructible plants that are ideal for apartment dwellers with black thumbs. Now, we’re taking a look at plants that are powerhouses when it comes to cleaning indoor air.

Outdoor air quality is a concern for all, but few of us consider the airborne pollutants that have infiltrated our homes. Toxins from carpet, paint, upholstery and cleaning products are just a handful of modern-day products that can degrade indoor air quality, and studies have shown too much exposure to these manmade elements can cause lung and respiratory issues over the long run. Luckily, there are a number of houseplants that moonlight as efficient purifiers. Ahead you’ll find 15 of the best air-purifying plants suited for apartment living, according to Dr. B.C. Wolverton, a scientist who worked with NASA to develop a breathable environment for long-term lunar habitation.

15 plants to help keep indoor air its purest

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Features, More Top Stories, Queens, The urban lens

leandro viana, sherpas nyc

6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Leandro Viana presents his ‘Sherpas’ project, a series centered on the Sherpa community of Elmhurst, Queens. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

Queens is the second-most populous borough in New York City with well over two million inhabitants. Queens is also New York City’s most diverse borough, boasting a population that is nearly 50 percent foreign-born with individuals hailing from over 100 different countries. In all, there are around 500 different languages spoken, some of which can be traced back to the most remote corners of the world. And within this cornucopia of culture are the Sherpa people.

While the word Sherpa for many will recall scenes of mountaineers scaling the snowy peaks of the Himalayas, in recent years, more and more Sherpas have planted their flags in the much more level neighborhood of Elmhurst, Queens. Indeed, today there are nearly 3,000 Sherpas living in New York City, making for the largest population outside of South Asia. Ahead, Brooklyn photographer Leandro Viana shares his series documenting this unique group in their new land, spotlighting their efforts to preserve their language, religion, culture, and arts so far from home.

See more from Leandro’s series here

City Living, Landscape Architecture

In 2007, officials launched MillionTreesNYC, an initiative with the aim of greening New York City through the planting and care of one million trees. While the city surpassed its goal in 2015, planting 1,017,634 trees by the year’s end, efforts to increase leafy canopy coverage across the five boroughs has not wavered since. With that said, if you’re a New Yorker who feels that your street could use a bit more greenery (ahemSean Lennon), getting a tree planted on your block is much easier than you may think. By simply filling out a request with the New York Parks Department, you can get a tree planted, for free, so long as the plot you have in mind is suitable for planting.

find out more details here

Design, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design

statue of liberty

A gift to perhaps the greatest woman in New York City, it was revealed on Wednesday that the Statue of Liberty will be receiving a $4.58 million facelift. The Post had the details on the plans which were approved by The National Park Service (NPS) earlier this week. The overhaul is expected to include the planting of 46 salt-tolerant trees, repairs to the statue’s granite pavers, and the installation of about 1,650-feet of stainless steel fencing and new gates around Lady Liberty’s base.

more details here

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Features, Hotels, New Developments

Eero Saarinen, JFK Airport, MCR development, Mid-century Modern, Neo-Futurist, TWA Terminal

The excitement was palpable yesterday evening as New Yorkers packed into the SVA Theatre for a special presentation on one of the city’s most important rehabilitation projects: the redevelopment of Eero Saarinen’s iconic TWA flight center into a hotel. Taking the stage were the development and architecture teams who divulged a slew of new details regarding the design, the hotel’s offer, and even the pricing of the rooms.

more details from the night’s event here

condos, Landmarks Preservation Commission, Midtown, New Developments

In news that will come as a surprise to no one, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously this morning to designate the interiors of the famed Waldorf Astoria a New York City landmark. According to Curbed, the decision was made within minutes without hesitation from any of the board members. The announcement also comes hot on the heels of the hotel’s closure just one week ago, as its new owners, Anbang Insurance Group, undertake what’s expected to be a three-year renovation and conversion that will bring forth 840 updated hotel rooms and 321 luxury condos.

more details here

Midtown, New Developments, Rentals

The market for ultra-luxury condos may be cooling down, but developers appear to be much more optimistic about posh senior housing. Last year, 6sqft reported that Welltower Inc., the country’s largest senior housing owner by market value, had teamed up with Hines to develop the “One57 of Assisted Living,” an upscale facility at 56th Street and Lexington Avenue boasting $20,000/month rents. Now, it appears that the project is moving forward as Curbed tells us plans have been filed with the DOB to start construction.

additional details this way

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Features, photography, The urban lens

6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, photographer and art director Fernando Paz shares his playful series of New Yorkers posing as skateboarders. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

In a city where “fake it ’til you make it” is a mantra shared by many of its inhabitants, Fernando Paz‘s cheeky photography experiment “Skateboarding loves you too” couldn’t have found a better setting. For the series, the die-hard skater approached individuals from all walks of life and asked them to pose with one of his many boards—a strange exercise with the simple goal of placing a familiar but altogether foreign object in the hands of the unassuming. The results, as you will see ahead, are wonderfully humorous, apt, and also bring out what Paz says is the “strong, happy, enthusiastic, hard working, loving, and any positive adjective wanna add” spirit of New Yorkers.

learn more and see the rest of his photos series here

Chelsea, hudson yards, New Developments

Currently, at the corner of 8th Avenue and 31st Street, diagonal from Penn Station, you’ll find a parking lot, pizza joint, and a small coffee shop. However, Nobutaka Ashihara Architects (NAA) envisions something much more spectacular for this underused locale. According to CityRealty, NAA recently rolled out a brand new website, and prominently featured on their home page is a curious scheme for a lantern-like glass tower of about 12 stories called “Japan Land.”

more views here

History

On Wednesday, March 1st, the famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel will close its doors for three years as its new owners, Chinese insurer Anbang Insurance Group, kicks off a conversion that will turn 1,413 hotel rooms into 840 renovated hotel rooms and 321 luxury condos. While most New Yorkers have been scrambling to hit up one of the hotel’s many gilded bars for one last cocktail, others looking to celebrate the icon in a more substantial way now have an opportunity to lay claim to one (or several) of the hotel’s architectural and decorative wares. Indeed, currently up for grabs are eight mahogany panels of Art Deco etched glass, four solid bronze urns, carved glass panels, the original 1931 private entrance revolving door, and a large set of revolving doors that come complete with two side bronze doors—all on eBay.

get a closer look here

Chelsea, condos, New Developments

Plans for SHoP’s 10-story wooden condo tower squashed

By Diane Pham, Fri, February 24, 2017

shop architect wood condo chelsea manhattan

SHoP’s proposed wooden tower has gotten the axe, reports The Real Deal. The wood high-rise which was slated to rise along 18th Street in Chelsea has been scrapped, as a downturn in the market has forced developer Sy Ghassemi to change course.

Read more

Landscape Architecture, Staten Island, Urban Design

Although High Line Park visionary Robert Hammond recently expressed remorse for failing to develop a park that was “for the neighborhood”—not the ultra-wealthy that have infiltrated the blocks directly surrounding the elevated marvel—other cities continue to see nothing but financial opportunity in thrusting parkland upward. 6sqft recently reported on Newark, NJ, which will soon break ground on their own version of the High Line in hopes of revitalizing their long-burdened downtown, and now the Staten Island Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) has announced that Port Richmond is angling for their own High Line magic atop .53 miles of abandoned North Shore rail line.

more details and photos here

Events, Midtown

Bunch at the Waldorf Astoria Peacock Alley

Come March 1st the Waldorf Astoria will close its doors to the public in preparation for what’s likely to be a lengthy conversion, as the New York icon transforms from luxury hotel to a hybrid of opulent condos and hotel rooms. While we can all rest assured that the Waldorf’s stunning interiors will remain intact—from the historic ballrooms to exhibition space, dining rooms and banquet rooms—what will likely disappear for good (at least in their current form) are the lavish brunches held at Peacock Alley. As Metro NY reports, this Sunday, February 26th, will be your last opportunity to indulge in the hotel’s utterly decadent weekend offering.

more details here

Chinatown, New Developments

If you’ve walked down Chinatown’s Canal Street then you’re certainly familiar with a string of stores at 312-322 Canal Street hawking cheap souvenirs to tourists and passersby. After a proposal to renew the depressed stretch of shops with a brand-new brick construction failed to pass Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) muster in 2011, a new, much more ambitious plan to replace the ramshackle building has finally emerged.

more details this way

Featured Story

Design, East Village, Features

Icy, metallic, and unabashedly serious is how one might describe The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art building in the East Village. But deep within its mash of raw concrete, steel beams, and metal screens is an unlikely 800-square-foot treasure chest filled with tens of thousands of design and typographical ephemera spanning multiple decades.

Known as The Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography, the quaint and cozy space opened in 1985 as an archive dedicated to the work of Herb Lubalin, an American graphic designer best known for his playful art direction at Avant Garde, Eros and Fact magazines, as well as his groundbreaking design work completed between 1950 and 1980 (including the original World Trade Center logo). As one would expect, the center is filled with one-of-a-kind Lubalin works that range from posters, journals, magazines, sketches, and packaging, most of which came from his studio, his employees, or via donation by Lubalin enthusiasts.

However, what many will be surprised to know is that Lubalin’s materials make up just 20 percent of the center’s entire collection. Indeed, about 80 percent of what’s tucked away comes from other influential designers. And those flat files not dedicated to Lubalin are filled with rare works from icons that include Push Pin Studios, Seymour Chwast, Milton Glaser, Lou Dorfsman, and Massimo Vignelli.

go inside here

Art, Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO

Brooklyn Bridge Park is the last place we’d expect to find a menacing art installation summoning feelings of nothingness. But come May, Anish Kapoor will bring his acclaimed installation “Descension” to one of the park’s busiest stretches, Pier 1. As described by The NY Public Art Fund (the project’s curator), Descension is a 26-foot diameter whirlpool that funnels pitch-black, naturally dyed water below ground, inviting visitors to carefully peer into its swirling abyss.

more details here

Transportation

It’s that time of month again when the MTA cleans house and gathers up all the stuff collecting dust in their offices and puts it up for public auction. While past offerings from the agency yielded all sorts of cool items ranging from vintage subway signs to old tokens to shiny grab holds, one eagle-eyed Reddit user noticed this month’s selection includes a very curious lot: 350 bags of “Mixed Non-Ferrous Metal Foreign Coins & Slugs.”

more details here

Featured Story

City Living, Features, The urban lens

The Urban Lens: Fly over NYC during ‘golden hour’

By Diane Pham, Fri, February 17, 2017

6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Alexey Kashpersky takes us above NYC at daybreak. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

We couldn’t think of a better day than this frigid Friday to lose ourselves in the warm glow of Manhattan during golden hour. Having ventured where many would dare not go—i.e. several thousand feet up in the air in a doorless helicopter—artist Alexey Kashpersky shares photos of his recent sky-high journey above New York, revealing a glorious metropolis at daybreak shining a fiery red and orange. From the piers of Battery Park City to hovering just above the tip of the Chrysler Building, lose yourself ahead in the quiet beauty of our dear city.

see more here

Celebrities, Cool Listings, Soho

Meg Ryan, Meg Ryan soho loft, Meg Ryan nyc home, Meg Ryan loft, 84 mercer street, 84 mercer street 5th floor

Back in 2014, actress Meg Ryan dropped $8 million on a Soho loft previously owned by actor Hank Azaria. Now, after a sweeping gut renovation by interior designer Monique Gibson and architect Joel Barkley—and a full spread cover story in Architectural Digest showing off every nook and cranny of the chic space—the Journal reports Ryan has put the home on the market for $10.9 million.

go inside the home here

affordable housing, Bronx, housing lotteries

Starting today, 227 brand new affordable apartments are up for grabs at 4275 Park Avenue in the Bronx. The residence, dubbed Park House, is a new construction designed by COOKFOX Architects and developed by Breaking Ground, a non-profit organization that matches low-income New Yorkers with homes. Park House is the first affordable project undertaken by the organization and will offer energy-efficient studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments priced between $494 and $1181 to qualifying applicants earning between 40 and 60 percent of the area median income.

more details here

Cool Listings, Midtown

If you’ve been as curious as we have to know what the inside of 432 Park looks like IRL, look no further than unit #52C, now for sale by owner. LLNYC spotted the listing today which boldly ditches professionally staged photos for somewhat sloppy phone snapshots of the interiors. As the mag points out, 432’s developers have been keen on putting the luxury tower’s best foot forward, revealing only sleek renderings or retouched images of impeccably outfitted model units to press and onlookers.

more inside here

Design, History, holidays

How the heart shape became a symbol of love

By Diane Pham, Tue, February 14, 2017

Red and pink hearts are synonymous with love, romance, and, of course, Valentine’s Day. But this hasn’t always been the case. In fact, according to Eric Jager, author of “The Book of the Heart,” the heart shape ❤ had nothing to do with love until after the 1300 and 1400s, when the ideas of devotion and intimacy started to manifest themselves in this singular concept.

more on the history of the romantic heart here

condos, Greenpoint, New Developments, Rentals

Rendering: Neoscape; Construction photo: Will Femia

Greenpoint’s new waterfront skyline is quickly taking shape, as CityRealty reports the neighborhood’s first skyscraper has just topped off. The tower, measuring 400 feet, will be Greenpoint’s tallest, stretching 39 stories above the characteristically low-slung neighborhood now dominated by squat residential buildings and warehouses. With a somewhat uninspired name, The Greenpoint (as it will be known) will bring 95 high-end condos and 287 rental apartments to a block-long stretch of the area.

more details here

City Living, real estate trends

NYC’s top 10 wealthiest ZIP codes will surprise you

By Diane Pham, Fri, February 10, 2017

There’s no argument that Tribeca is home to the priciest real estate in all of New York City, but when it comes to wealth as measured by median net worth and household income, its residents don’t even register in the top 10. A new study by ESRI conducted for the NY Business Journal reveals that 11363—or Little Neck, Queens (where Governor Cuomo once owned a mansion, to give you and idea)—is, in fact, New York’s richest ZIP code. Here, the median household income clocks in at an impressive $94,192 with median net worth reaching $326,104.

the surprising results here

City Living, maps, Transportation

A real-time plow update today

With close to 10 inches of snow already on the ground and more to come, Winter Storm Niko is certainly making getting around a challenge. But before taking a chance and entering that winter wonderland, check out the city’s handy interactive map called PlowNYC, which tracks the progress of the Department of Sanitation’s 2,300 salt spreaders and plows.

Find out more

Brooklyn, Queens, Transportation

New Yorkers living in the outer reaches of Brooklyn and Queens may soon find some relief when it comes to their daily commutes. The MTA’s New York City Transit Riders Council (NYCTRC) is looking to make travel more efficient and affordable for those residing in the city’s transit deserts through a “Freedom Ticket” pilot initiative that will, says Gothamist, temporarily offer discounted flat-fee tickets for bus, subway and commuter rail travel with unlimited free transfers.

more details here

Landmarks Preservation Commission, New Developments, West Village 

It’s champagne and caviar tonight for billionaire hedge funder Steven A. Cohen, who received the official go-ahead to build a massive, six-story, single-family mansion at 145 Perry Street today. The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted almost unanimously in favor of the plan despite outcry from local residents and, most notably, Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) who had denounced the design in a statement as “starkly modern,” “fortress-like and massive,” and more like a bank or a luxury retail store you’d find in Miami or Los Angeles, not the “simple but charming” Village.

Read more

Midtown, Policy

The line separating Trump’s personal business interests and his role as President of the United States continues to blur, as the Washington Post reports today that the Pentagon may lease “a limited amount of space” in Trump Tower. In doing so, the U.S. Defense Department says it will be able to better protect Trump’s family, as Melania and Barron have decided to remain in the couple’s gilded Trump Tower penthouse, and Donald himself when he is town. The move, however, has one major and obvious sticking point: rent on the space would need to be paid to the Trump Organization—and taxpayer dollars would be used to foot the bill.

more details here

City Living, gentrification, maps

By now, we’re all well aware that New York City is changing, becoming ever more expensive and far less friendly to its middle and low-income inhabitants. But here’s a new interactive map from the Citizens Housing and Planning Council (CHPC) that offers us a snapshot view of how upper-income New Yorkers (the majority of whom are white, to be sure) have multiplied throughout the boroughs between 2000 and 2010 to alter the face of the city’s demographics.

Read more

Brooklyn, Coney Island, New Developments

Hold onto your hats, friends, because Coney Island is getting another 150,000 square feet of fun and amusement. On Monday, The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the city’s Department of Parks & Recreation put out a request for proposals (RFP) for new rides, games and other attractions to be located on five vacant, city-owned parcels bound by Surf Avenue and the Coney Island Boardwalk. The sites are highly covetable and sit in the midst existing offers like Luna Park and, of course, the iconic Wonder Wheel.

more details here

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