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Book Reviews, Features, History, Landscape Architecture

All of the images in this post are included in “The Central Park: Original Designs for New York’s Greatest Treasure,” and are courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives.

There are few things as beautiful as a sunset in Central Park, standing beside the reservoir at 90th Street, looking west, and watching the sun sink behind the San Remo then glitter through the trees on the park’s horizon, and finally melt into the water, its colors unspooling there like ink. That view, one of so many available in the park, can be credited to the meticulous planning by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, whose extraordinary vision made Central Park one of the finest urban oases on earth.

The Central Park: Original Designs for New York’s Greatest Treasure,” a new book by Cynthia S. Brenwall, out now from the NYC Department of Records, offers a closer look at that lanning process than ever before. Using more than 250 color photos, maps, plans, elevations, and designs — many published here for the very first time — the book chronicles the park’s creation, from conception to completion, and reveals the striking “completeness” of Olmsted and Vaux’s vision. “There was literally no detail too small to be considered,” Brenwall says. You’ll see the earliest sketches of familiar structures, and check out plans for unbuilt amenities (including a Paleozoic Museum!) 6sqft caught up with Brenwall to find out how the book came together, hear what it was like to cull through those incredible documents and snag a few secrets of Central Park.

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Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Lower East Side, Urban Design

Pier 35, East River Waterfront Esplanade, Lower East Side, Shop architects

After years of anticipation, Pier 35 on the East River waterfront is officially open (h/t Curbed). The project, designed by SHoP with Ken Smith Workshop, consists of a new eco-park and an “urban beach” anchoring the northern flank of the East River waterfront esplanade and providing much-needed public space on the waterfront. The park also functions as a habitat restoration feature: “Mussel Beach” was created to replicate the characteristics of the original East River shoreline.

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Brooklyn Heights, Landscape Architecture

Arup, squibb bridge, brooklyn bridge park

Rendering by Arup, courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Brooklynites are hoping the third time’s a charm for the trouble-plagued Squibb Bridge, a 450-foot-long wooden walkway connecting Squibb Park to Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The bridge has had what Brooklyn Bridge Park president Eric Landau called a “challenged history.” But the park has been working with engineers at Arup to find ways to make the new bridge safe (h/t Curbed). Possible solutions included retrofitting the existing bridge, which would cost $4 million and take about a year, and building a new bridge from scratch atop the current concrete in-ground support structures, with a cost of about $6.5 million and an 18-month schedule. The latter plan was chosen, and the new bridge will be made from pre-fabricated steel, which means it should be safe for years to come rather than needing significant maintenance soon.

More on Squibb Bridge 3.0, this way

Landscape Architecture, New Jersey, Urban Design

Jersey City wants to open a High Line-style park

By Devin Gannon, Tue, March 19, 2019

Sketch by Richard La Rovere courtesy of the Journal Square Community Association

A Jersey City community association wants to turn an abandoned rail cut into a 17-acre High Line-style park. The Journal Square Community Association is proposing turning what used to be the Erie Railroad’s four-track cut through the Palisades into a public park. Better known as the Bergen Arches, the historic rail-cut borders Journal Square and opened in 1910, but has not been in use since the late 1950s. Since then, the Bergen Arches has become an overgrown wooded area in the expanding Journal Square neighborhood.

Details this way

affordable housing, Greenpoint, Landscape Architecture, New Developments, Starchitecture

greenpoint landing, OMA, greenpoint, new developments

Rendering courtesy of Brookfield Properties and Park Tower Group.

Developers Brookfield Properties and Park Tower Group have unveiled the next phase of development in the massive Greenpoint Landing waterfront project, including an addition to the public waterfront esplanade designed by James Corner Field Operations and mixed-income housing designed by OMA, the architecture firm founded by Rem Koolhaas. Construction is scheduled to begin this summer on the two new towers and an adjacent seven-story building that will bring the total number of units in the project to 745, of which 30 percent will be affordable.

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hudson yards, Landscape Architecture

Rendering via MVVA and the Hudson Yards Development Corporation

Update 3/25/19: Tishman Speyer bought last week an auto repair building on West 36th Street for $20 million, the New York Post reported Monday. The company will demolish the two-story building to make way for a greenway that will be the next segment of Bella Abzug Park. In exchange for paying for the new park, Tishman Speyer will get air rights from the city to put up a tower bounded by Tenth and Eleventh Avenues.

The city on Friday renamed a park near Hudson Yards in honor of the late Bella Abzug, a former U.S. Representative of New York and stalwart supporter of the women’s rights movement. The greenspace, formerly Hudson Yards Park, stretches just over two acres between West 33rd and 36th Street. First developed with the extension of the 7 subway line to 34th Street, the park will soon be extended to 39th Street and run over an Amtrak rail cut.

Details here

Art, Landscape Architecture, Meatpacking District

The Plinth, The Spur, High Line, james corner field operations, diller scofidio + renfro, simone leigh

Image by James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, courtesy of the City of New York.

The Spur, the last section of the High Line, extending east along 30th Street and ending above 10th Avenue, is scheduled to open in 2019. Unlike other sections of the park which are more linear and perfect for strolling, this section will feature a large-scale plaza for public programming and art and areas for seating and gathering. Anchoring the new section will be the High Line Plinth. As Designboom reports, the Plinth will be one of the only sites in New York City with the purpose of featuring a rotating series of new contemporary public art commissions.

Renderings of the Plinth, this way

Celebrities, Cool Listings, Landscape Architecture, Upper East Side

After her late husband, Bobby Zarin, passed away earlier this year, original “Real Housewives of New York” cast member Jill Zarin has put her Upper East Side condo on the market for $3.3 million, after living there for 18 years. Since her daughter is also out of the house, she told Forbes, “it’s time for a change of scenery,” which likely be warmer weather since she added, “Since I love tennis, I want to spend more time in a climate that is suited for it.” Likely in anticipation of selling, Jill renovated the three-bedroom apartment at 401 East 60th Street less than a year ago, working with designers at Schoeller + Darling on a contemporary makeover.

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Art, Chelsea, Landscape Architecture

Back in May 6sqft reported on plans for the 15 new gallery spaces in the works next to the Zaha Hadid-designed condo at 520 West 28th Street along the High Line, with the Paul Kasmin Gallery to anchor the project, which will expand into a 5,000-square-foot space with a sculpture garden designed by Future Green on its roof. With the official opening of the new building and inaugural exhibitions of works by Walton Ford and Joel Shapiro come new photos of the gallery and of the sculpture garden being installed.

More photos this way

hudson yards, Landscape Architecture

Last month, financing was secured for the second phase the extension of Hudson Park and Boulevard at Hudson Yards. The $374 million expansion–which will expand the existing park by 75 percent with a three-acre park over an Amtrak rail cut from West 36th Street to West 39th Street, between 10 and 11th Avenues–has gotten some slack for its price tag, which would make it NYC’s most expensive park project ever. But new renderings of the green space uncovered by CityRealty show everything this Western end of the project will bring to the mega-development, including an open lawn that will be turned into an ice-skating rink in the winter, curving stone paths amidst plush landscaping and tall trees, a food kiosk, and a colorful children’s playground.

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