When the Mayor officially endorsed the plan for a Brooklyn-Queens streetcar, the estimated cost to realize the project was pinned at $2.5 billion. Since then there have been plenty of purported roadblocks that some believe could balloon costs further, such as the claims that the 16-mile streetcar route would run entirely through flood zones and require two new bridges. But the latest comes via Crain’s, who reports that the necessary train yard/maintenance facility for the cars may be the size of an entire city block and cost $100 million, which only adds to concerns that the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX) may become more of an economic burden than the city can take on. While that may or not be so, proponents maintain that the cars are absolutely necessary. Not only are a number of areas along the BQX’s proposed routes underserved by existing transit, but with all of the new office and residential developments planned for Brooklyn’s waterfront, the fact is, adding additional transit is a necessity, not an option.
Though the New York Wheel got its first shipment of crane parts last month, its opening has been pushed back from late 2017 to April of 2018, reports DNAinfo. Construction on the $580 million Staten Island Ferris wheel is still on track to finish up next year, at which time it will resemble the renderings, but “the wheel requires rigorous testing and commissioning that must be conducted to the highest standards,” said its CEO Rich Marin.
This is not the first time the project has been delayed, and it’s also been plagued by financial issues (it went $300 million over budget) and legal battles, but the developers are still optimistic. In fact, they’re projecting that the attraction will be more lucrative than the Empire State Building’s observation deck and bring in more than four million visitors during its first year. But is a giant Ferris wheel enough to revitalize an entire borough, especially the one that’s for so many years been the black sheep of NYC?
When the SHoP Architects-designed American Copper Buildings were first revealed, it wasn’t as much their twisting silhouettes that made headlines as it was their diagonal, amenity-filled skybridge. The three-story bridge, boasting a lap pool and lounge and topped with private terraces, is located 300 feet above the street, the highest such structure in the city and a new concept in enticing residents to the luxury market. And just this week, Bjarke Ingels unveiled new views of his High Line towers, which will feature two skybridges. Though they’re much closer to the ground, they’re also planned as amenity spaces, which makes us wonder–is this architectural feature set to become a new trend in NYC?
One day in May last year, Washington Square Park had 54,000 visitors, more than enough to fill Yankee Stadium. Annual attendance at the High Line more than tripled to 7.6 million visitors last year from two million in 2010. And Central Park expects to break records this year with 42 million visits.
These statistics come from a New York Times article today that looks at how “more people than ever are jamming into the city’s public parks, pools and beaches, filling the most popular ones to bursting, creating noise and trash problems and making the experience altogether less enjoyable for those looking for a bit of serenity.” This overcrowding has led the city to spend $6 million this year hiring an additional 500 seasonal workers. They’re also extending beach and pool seasons past Labor Day and implementing more free programs like outdoor movies and yoga classes.
On Monday, as 6sqft reported, Governor Cuomo unveiled the MTA’s “plans to build 1,025 new subway cars, and to modernize 31 of the city’s more than 400 stations.” Most of the new fleet will be of the open-gangway format, and they’ll boast wider doors, Wi-fi, USB ports, better lighting, cell service, security cameras, full color digital information displays, and a new blue and gold color palette that represents New York’s state colors.
Since the upgrades are part of the $27 billion capital plan that was approved in May, some critics are questioning whether the changes are more cosmetic and brag-worthy, rather than functional. But the city explains that the design of the new cars will help alleviate overcrowding, thereby reducing delays. What do you think–can the MTA do better?
We’re all for glamping here at 6sqft, though we typically reserve these outdoor adventures for places like the Catskills. But the W Hotel chain is hoping to capitalize on the trend and bring it to their Lexington Avenue location. A press release from the company announces their Outdoor Glamping Suite, part of the 17th floor Extreme Wow Suite, which makes nods to camping with “a 12-foot yurt bedecked in a kaleidoscope of fabrics and textures, glowing lanterns, rattan hanging chairs and a fire pit that lights up with a flip of a switch.” The W teamed up with interior design company Laurel & Wolf to create the experience, which is going for a whopping $2,000 a night.
Yesterday, 6sqft shared some of the best and wackiest proposals from an ideas competition reimagining Philip Johnson‘s iconic New York State Pavilion. Built for the 1964-65 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, it’s struggled in recent years to find financial support, and the competition is a way to drum up enthusiasm for the necessary $52 restoration.
The ideas ranged from the expected (elevated parks, event spaces) to the socially conscious (refugee housing, a homeless shelter) to the totally out there (a cheeseburger museum, a UFO landing pad). And while a new incarnation for the historic site would certainly draw visitors and interest, is that the appropriate way to honor the cultural and architectural merit of a structure that was built for a specific purpose at a very special point in time? Plus, preservationists have already secured close to $6 million for repairs, and the structure got a $3 million paint job last year.
Move over Bushwick and Williamsburg, Sunset Park is the new cool kid in the borough. Curbed shared a report from Cushman & Wakefield that names the 100 coolest streets in the country, and coming in among the top 15 neighborhoods is Sunset Park, “where boxes and independents co-exist.” The report points to a bohemian exodus from Williamsburg, which has become more mainstream and pricey. And though hipsters are moving to ‘hoods like Bed Stuy and Crown Heights, Sunset Park outdoes them with a unique type of retail growth and creative sector thanks to the Bush Terminal Park and Industry City. The millennial population is about 27 percent and the average household income is $81,529.
New Yorkers have learned to take deadlines and budgets from the MTA with a grain of salt, and the Second Avenue Subway may be the worst offender since it was first proposed all the way back in the 1920s. But the past couple years have restored some hope; in April 2015, it was announced that Phase I of the project was 82 percent complete and on track for its December 2016 opening, and last summer the MTA even went so far as to say the entire line could open sooner than originally planned.
But yesterday the Post reported that there’s a good chance the Second Avenue Subway won’t be finished on time, blaming construction crews not showing up for work. This has put inspections behind schedule, and therefore “the agency has only completed 67 percent of the testing and needs to do another 1,100 checks by October.”
While Governor Cuomo is busy trying to make his plans for $3 billion in renovations at Penn Station a reality, developers are hot to come up with a new design for 2 Penn Plaza, the tower directly above the station and Madison Square Garden. Vornado Realty Trust, who owns roughly nine million square feet around Penn Station including 2 Penn Plaza, released renderings in March for a glassy, wave-like tower by starchitect of the moment Bjarke Ingels. The concept is quite a departure from the current, stale state of the site, but yesterday an even more futuristic idea came to the table. Brooklyn Capital Partners tapped AE Superlab to create a plan for the world’s tallest free-fall tower ride above the station. “Halo,” as it would be called, would rise 1,200 feet from the roof, have 11 cars, and move as quickly as 100 miles per hour, giving it a top-to-base free fall of about six seconds.
BIG’s design wouldn’t change much in the way of 2 Penn Plaza’s current configuration, but it would create more retail space at the base. Halo, though it would cost $637 million to build, claims it would bring in up to $38 million a year for the state. Since Brooklyn Capital is contending with Vornado Realty Trust and Related Companies to upgrade the space, we want to know which of these ideas you think is a better fit.