As part of a five-year, $210 million plan to significantly upgrade Grand Central’s subway station, developer SL Green hopes to install new staircases to the train platforms, two new street-level entrances and a refurbished mezzanine level, and a 4,000-square-foot ground-level commuter waiting area. The improvements were conceived in conjunction with the MTA and the de Blasio administration earlier this year as the first component of the Midtown East Rezoning project.
The transit upgrades must all be completed before tenants can occupy One Vanderbilt (planned for completion in January 2020), SL Green’s new 65-story office tower planned for the entire block west of Grand Central and north of East 42nd Street. Designed by Kohn Pederson Fox, the tower will be the second-tallest building in the city when completed.
More on the upgrades ahead
Every day the NYC subway carries more than 1.3 million riders to all corners of our fair city. A feat yes, but if you’re a rush hour commuter, you know the hellish conditions that can arise when trying to pack several hundred (though it can feel like thousands) of people into a line of sardine cans. If you’re one of the many who constantly curse the MTA, try not to get too green-eyed as you read on.
As it turns out, our neighbors in grid-locked Secaucus, New Jersey are gearing up to test a out new form of solar-powered public transit called JPods. This innovative new system uses a combination of light rail and self-driving car suspended above roads, and unlike the NYC subway, you can leave your running shoes at home. This rail network is designed to get you as close to your final destination as possible.
More on the new venture here
If you ride the New York City subway you likely have some type of app installed on your smart phone that provides a map of the underground system or calculates the time to the next train. And it’s just as likely that your app doesn’t have a feature for accessibility. For those who cannot push through a crowd on the stairs or bolt up the left side of the escalator, the subway is extremely hard to navigate and oftentimes quite useless, as only 18% of stations have accessible elevators. To address this major flaw in our mass transit system, Anthony Driscoll developed a new app called Wheely, which helps those with accessibility needs (wheelchair users, the elderly, parents with strollers, injured people, etc.) better navigate the subway. All the details on the smart new app here
Admit it–you’ve perfected your selfie pose. And now that you’ve got the duck face and skinny arm down pat, why not explore the art of the skyline selfie? We’re not talking an upward-gazing shot of the Empire State Building or semi-panoramic view of Manhattan; we mean full-on aerial photos taken from 40,000 feet up in the air. That’s exactly what the IXION windowless jet from Technicon Design is doing.
The firm’s groundbreaking new design has removed windows from the cabin and, using near-future technology, displays the surrounding environment on interior cabin surfaces via external cameras. Not only does this provide incredible views, but greens the aircraft by reducing weight (thereby requiring less fuel and maintenance), simplifying construction, and opening doors for a variety of design possibilities. To boot, expansive solar panels would power the on-board, low-voltage systems, creating a one-of-a-kind visual for the jet’s exterior body.
More on the sky-high design here
Plans for a Second Avenue subway have been on the drawing boards since flapper dresses were all the rage. But not until now has this pipeline dream started to take shape.
One of the hottest discussions among the locals is undoubtedly the new line, and according to the MTA, 65 percent of Phase I is now complete. When it debuts in December 2016, it is slated to carry 200,000 straphangers, which in turn will reduce overcrowding on the Lexington Avenue Line by as much as 13 percent (that’s 23,500 fewer passengers on an average weekday). Phase II will extend the line from 96th to 125th Street, and the MTA just announced that $1.5 billion (only a third of the total estimated cost) is now set aside with the hope that the federal government will chip in, too. But those who wonder when the 8.5-mile stretch of tracks (125th Street to Hanover Square), you’d better hold onto your hat—it’s 2029! Though this is still 15 years away, that hasn’t stopped the prices of properties flanking the SAS from riding high in anticipation.
Why buyers are looking at construction workers starry-eyed
For anyone in the world who’s ridden the New York City subway, they’ve undoubtedly taken a curious gander at the system map, full of its rainbow-colored, crisscrossing lines. But what many riders may not know is that in 1972, a man named Massimo Vignelli was commissioned by the city to create a very different version of this map, immediately sparking controversy for its geometric simplicity and geographical inaccuracy. In 1979, Vignelli’s map was replaced with a more organic, curving version like we see underground today.
In 2008, the MTA commissioned Vignelli’s firm to update their map, and a new version was put online to serve as the Weekender, highlighting weekend service changes. But now, underground map enthusiast Max Roberts has gone one step further, and claims he’s come up with a perfect compromise between the Vignelli work and the MTA’s signature map.
See what Mr. Roberts has come up with
As many of you architecture buffs know, One WTC now rises a symbolic 1,776 feet, making it the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and the third tallest in the entire world. Designed by renowned architect David Childs of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, it also has a LEED Gold certification and is the most environmentally sustainable project of its size. After a temporary real estate slump, the 104-story, glass and steel building is now 56% leased, with big-time tenants like Conde Naste, Morgan Stanley, Legends Hospitality, and BMB Group. Eight years after construction began, One World Trade is at an exciting juncture with its tenants expected to move in by the end of the year, already beginning to build out their office spaces. The original crew of 10,000 has been reduced to 600, and we’re checking in on what these remaining workers are up to.
Check out some amazing photos of the progress at One WTC
Filling up the ole’ gas tank is not a glamorous job, and usually not a task that leaves one marveling at the surrounding architecture. But in 1927, Prairie-style extraordinaire Frank Lloyd Wright put together plans for a fuel filling station in Buffalo, New York that would leave even the most seasoned driver awe struck.
Now, almost 90 years later, the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum has realized Wright’s vision and constructed the station as a one-of-a-kind installation housed in a 40,000-square-foot glass and steel atrium, made possible by a $6.3 million state grant. The arts-and-crafts gas station, the third Wright recreation in Buffalo, makes a nod to Native American design and thoughtfully mixes practicality with visual appeal.
Take a virtual tour of the architectural masterpiece
Amoeba, organ, extraterrestrial creature — take your pick; this transportation hub dubbed the Urban Alloy Towers is quite interestingly shaped. The creation of Chad Kellogg and Matt Bowles of AMLGM, the structure is proposed for the area around where the LIRR station in Woodside, Queens links to the 7 train.
The idea came from the notion that large-scale housing development is most successful when located near transportation. So, Kellog and Bowles figured they’d put their development “directly on the intersections between surface and elevated train lines,” utilizing the remnant spaces surrounding the train infrastructure. Included in this multi-use structure would be live/work spaces, retail, small offices, both market-rate and luxury residential units, SROs, and a central atrium.
Read more about the design here
It’s unfortunate that Santiago Calatrava‘s original design for the WTC Transportation Hub got scrapped for a shrunken, more watered-down version. But the cost saving measures that transformed his beautiful “bird” into what some critics have dubbed as a “rack of lamb” didn’t completely destroy the majestic spirit of the original design.
Construction images recently released by the Port Authority of NY & NJ reveal that the Oculus is finally taking shape, emerging from its WTC site as something that could very well be quite iconic.
More incredible photos ahead