Urban Design

Midtown, Transportation, Urban Design

Can Times Square ever be completely car-free?

By Devin Gannon, Tue, November 10, 2020

Rendering courtesy of 3deluxe

It’s been over ten years since cars were first banned in some sections of Times Square. Is it time for additional street closures along bustling Broadway? In a new design study, the Germany-based architecture firm 3deluxe has reimagined Times Square to prioritize pedestrians and cyclists, trading vehicular traffic lanes for recreational activities, landscaped features, and public transportation. The concept comes as New York and other cities continue to reexamine the value of safe public space as the fight to control the coronavirus pandemic continues.

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Flushing, History, Urban Design

Photos by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

When the World’s Fair descended upon Flushing Meadows Corona Park in 1964-1965, one of the big attractions was the Unisphere. And leading up to this 140-foot-tall stainless steel globe was the Fountain of the Fairs, a large reflecting pool that acted as an interactive mist garden. Though they were renovated in 2000, the fountains were seriously damaged during Hurricane Sandy and stopped working. However, after a recent $6.8 million upgrade, they are back up and running.

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Upper West Side , Urban Design

Photo courtesy of the Riverside Park Conservancy

Yesterday, the fifth phase of Riverside Park South opened to the public. The 4.6-acre area stretches from West 65th to 68th Streets and includes new paths, stairs, and plazas; a playground and swings; lawns; sand volleyball courts; and a dog run. As West Side Rag tells us, the $21.1 million project–which was completed with federal, state, and private funds–was originally planned to open in 2018.

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Urban Design

Brooklyn Laboratory Charter Schools/SITU/WXY

The list of anxieties surrounding a return to school for students and their parents is seemingly endless, but the architects at SITU and WXY have designed an outdoor lobby that they hope can help alleviate some of this stress. Built upon the work of design-forward scaffolding firm Urban Umbrella, the “Front Porch” concept has been installed at the Brooklyn Laboratory Charter School to “allow students and faculty to be protected from the elements while queuing to enter, while hand sanitizing and having their temperatures taken,” according to a press release.

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Policy, Transportation, Urban Design

If parking was removed and private cars banned on West 45th Street; courtesy of PAU

In a city that currently has the most streets closed to cars in the country, with plans in store to add more designated busways and charge vehicles entering its busiest streets, is New York ready to be car-free? Architect Vishaan Chakrabarti and his firm Practice for Architecture and Urbanism think so. The New York Times took a look at PAU’s plan, “N.Y.C. (Not Your Car),” which calls for a ban of private motor vehicles in Manhattan and an expansion of sidewalks and pedestrian-only space.

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Brooklyn Heights, Urban Design

Photos © Jamie Warren, Brooklyn Bridge Park

After closing for good nearly two years ago, a new Squibb Bridge will open at Brooklyn Bridge Park on May 4 at 9am, as was first reported by Curbed. The 450-foot-long walkway over Furman Street connects the Squibb Park (which will also reopen) on the Brooklyn Bridge Promenade to Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park and has had quite a shaky history since first opening in 2013. Eric Landau, the president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, told Curbed, “The new bridge has the same overall aesthetic feeling of the previous bridge that people loved, with full functionality.”

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affordable housing, Major Developments, Sunnyside, Urban Design

All renderings by the Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU)

According to the master plan for the 180-acre Sunnyside Yard development in Queens, the former storage and maintenance hub for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, New Jersey Transit, and Long Island Rail Road will include 12,000 affordable apartments, making it the largest affordable housing development to be built in NYC since the middle-income Co-op City in the Bronx was completed in 1973 (h/t Wall Street Journal). The plan by the New York City Economic Development Corp. (EDC) outlines a $14.4 billion deck over the train yard on which the complex would be built. Half the housing in the development would be rental apartments for low-income families earning less than 50 percent of the area median income, with the other half set aside for affordable homeownership programs through Mitchell-Lama. The Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) was identified to lead the planning process, and they have just released renderings and maps of the massive development.

See them all here

Lower East Side, Urban Design

The Lowline goes into ‘dormancy’ as funds dry up

By Alexandra Alexa, Wed, February 19, 2020

lowline, James Ramsey, Dan Barasch, underground park, Entrance to the Lowline, lowline renderings, raad architecture

Lowline Lab via 6sqft

Ambitious plans to transform the abandoned Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal on the Lower East Side into the world’s first underground park are no longer viable due to waning funds, Crain’s reports. The founders of the Lowline—Dan Barasch and James Ramsey—dreamed up the idea more than a decade ago and as of last year, the $83 million project was under construction with an expected opening date in 2021.

What happened?

hudson yards, Urban Design

high line, western yard, related companies, hudson yards wall, major developments

Rendering courtesy of Related Companies

“There has never been a wall along the High Line and there will never be a wall,” Hudson Yards emphasized on Twitter today in response to reports that a 700-foot wall will turn the next phase of development into a veritable gated community. Plans for the Western Yard always included paving over the remaining tracks with a deck that would slope down toward the High Line, but last week, it was reported that developer Related Companies was floating around an idea that would have the deck slope up instead to accommodate a parking garage underneath. It would also essentially wall off the new development’s green space and overshadow the High Line. However, Hudson Yards continued in its series of Tweets, “We have always shared the vision that the Western Yard should include a great public open space.”

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Architecture, Midtown, Urban Design

See the proposed revamp for Rockefeller Center

By Alexandra Alexa, Wed, January 15, 2020

Rockefeller Center, Tishman Speyer, Gabellini Sheppard Associates, Landmarks Preservation Commission

Renderings by Gabellini Sheppard Associates courtesy Tishman Speyer; via NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission

Tishman Speyer proposed a plan to revamp certain aspects of Rockefeller Center during a hearing at the Landmark Preservation Commission on Tuesday, as CityRealty reported. With Gabellini Sheppard Associates at the helm, the design proposal makes tweaks to the gardens and outdoor plaza spaces at the 22-acre site. The upgrades—which mostly seek to improve circulation—come as city officials have been discussing the permanent restriction of traffic around Rockefeller Center following the successful pedestrianization of the area during the recent holiday season.

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