Cycling culture in New York City has been a growing trend for over 20 years. However, its popularity and the bike lanes of modern day New York have yet to reach the impressive status of Coney Island’s 1920s bicycle racing Velodrome. The Velodrome was a wooden racetrack that seated approximately 10,000 people, each of whom came to cheer or jeer the area’s best cyclists.
Despite the fact that NYC today has more than 8.5 million residents, the subway system had some of the highest ridership numbers back in the 1940s. In fact, a 1948 record was only recently beat in 2015 when 5.7 million rode the train daily, with annual ridership hitting 1.7 billion–another high not reached since the 1940s. To show just how packed the subway was 60 years ago, 6sqft has uncovered this 1949 film footage of daily subway operations from the New York Transit Museum Archives, which shows the crew working all the angles to keep trains running on time, while crowds jostle and shove to get to where they’re going.
The going rate for a Hell’s Kitchen studio is upwards of $2,000/month, but when now 32-year-old Luke Clark Tyler moved into his pad in 2011, he signed a lease for only $750. This might sound like a bargain, but the freelance designer/architect is living (and working!) in an astonishingly small 78 square feet, which by Sharably’s account is the smallest apartment in America. And when you break that down by price per square foot, he’s actually paying almost twice as much as the neighborhood average. But nevertheless, Tyler is happy to have the extra cash to enjoy the many dance performances in his ‘hood and says that after living tiny for more than five years, “we adapt very easily as people.”
This past May the MTA recorded 50,436 subway delays, 697 of which were caused by track fires that could have been ignited by the 40 tons of trash that are removed from the system every day. To curb this ongoing issue, the agency announced in August “Operation Trash Sweep,” an initiative that upped the frequency by which the 622 miles of tracks get cleaned. At the time, the MTA said it would also employ individually-operated Mobile Vacs that workers can use to quickly suck up trash. Yesterday, the agency released a video of the Vacs being tested, which not only shows their incredible force, but gives an overview of how the Operation is shaping up.
The first New Year’s Eve ball to drop in Times Square in 1907
In 1904, the New York Times moved from the City Hall are to the triangular piece of land at the intersection of 7th Avenue, Broadway, and 42nd Street. People thought they were crazy for moving so far uptown, but this was the same year the first subway line opened, passing through what was then called Longacre Square. Not only did their new Times Tower have a printing press in the basement (they loaded the daily papers right onto the train and got the news out faster than other papers), but it was the second-tallest building in the city at the time. To honor this accolade, the company wanted to take over the city’s former New Year’s Eve celebration at Trinity Church, and since the church elders hated people getting drunk on their property, they gladly obliged. So to ring in 1905, the Times hosted an all-day bash of 200,000 people that culminated in a midnight fireworks display, and thus the first New Year’s Eve in Times Square was born. But it wasn’t until a few years later that the famous ball drop became tradition.
Who knew watching the movements of the New York City subway could be such a relaxing activity. A new data visualization created by Will Geary shows a day’s worth of subway routes in motion in one mesmerizing creation. To build the map, Geary used Processing and Carto software, as well as the framework of another tutorial from Juan Francisco Saldarriaga, pulling data from the MTA and Google Maps to determine the flux. And for some extra fun, the whole thing is set to “Rhapsody in Blue!”
Neil Patrick Harris and hubby David Burtka first made real estate headlines when they purchased a $4 million Harlem brownstone in 2013, setting a neighborhood record. They then spent over a year renovating the five-story residence at 2036 Fifth Avenue to be the perfect family home for their twins Gideon and Harper (now five years old) and two dogs. Last year, the couple invited Architectural Digest in for a tour, showing off their elegant but fun design choices, impressive art collection, and restored architectural features. They’ve now opened up their home again, this time for Vogue’s 73 Questions (h/t Apartment Therapy), complete with Christmas decorations.
If a sparkling new line isn’t cause enough to celebrate, once the Second Avenue Subway opens on January 1st, 2017, millions of New Yorkers will also be treated to several stretches of world-class art while navigating the 96th, 86th, 72nd, and 63rd Street stations. As the Times first reports, the MTA has poured $4.5 million into beautifying the stations with contemporary tile artworks by famed names Chuck Close, Sarah Sze, Vik Muniz, and Jean Shin.
One of the many signs that it’s Christmastime in the city is the sight, sound and scent of the city’s sidewalk tree vendors. The annual arrival of the (mostly) jovial tree purveyors reminds us that bell-ringing Santas, office secret Santas, and bar-crawling Santas aren’t far behind. Each year thousands of trees are sold to New Yorkers to help them deck the halls for the season. But what about the people who sell those trees? A new documentary film, “Tree Man,” gives us a peek at the lives of the city’s tree sellers, many of whom leave families behind to camp out in sometimes harsh living conditions for the sake of their business.
Before the days of Amazon, last-minute holiday shopping actually required putting clothes on and interacting with other human beings. To fully understand just how far we’ve come (and really appreciate the ability to “add to cart”), take a look at this HD stock footage from Critical Past that shows the rush of New York holiday shoppers in 1930. The sidewalks are a sea of black trench coats, with shoppers trying to squeeze their way into stores on 34th Street and buy wares from vendors on what looks like it may be Orchard Street, once the hub of discount shopping.
Donald Trump has already made it clear that he hopes to ditch convention and spend weekends in his Trump Tower penthouse during his presidency (despite the unprecedented traffic snarls and security issues it’ll cause). In addition to sleeping in his own bed, this will allow him to work out of his personal office. The 26th floor space is covered in awards, sports memorabilia, family photos, and an unsurprisingly narcissistic collection of magazines with yours truly on the cover. Business Insider uncovered two videos from last year–one from the Washington Post, one from the Wall Street Journal–where Trump provided tours of the office, and it looks like our next president may be working on international politics with one of Shaquille O’Neal’s sneakers sitting next to him.
While it’s still unclear whether or not the Second Avenue Subway will meet its December opening date, it does look like the rails themselves are just about ready to take on riders. Over the weekend, Youtube user Dj Hammers spotted the agency running trains past the line’s Lexington Avenue-63rd Street station (where a public area has already opened), testing out the third rail, signals and track.
Ultra-popular clothing and accessories designer Kate Valentine Spade invites us into the Upper East Side apartment she shares with her husband/business partner Andy Spade and young daughter, courtesy of People magazine. She’s managed to snatch a free moment away from her new accessories line Frances Valentine to give us a whirlwind tour of her two favorite rooms.
‘Where Architects Live’ takes you into the private homes of Zaha Hadid, Shigeru Ban and Daniel Libeskind, Thu, September 15, 2016
You’ve admired their buildings, now go inside their homes. On October 1st, the Architecture and Design Film Festival will host the U.S. premiere of “Where Architects Live,” a fascinating documentary that offers an intimate look into private interiors—and the daily lives—of eight of the world’s most important architects, including Shigeru Ban, Mario Bellini, David Chipperfield, Zaha Hadid, Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas, Marcio Kogan, Daniel Libeskind and Bijoy Jain.
If you’re already feeling bogged down by the workweek, fix your eyes on Brandon Bray and Tim Sessler’s film “Balance” to help put your mind in a more tranquil state. In their 3.5-minute short, the pair compiles various drone and helicopter shots into one seamless work that depicts New York City as an almost peaceful space unspoiled by modern life. Some of the vantages featured in the piece are quite jaw-dropping, including a fully inverted skyline, a crowd-covered 30 Rock, and a plunging aerial close-up of the massive Calvary Cemetery in Queens—a place most of us have only experienced from the BQE.
The future has arrived, and it’s delayed, of course. The first of the city’s shiny new subway cars was delivered to the MTA yard at 207th street in Inwood last night. The new R179 cars are being made upstate by Canadian company Bombardier and are slated to replace old cars on the C, A, J, M and Z lines (the trains on the C line are the oldest); a final decision on which lines will get the new cars hasn’t been made at this time. The newly-arrived car is a test model, though; we won’t be packing into the new cars like sardines until at least 2018.
The Flatiron building is best known for its angular form and its striking architectural details. But back in the early 1900s it gained notoriety for something far less virtuous: the 23 skidoo.
Because the Flatiron building sits at the intersection of 5th Avenue and Broadway, which together form a sharp angle, winds will often collect to create currents strong enough to lift a woman’s skirt. While by today’s standards bare legs and ankles aren’t worth taking note of, back then this sight was a real treat for the fellas. As such, hordes of men would flock to 23rd Street in hopes catching one of the many old-timey wardrobe malfunctions that occurred throughout the day. In fact, according to Andrew S. Dolkart, professor of Historic Preservation at the Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, the number of men who gathered would sometimes become so disruptive that police would have to shoo them away!
From the archives of ’80s NYC nightlife videographer Nelson Sullivan comes this summertime classic video. Young Village Voice writer Michael Musto, artist Albert Crudo, and photographer Liz Lizard with her two kids in tow join Sullivan on the trip to Coney Island from Manhattan on a very different subway than we’re used to today (h/t acapuck via Reddit). Their destination, too, won’t look the least bit familiar to anyone who’s visited the aforementioned beach destination in recent years, though there are many among us who fondly remember the beautiful decay of the boardwalk environs and the thrill of its garish attractions in the pre-MCU, pre Keyspan days.
We never tire of checking out the graffiti-covered cars and fellow riders who probably only look more menacing. And at some moments if you don’t look too hard, everything appears pretty much the same: The noise, the heat, the underground grit–and the fact that when it comes to fashion, everything a few decades old looks cool and new again.
6sqft first learned about the MTA’s interesting history of dumping old subway cars into the Atlantic Ocean through Stephen Mallon‘s insane photo series. The initiative began in late 2000 as a way to create artificial reefs and revive marine life along the Eastern seabed. Today, 2,400 cars now rest on the ocean floor in six states from New Jersey to Georgia, and we even got a peek inside them thanks to footage from novice divers at Express Water Sports, who lead scuba tours of the Bill Perry Reef system in Myrtle Beach, SC. Now, a video from the MTA itself (h/t Tracks) explains the history of the program, its financial viability, the environmental measures involved in the process, and some concerns about the reefs in the future.
When the Parks Department recently declared one of the city’s largest trees dead (and therefore dangerous to those walking by), they turned to the experts at RE-CO BKLYN, a Ridgewood-based company that reclaims fallen NYC trees and produces live edge slabs and custom furniture.
The circa 1870 European Elm tree lived in Prospect Park and was 75 feet high and more than seven feet in diameter with 18- and 24-inch limbs that were starting to break off in extreme weather events. But instead of simply ripping the tree up and dumping it in a landfill, Andrew Ullman, Brooklyn’s Director of Forestry, decided to enlist RE-CO to mill it and turn it into dry lumber that will be used to create a custom conference table for the NYC Parks Prospect Park offices.
One of 36 (42 in low tide) uninhabited New York City Islands, North Brother Island is a 20-acre piece of land in the East River between the Bronx and Rikers Island that was once home to a quarantine hospital. Currently off-limits to the public, the island became the home of Riverside Hospital for smallpox patients in 1885; “Typhoid Mary” Mallon was quarantined on the island until her death in 1938. This drone video footage offers a rare and hauntingly beautiful view of the island’s decaying bridges and buildings overgrown by forest.
Two Bridges, the area on the border of the Lower East Side and Chinatown, is seeing a wave of new, sky-high development, including a 900-foot tower from supertall team JDS and SHoP Architects and perhaps two 50-story buildings from L+M Partners. But the controversial surge in construction started with One Manhattan Square, an 823-foot tower from Extell. In anticipation of the 80-story condo building hitting the market this September, the developer has released a flashy new video that shows the sparkling Adamson Associates Architects-designed exterior, as well as the sweeping views from the upper floors. But as Curbed, who first spotted the video, notes, it ignores its potential supertall neighbors to make a point of just how much much it towers over its surroundings.
Just yesterday, 6sqft took a look at the available market-rate units at Carmel Place, the city’s first micro-housing development. If you’re debating submitting an application for one of these apartments–which at less than half the size of traditional studios are still asking from $2,570 to $3,200 per month–this video from the Times may help firm your decision. In it, reporter Penelope Green spends a night in a 302-square-foot unit that rents for $2,670 a month and features the building’s host of space-saving furniture like a sofa-wall bed combo (which, though surprisingly comfortable, will give you your daily upper body workout) and a 17-inch deep desk that extends to a 10-person dining table.
“Fellow architects have called him everything from a great poet to an insupportable windbag,” begins Mike Wallace in a 1957 interview with Frank Lloyd Wright. This is the setup for a talk with the famous architect in which he asserts he could rebuild the entire country if he had 15 more years and that the New York City skyline is nothing more than a “race for rent,” a monument to “the power of money and greed,” and completely lacking any ideas.
In this animated video from PBS Digital Studio (h/t Reddit), set to the historic interview, we learn why Wright thinks centuries of architecture failed, what he feels is wrong with St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and how he believes he received the title of “arrogant.”
Before Soho was home to an Apple Store, Dior and a slew of other luxury retailers and multi-million dollar apartments, it was considered “land so unvaluable that the Dutch gave it to the slaves,” says NYU economist William Easterly. In a new video project called “Greene Street,” Easterly traces the history of just one block of Greene Street (between Houston and Prince Street) and distills 400 years of history into a fascinating and informative 1.5-minute film. In seconds you can see the incredible transformations that occurred along the tiny 486-foot stretch of the neighborhood, which includes reincarnations as the biggest red light district in NYC, the center of garment manufacturing in the U.S., a shantytown, an artists’ hub, and finally the high-end retail corridor we know it as today.
Aside from their “dancing” silhouette, what makes the SHoP-designed American Copper Buildings (named for the 5,000 metal panels that make up the facade) so unique is the three-story diagonal skybridge that connects the 470- and 540-foot towers. Floating 300 feet over the street at 626 First Avenue, it’s the city’s first major new skybridge in over 80 years and will be the highest such structure in New York when completed.
Though the bridge is no small feat—its steel trusses weigh over 421,000 pounds, it has 24 connection points, and it will be close to one million square feet—it all started with a single piece of string. In a new video from their “Building Know-How” series, JDS Development takes us behind the construction of this architectural wonder, sharing their approach
At the 19th annual Beijing International High-Tech Expo, China flexed some of its public transportation prowess by debuting a model of a proposed bus system that would hover over vehicular road traffic, straddling existing highways. Dubbed the “Transit Elevated Bus,” the radical idea has been kicked around for several years, but now the WSJ reports that China will be building a trial run of the system in its Hibei province later this year.
While here in the U.S., we are still scavenging for mass transit dollars and desperately trying to convince politicians that adding more lanes to highways does not actually relieve congestion, China may literally leap above and beyond U.S transport planning if these “air buses” come to fruition. The engineers claim each bus could hold more than 1,200 commuters at a time and travel up to 40 miles per hour. Additionally, construction would be one-fifth the cost of a subway line and could be completed in a single year.
The definition of gentrification may be difficult to pin down, but filmmaker Nelson George is attempting to do so in his five-minute short “Degentrify America.” In the film, George melds together national headlines with interviews and animation to paint a picture that has become all too familiar in metropolitan areas across the country. Most notable, however, is the appearance of Crown Heights resident and co-founder of the Crown Heights Tenants Union, Donna Mossman, who speaks candidly about the evictions, injustice and other ills that come with this particular kind of change. Crown Heights recently ranked #8 on NYU’s Furman Center‘s report of New York’s 15 fastest gentrifying neighborhoods.
Here’s a video that drops a subway token on the dark ages of 1990, when the city’s underground transit system may have been a little “creepy,” but buses still took forever. While our ideas of what’s merely unruly (afterschool hordes) and what’s downright dangerous (the NYPD, eek!) may have been changed by the intervening years, it’s interesting to note the things that have stayed the same (capacity crowds on the Lexington Avenue line). Our host, a Fonzie-meets-Geraldo-esque Newsday columnist by the name of Ellis Henican, skims the surface of the many, many things that are going on below it in the city’s subway tunnels of the day, including ghost stations, locked restrooms and more.
Ancient history doesn’t look like it used to. Instead of grainy footage or shaky home video, we can enjoy this pretty early demo HD video to reminisce about streets filled with people who weren’t looking at little tiny screens. Remember those days?