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Features, GVSHP, History, Union Square

  • By Andrew Berman of Village Preservation
  • , October 17, 2019

Photo by Beyond My Ken / Wiki Commons

The area south of Union Square, on the border between Greenwich Village and the East Village, is changing. The approval of the new 14th Street Tech Hub south of Union Square combined with an explosion of tech-related development in the area has resulted in the demolition of mid-19th-century hotels and Beaux-Arts style tenements, with new office towers like 809 Broadway taking their place.

Aside from being rich in 19th- and early-20th-century architecture, this area is overflowing with history connected to many of the great American artists, writers, musicians, publishers, activists, innovators and artisans of the last century and a half. As part of Village Preservation’s work to document and bring to light some of that often forgotten history, we wrote this piece last year exploring the connections to Mark Twain and Walt Whitman, Alexander Graham Bell and Leroi Jones (among many others). Now, we’ve uncovered even more history-making people and events connected to this area and its buildings, from Hammacher Schlemmer (NYC’s first hardware store) to a slew of influential publishing houses (including that which published the first U.S. edition of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”) to the Women’s Suffrage League headquarters.

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City Living, maps, Policy

  • By Alexandra Alexa
  • , October 17, 2019

Photo by Doug Davey via Flickr cc

The City’s Department of Buildings has just released a new, interactive map that shows the location of all building construction projects that have been granted permits to proceed with work outside of normal business hours. These types of permits, known as an after-hours variance (AHV), apply to work taking place before 7 a.m., after 6 p.m., or anytime during the weekend. The DOB issued 18,866 AHV permits in 2018 and received 3,729 public complaints through the 311 system regarding construction work illegally performed after hours. The map will be updated daily and include links to further information about each project so that tenants have a way of confirming the status of construction projects on their block.

More information

Design, Midtown

  • By Devin Gannon
  • , October 17, 2019

Left: Photo by David Shankbone on Wikimedia; Right: Rendering by Hayes Davidson for Brookfield Properties

Hoping to start a new chapter for the problem-plagued tower, Brookfield Asset Management has unveiled its plan to overhaul 666 Fifth Avenue. The 41-story Midtown office building will undergo a $400 million overhaul designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, including a new glass exterior, floor-to-ceiling windows, revamped rooftop spaces, and updated mechanical systems, as the Wall Street Journal first reported. And separating itself further from its past, the building’s address will now be 660 Fifth Avenue. New details this way

Midtown West, New Developments

  • By Devin Gannon
  • , October 16, 2019

Rendering courtesy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill courtesy of Gov. Cuomo’s office

Two major tech companies are vying for office space at the former James A. Farley Post Office in Manhattan. The New York Post reported on Tuesday that Facebook and Apple both want to lease space at the former post office which is being converted by Vornado Realty Trust into a mixed-use site with 740,000 square feet of office space and a new train hall underneath. In September, it was reported that Facebook was in advanced talks for office space, but according to the Post, Apple has “suddenly decided it, too, wants all four floors of Farley’s office space.”

Get the details

Events, Williamsburg

  • By Dana Schulz
  • , October 16, 2019

Photo of 25 Kent by Ty Cole

Earlier this month, we got a look at the completed 25 Kent, Williamsburg’s first ground-up commercial project in 50+ years. The eight-story building is notable for its bi-partite, ziggurat-like design, as well as its prime waterfront location and open space–all of which make it the perfect spot for an outpost of Smorgasburg and Brooklyn Flea. The markets announced today that beginning November 2nd and lasting through March 2020, they’ll be operating out of a 25,000-square-foot, top-floor space at the building.

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Connecticut, Cool Listings

  • By Michelle Cohen
  • , October 16, 2019

Photo credit: Weston Photos, courtesy of Compass.

Located in Weston, Connecticut, this unique home was built of log and stone in 1920 and has been completely restored by its current owners to offer the same cabin-in-the-woods charm it undoubtedly had back then. Asking $998,000, the house has the necessary modern amenities plus bonus additions like a detached garage with a studio/in-law space above it–and a picture perfect country setting complete with a pond and stream. The house doesn’t just look cabin-like: There’s an actual heated cabin on the property, with a campsite and a fire pit.

Get a closer look

Transportation, Urban Design

  • By Alexandra Alexa
  • , October 16, 2019

Photo by Shinya Suzuki on Flickr cc

The MTA and the Partnership for New York City have announced the second round of the Transit Tech Lab accelerator program that launched earlier this year. The inaugural run selected six finalists to participate in an eight-week program dedicated to developing innovative, private sector solutions for the challenges facing our subway, bus, and rail services. Of those six, four companies have already started piloting their products with the MTA. The new round of submissions is specifically seeking entrepreneurs with products that improve accessibility (a major component of the MTA’s recently unveiled capital plan), enhance traffic coordination, or create new sources of revenue. Submissions are open through November 30.

More details

New Jersey, Policy, Transportation

  • By Devin Gannon
  • , October 16, 2019

Photo by Ken on Flickr

A 109-year-old swing bridge will no longer be the bain of commuters’ existence. The United States Coast Guard agreed last week to permanently restrict when boats can pass under the Portal Bridge, which carries about 200,000 passengers daily to and from Penn Station via New Jersey Transit and Amtrak. The 1910 bridge’s aging mechanics frequently malfunction while opening and closing for maritime traffic, causing hourslong delays, felt especially during rush hour.

Learn more

Bay Ridge, ridgewood, Transportation

  • By Dana Schulz
  • , October 16, 2019

The Bay Ridge Branch crossing Ralph Avenue in Canarsie, photo by Jim HendersonWiki Commons

Since the 1990s, the Regional Plan Association has been advocating for the restoration of passenger service to a rail line that runs from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn to Ridgewood, Queens and is now used as a freight line. Known as the Bay Ridge Branch, the line is owned by the Long Island Railroad, but at the end of the year, the MTA hopes to begin a study to determine if this idea is feasible. The RPA’s Kate Slevin explained to NY1, “We don’t have unlimited resources here in New York City, as we know, so the fact that we already have tracks there, that are underutilized, really means a lot.”

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affordable housing, Policy

  • By Michelle Cohen
  • , October 15, 2019

Image via Pexels

State Sen. Brian Benjamin has proposed a bill that aims to give New York renters a much-needed break. The Harlem Democrat’s bill is modeled after the federal version proposed by Sen. Kamala Harris and would entitle lower-income tenants to a refundable tax credit if their rent and utilities account for a significant portion–over 30 percent–of their income, the Daily News reports.

Find out more

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