Central Park

History, Landscape Architecture, Midtown

central park peninsula

After being closed off to the public since the 1930s, The Hallet Nature Sanctuary on the lower east side of Central Park is once again open to all, writes The Times. The lush four-acre peninsula has for the last decades been used as a bird sanctuary, reclaimed and then tended to by the Central Park Conservancy in 2001 as part of their Woodlands Initiative. Under the project, $45 million was directed towards revitalizing and restoring the wooded areas of Central Park to their original glory.

More on how to visit here

Architecture, Urban Design

New York Horizon skyscraper, evolo competition winner 2016

Evolo has announced the winners of its 2016 Skyscraper Competition, and, somewhat ironically, the number-one spot goes to a proposal that doesn’t build up at all, but rather digs down.

New York Horizon was imagined by Yitan Sun and Jianshi Wu as a means to “reverse the traditional relationship between landscape and architecture, in a way that every occupiable space has direct connection to the nature.” The idea is to dig down, exposing the bedrock beneath Central Park and thereby freeing up space to build a horizontal skyscraper around its entire perimeter. The resulting structure would rise 1,000 feet and create seven square miles of interior space, 80 times that of the Empire State Building.

The rest of the specifics, this way

History, photography

In 1980, the Central Park Conservancy was formed as a nonprofit organization to manage the park under a contract with the City of New York and the Parks Department. As 6sqft noted in a previous interview with the Conservancy, they’re made up of “gardeners, arborists, horticulturists, landscape architects, designers, tour guides, archeologists, a communications team, and even a historian,” all of whom help to maintain the park as the gorgeous urban oasis we know and love today.

But before this, the park faced countless political and economic stressors, and without a central body to oversee it, entered a state of disrepair and neglect. It culminated in the ’80s (as the Conservancy worked on a plan for its rehabilitation) with barren patches of land, graffiti tags, and dead plants. Since it’s hard to imagine Central Park in such a state, the Conservancy has provided these incredible before-and-after photos that show just how far the beloved space has come.

See all the photos here

Art, Midtown East

GIF created from a video by Scott Beale for Laughing Squid

At first glance, it looks like an ordinary 19th century street clock, but when you notice its movement, things get a little weird. Located at Central Park’s Doris C. Freedman Plaza, the clock’s face rotates backwards, while the second hand appears to remain upright and stationary at all times (h/t Laughing Squid). What’ll really throw you for a loop is that the clock is displaying the correct time, but because of how accustomed we are to the regular rotation, it’s almost impossible to read.

Titled “Against the Run,” the clock was created by Alicja Kwade for the Public Art Fund. The Polish-born, Berlin-based artist wanted to challenge “the systems we invent to make sense of our lives,” thereby forcing us to “see ‘reality’ from a new perspective.”

More about the trippy clock

Featured Story

Features, History, Midtown

“A Scene in Shantytown, New York” appearing in the March 4, 1880 edition of the New York Daily Graphic, via Wikimedia Commons

In October of 1929, the stock market experienced a devastating crash resulting in an unprecedented number of people in the U.S. without homes or jobs, a period of history now known as the Clutch Plague. While homelessness was present prior to the crash, the group was relatively small and cities were able to provide adequate shelter through various municipal housing projects. However, as the Depression set in, demand grew and the overflow became far too overwhelming and unmanageable for government resources to keep up with. Homeless people in large cities began to build their own houses out of found materials, and some even built more permanent structures from brick. Small shanty towns—later named Hoovervilles after President Hoover—began to spring up in vacant lots, public land and empty alleys. Three of these pop-up villages were located in New York City; the largest of them was on what is now Central Park’s Great Lawn.

Learn more here

New Developments, real estate trends, Urban Design

accidental skyline, supertalls, park shadows

The Department of City Planning announced that although it shares residents’ concerns about the effects of the new crop of supertall towers rising near Central Park, it does not intend to lower the size limits on buildings in the dense Midtown district. Crain’s reports that department director Carl Weisbrod said in a written response to elected officials on August 12 that the slender structures may actually preserve historic buildings nearby and that they enhance the city’s iconic skyline.

Read more on the city’s response

Featured Story

Features, History

Shhhhh…Secrets of Your Favorite NYC Landmarks

By Stephanie Hoina, Wed, May 27, 2015

secrets of NYC landmarks

Sure, pretty much everyone living in New York City is familiar with Grand Central Station, Central Park and some of our other more notable landmarks, but these well-known locations still hold secrets that even born-and-bred New Yorkers may be surprised to learn. We’ve gathered together just a few to get you started, but in a city this size, with a history this long, there are many more that await your discovery. How many of these secrets were you aware of?

Find out all about these hidden gems here

Midtown, New Developments, Policy

accidental skyline, supertalls, park shadows

Those looking to build a behemoth along Central Park may have to look elsewhere. The Manhattan Community Board Five’s Sunshine Task Force has voted in favor of a resolution calling for an immediate, temporary moratorium on any new construction of 600 feet or taller that is not already undergoing public review, particularly with those threatening to cast shadows over Central Park in an area bounded by 53rd Street and Central Park South, and Fifth Avenue to Eighth Avenue. The board voiced their concerns and outlined the ban in a policy brief (via DNA Info) which made its way to the desks of the Department of City Planning and the mayor last week.

FInd out more here

Cool Listings, Interiors, Upper West Side 

52 West 70th Street, Central Park, prewar detail, wood-burning fireplace

There’s a cute new listing available in this townhouse off Central Park West. This $2.55 million three-bedroom pad has tall ceilings and natural light from the north and south, along with prewar detail and a full view of the garden.

Take a look inside

Daily Link Fix

Belvedere Castle, Central Park, Central Park Conservancy
  • This Greenpoint artist uses discarded glass found on the street and McCarren Park turf to create mini sculptures [DNAinfo]
  • Here’s what Central Park looked like in the 80s…a lot different than today. [Gothamist].
  • What if Nike sold oranges and Apple made iMilk? An artist reimagines fashionable brands as they’d exist in the grocery store. [Fast Co. Design]
  • You won’t think your apartment is so small after watching this video of people trying to live in a 112-square-foot “house.” [Buzzfeed]
  • LES “farm to sandwich” favorite Black Tree is opening a chef’s counter in Williamsburg. They’ll even use local designers to deck out the space. [Bedford + Bowery]
  • Wouldn’t it be nice to walk down the street and hear a tune from an organ grinder and his “regally outfitted capuchin monkey?” Here’s a history of the grinders’ sudden demise. [Ephemeral NY]

Images: Belvedere Castle in the 80s via Central Park Conservancy (L); iMilk via Peddy Mergui


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