NYC mayor announces push to finish 32-mile Greenway linking entire Manhattan waterfront

April 27, 2017 by  
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is looking to finish the biggest gap in the 32-mile Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. $100 million in the mayor’s executive budget will go towards completing the esplanade, allowing people to walk and bicycle on the edges of the city by the water. The new green space and promenade could be finished in around five years. The Manhattan Waterfront Greenway along the East River between East 61st to East 53rd Street could be developed with City capital money. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation , United States Coast Guard , and Army Corps of Engineers have already granted initial approval and designs for the esplanade will be sketched out this year. The city hopes construction, carried out by the New York City Economic Development Corporation , will begin in 2019 and end in 2022. Related: Former garment factory next to NYC’s High Line to be topped with new green spaces Mayor de Blasio said in a statement, “We’re jumpstarting the completion of a Greenway linking the entire Manhattan waterfront. The Hudson River Greenway has vastly improved quality of life on the West Side, and we want families in every corner in the borough to have that same access to bike, walk, and play along the water. This is the first of many big investments we’ll make as we bring the full Greenway to reality.” Department of Transportation (DOT) commissioner Polly Trottenberg said the longer Greenway would help meet the demand in cycling , which has spiked 80 percent during the last five years in New York City. DOT’s new bike lanes and a 1,100-mile bicycle network could also help more people get out of their cars and onto bikes. Mayor David Dinkins started the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway in 1993, and each administration since has added to it. The most recent major piece of the Greenway is a 10-block Riverwalk completing an 11-mile path between George Washington Bridge and the Battery. Over 7,000 cyclists ride on the path every day, making it the United States’ busiest bike path. + Office of the Mayor of New York City Images via the Office of the Mayor of New York City

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NYC mayor announces push to finish 32-mile Greenway linking entire Manhattan waterfront

Humans may have lived in America 115,000 years earlier than we thought

April 27, 2017 by  
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For years, scientists have believed that humanity was a relatively recent visitor to the North American continent, migrating from Siberia only 15,000 years ago. Now, more accurate dating of mastodon fossils from California shows that an early human ancestor likely existed on the continent 130,000 years ago , far further back than even the most extreme estimates made by previous researchers. The fossils consist of elephant-like teeth and bones, which were discovered in Southern California during the construction of an expressway in 1992. The fossils bear clear signs of deliberate breakage using stone hammers and other early human tools – but until recently, dating technology was not sophisticated enough to accurately pinpoint the era from which they originated. Related: Archaeologist suggests ancient humans helped catalyze the Sahara’s desertification Using new methods to measure traces of natural uranium in the bones, researchers with the US Geological Survey and the Center for American Paleolithic Research found these bones were far older than the era when humans are generally accepted to have lived in America. While these people were clearly somehow related to modern-day humans, and were advanced enough to create and use stone tools, researchers say that they wouldn’t have been Homo sapiens as we know them. Our species didn’t leave Africa until 80,000 to 100,000 years ago. Instead, some likely candidates are Homo erectus, the Neanderthals, or perhaps a little-known hominid species called the Denisovans , whose DNA can still be found in Australian aboriginal populations today. It’s likely this ancient human population died out before Homo sapiens eventually crossed the Pacific. It’s believed they did not interbreed with modern humans and likely are not direct ancestors of any Native American groups. The new findings have been published in the journal Nature . Via Phys.org Images via San Diego Natural History Museum

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Former garment factory next to NYC’s High Line to be topped with new green spaces

March 31, 2017 by  
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The Warehouse , a massive multi-unit complex a mere stone’s throw away from the High Line in New York City, is getting a facelift. A garment factory in a previous life, the 65,000-square-foot space at 520 West 20th Street currently houses a parking garage and art galleries. But Elijah Equities , the real-estate firm that is redeveloping the building, has grander plans. With the help of Morris Adjmi Architects , Elijah Equities is looking to transform the Warehouse into 100,000 square feet of office and retail space. The proposed increase in footprint will require the addition of three steel-framed, cantilevered stories to the existing four. More than 18,000 square feet of rooftop space will crown the new steel-and-glass extension, which will appear to float above the original unit on a pair of elevator and stairway cores. Related: New renderings of Studio Gang’s Solar Carve building reveal a faceted jewel that hugs the High Line The rear of the building will also be subject to readjustments. Planned upgrades include bigger windows, open floor plans, and plenty of outdoor space. “My intent was to capture the spirit of the original warehouse and develop a creative tension between the powerful brick-and-mortar base and the elegant new addition,” Morris Adjmi told Arch Daily . “I wanted to connect these two beautiful structures without simply fusing them together.” Related: Check out the vibrant outdoor art gallery coming to NYC’s High Line park The abundant greenery “draws parallels” from the High Line next door, Adjmi added. Construction is slated to begin this spring. The Warehouse is expected to receive tenants around the first quarter of 2019. + The Warehouse Via Arch Daily

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Zaha Hadid’s Kushner tower reimagined as the Eye of Sauron

March 30, 2017 by  
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When the family of presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner and China’s Anbang Insurance Group announced plans to redevelop a Zaha Hadid -designed skyscraper at Manhattan’s 666 Fifth Avenue, just about everyone, from lawmakers to government ethicists, balked. Although the deal would have helped transform the Kushners’ struggling office-and-retail property into a 1,400-foot mixed-use tower with retail space, high-end condominiums, and an 11-story hotel, negotiations eventually buckled under public pressure. Still, we’ll always have the renderings—and the Photoshopped artwork, one of which reimagines the monolith-like edifice as Barad-dûr . Designed by Hadid before her death last year, the $7.5 billion project, renamed 660 Fifth Avenue, would have involved gutting the 60-year-old building to its steel bones and adding 40 or more floors. Anbang’s withdrawal from negotiations has thrown the future of the property into question, although a spokesman says that the Kushner Companies is in active discussions with other investors to keep the project on life support. @PeterGrantwsj Here's the final concept. pic.twitter.com/AOIe9YHH7F — Grok (@Groked) March 21, 2017 Related: Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Infinitus Plaza focuses on environmental sustainability Meanwhile, the Twittersphere has been having a field day with a rendering of the proposed citadel, with one adroit user Photoshopping it into the Tower of Sauron from the Lord of the Rings . Whether this is in reference to the Mark of the Beast, the Kushners’ Trump-adjacency, or the fact that the building is a mite four blocks south of Trump Tower , is up for debate. The Kushners purchased 666 Fifth Avenue on Jared’s birthday in January 2007 for $1.8 billion. Although Jared, who is married to First Daughter Ivanka Trump, divested his stake in the building after taking a job in the White House, he sold it to his family, raising not just concerns about Anbang’s links to the Chinese government but also conflicts of interest. In fact, five Democratic members of Congress wrote to a White House lawyer last week about the would-be deal, which they called “unusually favorable for the Kushners.” Anbang would have invested $400 million in the project, as well as taken out a $4 billion construction loan for renovations, according to reports. Via Artnet

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Philip Johnson’s secret brick and glass home in Manhattan, NYC

March 24, 2017 by  
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You’d never guess a Modernist paradise lies behind the unassuming brick and glass facade of Philip Johnson’s sole private residence in Manhattan . The Rockefeller Guest House sits snugly between two rather typical apartment buildings, but inside is a secret glass house that was the architect’s only New York City residential commission – built near the beginning of Johnson’s career between 1949 and 1950. Johnson is renowned for marvels from his Connecticut Glass House to NYC skyscrapers. But hidden in Manhattan is a work often overlooked: a guest house built for Blanchette Ferry Hooker Rockefeller, the wife of John D. Rockefeller III, to show off her modern art collection and host gatherings. The house that sits on a 25 by 100 foot plot is a designated historical landmark today, but often goes unnoticed. Related: Prefab Glass House lets you bring home the spirit of Philip Johnson’s masterpiece Behind the brick and glass facade is a modernist haven. Separate structures are bridged by a courtyard and pond accessible by a series of large stones. Little has been altered in this home, from the ground floor’s white vinyl tiles to the framing. The long eastern wall is unbroken. The space feels clean and open. The small home was designed to display art, but as New York Times writer Sadie Stein said, it is itself a work of art. Rockefeller donated the house to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1958, which used it as an event space for a time before reselling it. Johnson and his partner David Whitney actually lived in the house for eight years starting in 1971; they leased it from Mrs. Lee Sherrod. In 2000, an undisclosed buyer purchased the home for a staggering $11.16 million – the highest price per square foot in New York history. The New York Times Style Magazine features more photographs and a video you can view here . Via The New York Times and Curbed Images via screenshot and Christian Newton on Flickr

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NYC’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral goes green with new geothermal plant

March 17, 2017 by  
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When St. Patrick’s Day revelers parade past St. Patrick’s Cathedral on NYC’s 5th Avenue today, they will be celebrating not just the patron saint of Ireland, but also a renewable energy future for the famous landmark. Last month, the Archdiocese of New York announced that the historic Saint Patrick’s cathedral activated a new geothermal heating and cooling system that will reduce the building’s energy consumption by more than 30 percent and reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 94,000 kilograms – an impressive feat for the largest Catholic Gothic cathedral in the United States. St. Patrick’s geothermal plant is part of the final phase of a four-year, $177 million renovation that has been overseen by the cathedral’s architectural design team of Murphy, Burnham, & Buttrick working in partnership with Landmark Facilities Group and PW Grosser. It is the institution’s first restoration in more than 70 years (it was dedicated in 1879). Related: Futuristic power plant complex generates clean power through wind, solar and geothermal energy The geothermal heating and cooling system consists of 10 wells in terraces flanking the north and south sides of the cathedral drilled through dense Manhattan schist (a coarse-grained metamorphic rock) to a depth of up to 2,250 feet. When fully activated, the plant will be able to generate 2.9 million BTUs per hour of air conditioning and 3.2 million BTUs per hour of heating through 76,000 square feet of space. While wind and solar grab a bigger share of the renewables market and garner more media attention, the potential for both geothermal electricity and heating is huge. The global geothermal power market is projected to more than double operating capacity to 32 gigawatts by the early 2030s, according to the US and Global Geothermal Power Production Report from the US Geothermal Energy Association. Currently only 6 to 7 percent of the world’s estimated geothermal potential is being harnessed. Related: Pope’s official encyclical: “a bold cultural revolution” can halt climate change The Archdiocese of New York and St. Patrick’s Cathedral are not as interested in tapping the geothermal market as they are in heeding the call of Pope Francis to protect the planet and conserve God’s creation as written in his 2015 encyclical on the environment , Laudato Si. “A consistent ethic of life does not compartmentalize these issues. It prioritizes life and the preservation of life at every level,” said Cathedral Rector Monsignor Robert T. Ritchie. “One of the most basic ways in which we are called to do so is through responsible stewardship of our natural resources.” Images via St. Patrick’s Cathedral , MBB and Local 3 IBEW

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Staten Island is seeking proposals for a High Line park of its own

March 1, 2017 by  
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Why should Manhattan hog all the fun? Staten Island may soon get a “High Line”  of its own. Much like the OG linear park in Chelsea, which was constructed on an elevated section of a historic freight rail line, the proposed North Shore High Line could sprout from a similarly abandoned set of tracks in Port Richmond. The Staten Island Economic Development Corporation , a nonprofit group that advocates for the borough’s economic development, has issued an open call for ideas. “Realizing we have this long abandoned North Shore Rail Line, I wanted to look into how we could replicate what they did in Manhattan,” Cesar Claro, president and CEO of the SIEDC, told SILive . “We met with Friends of the High Line in Manhattan … and came up with a plan using the Manhattan High Line as the roadmap, and it will start with a design competition.” Photo: Screenshot from video by Russ Ott A North Shore High Line along the half-mile stretch between Richmond Terrace at Heberton Avenue to Nicholas Avenue would not only rehabilitate what is currently an illegal dumping ground, but it could also pose an “unprecedented economic and recreational opportunity,” according to Salvatore Calcagno, Jr., SIEDC’s ambassador for the project. “Based on the success of the High Line on the West Side of Manhattan, we believe that activating the dormant line in a similar fashion can be a transformative project for the area. We hope this leads to an active public space along the line,” Calcagno said. A 2014 University of California, San Diego study showed that Manhattan’s High Line boosted the prices of adjacent homes by as much as 10 percent. “If our high line is half as successful as Manhattan’s, it will be a major boon to the community,” Calcagno added. Related: Proposed Staten Island vineyard would produce local wine for New Yorkers Designers who want a shot at $10,000 in prize money have until April 7 to submit a proposal to the SIEDC, which will put the entries to a public vote before announcing the winner at its annual conference on April 27. Claro, the president of the SIEDC, says he hopes to be able to work with local officials to fund the project, which could run up to some $30 million. But even if greenlit, such a scheme would take years, perhaps even decades, to come to fruition. “Keep in mind Manhattan’s High Line took 20 years from idea to creation,” Claro said. + North Shore High Line competition + Staten Island Economic Development Corporation Via SILive and DNAinfo Photos: Screenshots from video by Russ Ott and Wikipedia

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Staten Island is seeking proposals for a High Line park of its own

Uber rolls out unlimited rides in New York City for $100

September 28, 2016 by  
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It just got a little bit easier to get from Point A to Point B in New York City . Uber is rolling out unlimited rides for $100 for two weeks or $200 for the month through their Uber Plus program. While a spokesperson has said subscription plans, which have also been offered in other cities, are a “small beta project,” if they continue they could change the way we get around in urban areas. To start, the plan just works below 125th Street in Manhattan , and all rides must begin and end in the borough. The rides must be UberPOOL rides, or trips shared with other random riders. The plan will begin at the start of October, and users can choose the $100 two week plan for October 1-14 or the $200 plan for the month. If a ride costs more than $20, users must cover the amount that goes over. Related: Uber customers can now order an electric car ride in Chicago In September, Uber offered their Uber Plus program in San Francisco, Washington D.C., Boston, San Diego, Miami, and Seattle. Prices varied but users could pay an upfront fee to get a cheap rate on a certain amount of rides. They are still offering plans in four of those cities (Seattle and Miami can no longer benefit from the offer). For example, in San Francisco in October UberPOOL rides are $3 and UberX rides are $9 , after upfront fees of $20 for 20 trips and $40 for 40 trips. As in Manhattan, there’s a specified zone for the rides: north of Cesar Chavez Street. (September’s offer was $20 for 20 rides, $30 for 40 rides, with UberPOOL at $2 and UberX at $7.) Forbes notes the system is much like an Amazon Prime subscription, which provides an additional incentive to use Amazon. Uber’s program could entice people away from other companies like Lyft, and if they make the program more permanent, could even prompt some locals to give up their cars entirely. It remains to be seen how long Uber will run the program, and if New York City’s offer will change in November as San Francisco’s did from September to October. Via Forbes Images via Uber ( 1 , 2 )

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China’s replica Manhattan is a half-built, abandoned ghost town amid economic woes

February 12, 2015 by  
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Screengrab from NBC News China is well established as the world capital of duplitecture , with everything from its own rendition of the Eiffel Tower to a mock Venice . But their mock Wall Street financial district, constructed at a cost of $50 billion carries its own rather unique ironies. Since the 2009 economic recession, the project—which also includes a mock Rockerfeller Center and its own Hudson River—has been deeply in debt, and sits unfinished and abandoned. Read the rest of China’s replica Manhattan is a half-built, abandoned ghost town amid economic woes Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Architectural Mimicry , Beijing , china , duplitecture , Financial DIstrict , ghost town , manhattan , new york city , NYC , recession , Tianjin , Yujiapu

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Could a Fake Floating Beach Pop Up in Manhattan by 2016?

June 6, 2014 by  
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While the government is trying to prevent sea level rise from washing away the northeastern seaboard, a team of designers have launched an imaginative new concept that’ll make sure a sandy beach is always within reach for New Yorkers. Developed by Blayne Ross and a team of designers, City Beach NYC is an artificial floating beach that is meant to dock anywhere along the Hudson River. Still in its initial conceptual phase, the City Beach NYC team plans to launch their Kickstarter next week and, if successful, aims for an opening date as early as 2016. READ MORE> Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: blayne ross , city beach nyc , craft engineering studio , floating beach , Hudson River , kickstarter , manhattan , manhattan beach , new york city , popup beach , temporary beach , thunderclap , waterfront revitalization initiative , west village , workshop/apd

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