The New York City Department of Transportation has announced the winner of its reNEWable Times Square design competition, aimed to temporarily “refresh and revive” the streetscape of newly pedestrianized Times Square while plans for permanent reconstruction proceed (construction is slated for 1012). Brooklyn artist Molly Dilworth‘s Cool Water, Hot Island was selected from 150 submitted designs for the pedestrian zones along Broadway from 47th to 42nd Streets. The piece is a large-scale painted installation abstractly interpreting—and mitigating!—Manhattan’s heat island effect. From NYCDOT’s release:
The proposed design’s color palette of striking blues and whites reflects more sunlight and absorb less heat – improving the look of these popular pedestrian plazas while making them more comfortable to sit in. The color and patterns evoke water, suggesting a river flowing through the center of Times Square, and they also provide a compelling visual counterpoint to the reds, oranges and yellows of the area’s signature marquees and billboards.
Quick on the heels of the springtime public opening of Pier 1, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation opened the Pier 6 section of the new park this past weekend. The $55 million area features a 1.6-acre playground with a water play space, 21 swings, slides, a 6,000-square-foot sandbox, a marsh garden, a dog run and bikeway and pedestrian promenades. It’s a very spectacular play space. The pier also features a dock that offers free weekend ferry service to Governors Island, which is also now open to the public for the summer season.
Three sand volleyball courts and additional lawns will open up at Pier 6 later this year, and a restaurant with a roof deck will open next year.
A new, 16,000 square foot skate park is now under construction near the 1964 World’s Fair site in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. In a subtle nod to the mash-up of architectural styles typical of many historic World’s Fairs, the course will feature elements inspired by popular street skating spots around New York City:
- Original Brooklyn Banks 9-stair replica rail
- Union Square rail/steps
- Police Plaza 7-stair rail/various stairs
- Ziegfeld ledge
- Chrystie Park ledge
- Exchange Place street gap
- JFK Banks
- Con Ed Banks
- Pyramid ledges
- Flushing Meadows Park ledge-over-the-grate replica
- Various rails in public parks and the aesthetics of many of the spots in Brooklyn
The course is being built in advance of the Maloof Money Cup, a skate competition that will be held June 5th and 6th; the competiion donated the course through the Parks Department’s Adopt-a-Park program.
Update: Urban Omnibus offers a reflection on choice skating spots in New York City.
The City of New York has just released a new publication and policy initiative called Active Design Guidelines: Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design. The guidelines, which have been developed through an interagency effort in collaboration with professional and academic institutions, make simple and accessible recommendations about how design of built features in the City can and should address public health concerns related to obesity and physical activity. Commissioned, essentially, by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the guidelines are to provide a public health overlay on the sustainability and livability initiatives already being implemented by the Departments of Parks & Recreation, Transportation, City Planning and Design, Development and Construction. Recommendations are organized in checklists and by scale of design intervention, from large-scale planning down to architectural details. Urban Omnibus offers a positive appraisal:
The recommendations are not just good for the environment or good design moves. They create a city whose infrastructure is designed to keep us fit, active, and healthy. They address pressing social problems through fairly innocuous and inoffensive measures that are understandable by everyone and can be implemented at all scales.
The City of New York has announced a $15 million project to clean up 38 acres of wetlands adjacent to the Paerdegat Basin Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Facility on Jamaica Bay in Brooklyn. According to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the project–slated for completion in 2012–will begin this Spring to improve water quality in the Paerdegat Basin by re-introducing native plants to the salt marsh and grassland habitats.
Central to the success of the project is an improved Combined Sewer Overflow facility. The current facility is unable to treat the full volume of sewage entering the plant, forcing the overflow of untreated sewage into the Paerdegat Basin, especially during heavy rains. Improvements will increase the capacity of the facility to 50 million gallons of raw sewage, restore the shoreline to improve storm water absorption and create a 5-acre “Ecology Park,” allowing the public access to the restored wetlands and an educational center with exhibits about coastal habitats. The project is funded by a portion of the $220 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding received by the City for water infrastructure improvements through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.
Landscape architecture and urban design firm James Corner Field Operations has prepared three new design proposals re-imagining Cleveland’s Public Square. The downtown park is bisected by two roads and perceived, in its current state, as a dead zone between skyscrapers. The proposals aim to restore a “town commons” feel and prioritize pedestrians, creating a celebrated public amenity and increasing real-estate values in the area. The firm, now famous for their design of the High Line and Freshkills Park, was commissioned by non-profit organizations ParkWorks and Downtown Cleveland Alliance to produce the designs, which will soon be presented to the public in a town hall meeting.
The first phase of development is underway for 1,347-acre brownfield transformation project Orange County Great Park. $65.5 million will fund the expansion of a 27.5-acre “Preview Park,” which opened in 2008 and features an observation balloon providing visitors a high-flying view of the entire site. Scheduled to be complete by the end of 2011, the new phase of construction will develop 200 acres and include sports fields, arts and cultural space, a 100-acre farm, a 2,500-tree orange orchard, a community garden and an agricultural pavilion. The park is being constructed on the site of the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, which operated from 1942 until 1999.
According to the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), biking in New York City has increased by 26% in 2009. This is following a 35% increase in 2008 and corresponds with 200 miles of new striped or separated bike routes developed over the past three years. DOT’s graph, below, shows just how big the uptick has been.
The ‘Indicator Values’ on the Y-axis are derived by dividing the cyclist count for each year by the value for the year 2000 and multiplied by 100 (further explanation of the data is available through DOT). DOT collected their data by counting cyclists crossing 50th Street on the Hudson River Greenway, riding over the four East River bridges, and entering and exiting the Staten Island Ferry at Whitehall Terminal.
Hey! I’m Walkin’ Here! presents another Staten Island group walk tomorrow, Saturday, November 7th, roaming 15 miles of the island’s south shore. Lots of beach walking and some rock scrambling involved; dress for the temperature and wear sturdy shoes. Participation is free, and Saturday’s walk will start with a meetup underneath the first S in the Staten Island Ferry sign outside the Staten Island Ferry Terminal in Manhattan at 8:45 am.
The New York Times runs down recent initiatives aimed at making New York City parks more accessible and accommodating to immigrants. These efforts have been accelerating as a result of the city’s language-access plan and a report from New Yorkers for Parks called Parks for All New Yorkers: Immigrants, Culture and NYC Parks. The Parks Department has installed over 7000 signs in parks so far in languages including Spanish, Korean, Italian, Chinese, Russian and Haitian Creole, and it has begun an initiative to hire more bilingual and multilingual city parks workers. The City has also begun addressing demand for sports facilities that accommodate internationally popular sports such as cricket, netball and bocce ball through construction of new facilities, and there has been a trend toward more international cuisine among food vendors, to complement more traditional park snacks like hot dogs and pretzels.