PBS Thirteen’s Sunday Arts program profiles Materials for the Arts (MFTA), the amazing and popular New York City materials reuse program. Founded in 1978 and still growing under the aegis of the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs, MFTA negotiates the transfer of hundreds of tons of materials annually from companies and individuals who no longer need them into the custody of artists and educators citywide who can make use of them. They are the largest provider of free art supplies to the City’s public school system and also serve as a treasure trove for non-profit and public entities engaged in cultural, health and social programs. We’ve been to their 25,000 sq. ft warehouse in Long Island City, and it’s truly incredible to consider their daily turnover in astonishingly valuable materials that would have otherwise entered the waste stream.
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.
We received our beautiful, custom Key to the City yesterday from the folks at Creative Time. Feeling empowered and ready to open up that hidden door in the Brooklyn Museum. We also installed and verified the locked box inside the Freshkills Park tour bus. Tour attendees who hold the Key to the City: just let the tour guide know, and he/she will present the box and its exciting contents to you. We think this will be a really fun and enriching complement to the tours. (A note on this: we’ve reserved a limited number of seats on every public bus tour this summer for holders of the Key to the City. If you’re interested in joining a 10am or 1pm tour on 6/5, 6/19, 7/10, 7/24, 8/7 or 8/21 and you’ve got the Key, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line Key to the City, to check availability.)
You can participate in Paul Ramirez Jonas’ summer-long project by being bestowed a key at the Times Square kiosk for the project, which opens today at 6pm and will start operating daily tomorrow through June 27th. You can also volunteer to be an official “key master,” distributing keys in the heart of Times Square.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently released a draft of its plan for a new direction in waste management, “Beyond Waste: A Sustainable Materials Management Strategy for New York.” The plan aims to shift the state’s waste management focus from the end of the waste chain closer to the beginning, more emphatically supporting waste reduction, reuse and recycling. It proposes stricter regulation for solid waste management, educational programs for businesses and individuals and a shift to manufacturer responsibility in the creation of products and packaging. If implemented, the DEC projects the plan could reduce the State’s waste production from 14 million tons annually to 2 million tons.
The DEC will be holding a series of public meetings about the plan throughout the month—New York City’s meeting will be June 8th at the Department of Public Health. DEC will be accepting public comments on the draft through July 6th.
Public hearing about the draft NYS Solid Waste Management Plan
June 8th, 5 pm
New York City Department of Health
125 Worth Street, 2nd Floor Auditorium, Manhattan
The fifth annual Staten Island Film Festival starts tomorrow and features a slate of dozens of intriguing short and feature-length films, many of them about or featuring New York City’s outer boroughs. Participating filmmakers include 15 from Staten Island (including Wu-Tang Clan leader the RZA) as well as many more from throughout New York City and as far afield as Las Vegas and Australia. Some of these films sound amazing, and especially in the case of the Staten Island-based ones, this could be the best opportunity to catch them. The festival kicks off at the St. George Theatre with Michael J. Weithorn’s A Little Help tomorrow at 7pm.
The Center for Urban Pedagogy‘s (CUP) playful and informative 2006 video The Water Underground is now available in full online at Places. The 24-minute piece examines and explores New York City’s water supply, treatment and waste infrastructure, its history and prevailing controversies—the students interviewed engineers, plant superintendents, construction workers, marine biologists, urban divers, educators, and environmental justice advocates. Working in partnership with the Lower East Side Ecology Center, CUP worked with students at City-as-School and through the Parks Department’s RECYouth program to research and produce the video.
(via Urban Omnibus)
Working with public art commissioning organization Creative Time, artist Paul Ramírez Jonas has assembled a project called Key to the City that will be taking place throughout New York City this summer. 35,000 specially crafted keys will be given away at daily ‘bestowal ceremonies’ at a kiosk in Times Square from June 3rd to 27th. The keys unlock 25 unique sites across the city for any keyholder. Locks will be operable through the end of the summer.
The Key to the City reinvents the civic honor of bestowing keys on luminaries as a master key able to unlock more than 20 sites across New York City’s five boroughs—such as locks within the Brooklyn Museum, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Tortilleria Nixtamal, Conference House Park, Rincon Crillo Cultural Center, and many more. Members of the public will award thousands of these custom-made keys to each other in one-to-one ceremonies.
Yes, Freshkills Park is among the sites with a lock that can be opened with the Key to the City. Recipients of the key (all 35,000) will also receive a map and guide to wielding it which will indicate how to make use of the key on the Freshkills Park site tour.
Times Square Key to the City Kiosk
open Mon–Fri 2–8pm, Sat–Sun 12–8pm
from June 3rd to 27th
The excellent “Fast Trash” exhibit—featuring Roosevelt Island‘s signature pneumatic vacuum tube garbage disposal system—closed this past weekend. A series of public programs including screenings, walking tours and even musical theater helped to make the exhibit, curated by architect Juliette Spertus, into a real must-see. The video above, which featured at Gallery RIVAA, doesn’t provide the larger international and infrastructural context of the full exhibit, but does provide a look at the history and operation of the pneumatic tube system. It also offers the reminder that no matter how elegantly designed the disposal system, garbage is not pretty.
This coming Tuesday, we’re happy to have photographer Nathan Kensinger joining us for a Staten-Island-centered follow-up to his March talk and slideshow on New York’s post-industrial waterfront. Nathan will be presenting photos from around Staten Island, including an abandoned chewing gum factory, a partially demolished color works, rotting train stations, empty hospitals and boat graveyards. His work has been described in the Staten Island Advance as documenting “places that even the forgotten have forgotten.”
This talk will be co-hosted by the Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island. Should be a fun one.
Tuesday, May 18, 6:30 p.m. @ Cargo Cafe
120 Bay Street, Staten Island (a short walk from the St. George Ferry Terminal)
FREE| No RSVP necessary