Tag Archives: architecture

  • A New Beach is Coming to Manhattan

    Over the past 20 years, we have seen Manhattan’s West side waterfront change dramatically with the completion of Hudson River Park, the High Line & the massive development project Hudson Yards. As new architectural marvels have gone up, so have green parks and playgrounds that bring everyday life to the waterfront. And now, Hudson River Park (the second largest park in Manhattan) is set to get another new feature: A beach! It will be a first for the island. Here’s a sneak peak of the new Gansevoort Peninsula Park, which will make its debut in 2022.

    The 5.5-acre park, which used to be the site of a department of sanitation building, boasts different amenities. It will include a sandy beach for lounging, lots of green space, sports fields, a salt marsh, a dog run, and kayaking. The park, which sits right on the water, will provide New Yorkers and visitors with the opportunity to get up close to the Hudson River's increasingly lively ecology.

    Gansevoort Peninsula was designed by James Corner Field Operations, which also developed the High Line and Domino Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

  • Manhattanhenge: A Beloved NYC Phenomenon

    Manhattanhenge has become almost as world famous as New York City itself over the past years. If the name doesn’t ring a bell and you are wondering what it might actually be, here’s a little insight. The name Manhattanhenge is inspired by Stonehenge: the circle of stones in England which are believed to have been built to align with the sun’s movement. During Manhattanhenge, Manhattan’s street grid aligns with the sun to create a beautiful spectacle.

    The street grid in Manhattan doesn’t perfectly run north-south and east-west because – everything is rotated roughly 29-degrees clockwise due to the way the city was planned & designed. There are two days in May and July on which the sun shines through its grid as it sets at a 32-degree angle (north of true west). This means that a few weeks before and after the solstice, the sun sets at a favorable angle to Manhattan’s grid, setting the scene for a spectacular phenomenon.

    Manhattanhenge is the island’s most photogenic day and you will notice people descending upon 14th, 23rd, 42nd & 57th Streets to catch a glimpse of or photograph this spectacular phenomenon. The city feels surreal during these moments as everyone turns westward to observe the sunset. It’s a beautiful moment worth witnessing at least once in your life time.

    But while Manhattanhenge focuses on Manhattan, the other boroughs also offer their own dramatic sunsets or “Mini-henges”. So, if you happen to be visiting New York at a different time of the year, you can still witness spectacular sunsets. Using the online tool at NYCHenge, you can calculate where a “Mini-henge” will happen in NYC throughout the year. In the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Greenpoint, East Williamsburg and Bed-Stuy, for example, the best time to watch the sunset is at the beginning of October. Check out this nifty tool to see where you can catch beautiful sunsets throughout New York City while you’re here: http://go.localike.com/rp2

  • Charming Mini Trips with New York Ferry

    Ferry service in NYC began in 1817 with trips between Staten Island and Manhattan. With 23.9 million passengers each year, the Staten Island Ferry it is the busiest ferry route in the United States and the world's busiest passenger-only ferry system. After 200 years, the city has introduced 6 additional ferry routes and expanded service to all five boroughs. This translates to 4 million more passengers on the East River each year. Though the public ferry can get crowded during the summer months, locals and visitors agree: It’s the most scenic (and sometimes fastest) way to get around and the best $2.75 you can spend while in NYC.

    The public NYC Ferry is very popular with New Yorkers commuting to/from work in waterfront Neighborhoods along the East River. Besides running efficiently and on-time, it offers on-board snacks or drinks, including Rosé on tap – a relaxing treat on a summer evening. Speaking of summer evenings…How does a gorgeous view of the Manhattan skyline or Brooklyn Bridge at sunset sound as a backdrop for your ferry ride? Most public ferries have an outdoor deck with spectacular, unobstructed views of your favorite iconic landmarks.
    LOCALIKE Tip: Want to enjoy a mini beach excursion? Take the Rockaway ferry from Lower Manhattan to Rockaway, Queens where you will find locals surfing, or frolicking in the sun and the Atlantic Ocean. For more info, visit: http://go.localike.com/toi

  • TWA Hotel Brings 60s Charm back to New York

    One of New York’s most anticipated hotel openings this year was the TWA hotel at JFK Airport. The former TWA terminal, designed by architect Eero Saarinen in the 1960s, has now been converted into a 512-room hotel while retaining its mid-century flair. As of May 15, guests have been checking-in pre or post flight to enjoy this revived New York City gem outfitted with design pieces by the likes of Richard Eames, Isamu Noguchi & Saarinen himself.

    The flight center building, which has been transformed into the hotel lobby, features shops, a reading room, a fitness center and other special amenities. The lobby’s second floor showcases TWA uniforms that were designed by Ralph Lauren & Valentino (to name a few) over the years.

    The main building also boasts two restaurants by celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, including the all-day Paris Café. Swanky cocktails and small bites are served in the Sunken Lounge, which is also run by Vongerichten’s team. Also notable is Connie, a cocktail bar located a decommissioned 125-seat Lockheed Constellation propeller airline.

    If sipping on retro cocktails while watching planes take off poolside is more of your thing, this Space Age architectural marvel offers the perfect nostalgic setting to indulge your phantasies. With a quick elevator ride to the rooftop visitors can enjoy a cool new feature that was added during the $265 million renovation: a sleek infinity pool with panoramic views of the biggest runway at JFK. The rooftop also offers an up-close view of Bay Runway, which once served as a backup landing strip for NASA’s Space Shuttle.

  • Celebrating The High Line's 10th Anniversary

    The High line turned 10 this year! Join us as we look back at the history of one of New York’s most cherished parks:

    In the mid-1800s 10th Avenue was branded “Death Avenue” because of the numerous accidents caused by freight train crossings on street level traffic. To address this problem, the city created a 13-mile-long elevated railroad, which became known as the High Line. Between 1934 & 1980, the elevated trains transported meat to the Meatpacking District, milk & produce to factories and warehouses on Manhattan’s West Side, as well as mail to the main Post Office on 34th Street. The tracks connected directly to different factories and warehouses, allowing trains to roll right into buildings without causing traffic on the street level.

    The original High Line ran from 34th Street (now Hudson Yards) to St. John’s Park Terminal, at Spring Street (now West Village). During the 1960s, the southern section of the tracks were demolished after interstate truck deliveries steadily decreased the need for rail traffic along Manhattan’s West Side. In 1980, the last train ran on the High Line pulling in three carloads of frozen turkeys.

    In the mid-1980s, a group of property owners around the High Line tried to convince the city to demolish the entire structure. Local Chelsea residents, activists and railroad enthusiasts fought the demolition efforts in court for several decades. By 1999, a group called Friends of the High Line was founded by Joshua David and Robert Hammond (residents of the High Line neighborhood) to advocate for the High Line’s preservation and reuse as an open public space. After winning a lawsuit challenging the city’s plans for complete demolition of the remaining tracks, the group successfully advocated for the repurposing of the structure and space.

    June 9, 2019 marked the 10-year anniversary of the High Line opening to the public. Within a short time, it has become one of the most beloved parks in the city, and is favored by visitors and New Yorkers alike. The park attained almost immediate iconic status. Each part of the 1.5-mile walk through the park gives you a different view of New York from high above: architectural masterpieces, native plants & greenery, art & sculptures, and occasionally, once in a lifetime performances. The park has also become a gallery for watching New Yorkers, who don’t mind being observed while they go on about their lives at home.

    The beautiful park, which stretches from the Meatpacking District to the Hudson Rail Yards in Manhattan, is a design collaboration between James Corner Field Operations, Piet Oudolf and Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

    Happy Birthday, High Line Park!

  • Three Waldorf Astoria Artifacts Are Being Exhibited This Spring

    Ever wonder what happened to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel since it closed in 2017? The famous hotel is currently being converted into luxury apartments and hotel rooms in a restoration & redevelopment project set for completion in 2021. The hotel portion will have 350 rooms, compared with 1,413 previously. 

    The public will continue to have access to parts of the Waldorf-Astoria’s landmarked interior spaces once it reopens. This includes the West Lobby on Park Avenue and the area formerly known as Peacock Alley (the large passageway connecting Waldorf and Astoria in The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, which was home to the eponymous restaurant serving its world-famous brunch).

    Until the new space re-opens, the current owners are collaborating with New York Historical Society to exhibit three of the hotel’s famous vintage artifacts:

    • Cole Porter’s 1907 Steinway grand piano, which is being restored at the Steinway & Sons factory in Queens. The famous songwriter & musician lived in a huge suite on the Waldorf’s 33rd floor—where the piano was located—for many years. He wrote some of his best musicals and songs (“You’re the Top,” “Anything Goes”) there.
    • A rocking chair that was a gift from President John F. Kennedy, which was located in the Presidential Suite.
    • The iconic World’s Fair clock, which was originally designed for the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. It will return to the lobby, where it was located prior to the renovation.

  • Hudson Yards: The Largest Private Development Project in US History is Here

    Hudson Yards, the largest private construction project in US history, with a 25-billion-dollar price tag opened this Friday on Manhattan’s West Side. The project consists of 16 buildings (commercial & residential skyscrapers, a museum, hotel, shopping center etc.) Here are a few highlights:

    • The Vessel
    Consisting of 154 intricately interconnected staircases, and nearly 2,500 individual steps & 80 pedestals, the Vessel is an art project with a viewing platform designed by Thomas Heatherwick. Tickets are available for free.

    • The Shed
    A contemporary art & performance venue that commissions cutting-edge projects in pop culture. This venue, with an architectural structure that contracts and expands, will open to the public with a much-anticipated performance by Björk in its first season.

    • Shops & Restaurants
    From fast-food to fine dining restaurants, Hudson Yards brings new food & dining concepts by celebrated chefs David Chang, José Andrés & Thomas Keller under one roof – making it an exciting destination for food connoisseurs. High-end retailers such as Fendi and Dior also have a footprint in the development next to Zara & H&M - over 100 shops & restaurants in total.

  • A Quick Round of Jenga in Midtown Manhattan

    Speaking about skyscrapers these days has become a race in superlatives. The huge buildings are constantly being ranked & compared in terms of their height, value, age or eco-efficiency. 270 Park Avenue, on first sight, might seem like a modest competitor in this arena. The skyscraper, which was completed in 1964, is by no means an insignificant dwarf. Its 52 floors are spread over a towering 705 ft (205 meters) in a Midcentury architectural style with a steel and glass façade. 270 Park Avenue’s claim to skyscraper superstardom is coming into fruition in an unexpected way. It will be the tallest building ever demolished when it is torn down later this year. It’s a rather strange record to set, but a new record nonetheless.

    The building, which is owned by J.P. Morgan Chase, serves as the bank's headquarters. Over the years, the tower has slowly become cramped, with 6,000 people occupying as space that was originally designed for 3,500. But thanks to a recent change in zoning laws in Midtown, Manhattan, the construction of much higher buildings than was previously permitted is now possible. This, of course has been music to J.P. Morgan Chase’s ears. The bank has chosen to keep its footprint and build a taller skyscraper after demolishing 270 Park Avenue.

    The architectural community and concerned citizens alike are criticizing the project to demolish 270 Park Avenue. Besides seeming like the building was injected into the present day from the Mad Men era, 270 Park Avenue is also the only building of this size that was planned by a woman: Architect Natalie De Blois. De Blois worked for the world-famous architecture firm "SOM" at the time it was built. The firm’s name has become ubiquitous when it comes to top projects throughout the city. Their most famous work is Mies van der Rohe's Lever House.

    The renowned architect Norman Foster has already signed on to build J.P. Morgan Chase’s new headquarters. The 70-storey high building will accommodate 15,000 employees. And just in case you're wondering how a building of this size will be demolished in the busy streets of Midtown, Manhattan, here’s a clue: Imagine taking apart a "Jenga" tower piece by piece from above. But hopefully nothing will topple over...

  • Pier 54 Becomes Diller Island / Pier 55

    The construction of Diller Island (Pier 55), a new park on the Hudson River, is progressing quickly, since it began in the Spring of 2018. The $250 million project was conceived by, and is financially backed by, Barry Diller and his wife, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg. The public park will float on vessels atop the Hudson River, where the southern tip of the High Line is currently situated. Diller Island will replace Pier 54, where survivors of the Titanic were once brought ashore in April 1912.

    The 2.7-acre park’s playful design is reminiscent of Peter Pan’s “Neverland” and is perched on top of 132 specially crafted concrete pots that are arranged in an undulating, organic form. It was designed by the London-based Heatherwick Studio and New York’s own Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects. The park is scheduled to open in the Fall of 2020 and will offer optimal views of New York’s skyline, while providing spaces for visitors to freely eat, relax and enjoy music and performances.

    The new park will also feature a 700-seat amphitheater for music, dance and theater, as well as two open-air landscaped areas, where performances will be staged. The aim is to offer 51 percent of tickets to the public for free, or under $30, once the arts programming begins in the Spring of 2021.

  • Essex Crossing: A Development Project Made for New York

    New York's landscape is constantly being shaped by new development projects emerging across the city. Essex Crossing, set for completion in 2020, is the latest project creating a lot of buzz around Manhattan's Lower East Side. Over 1,000 new residences, offices and retail spaces will make up the 1.9 million sqft development, which will also include parks, open green space and other cultural destinations. The International Center of Photography will make the new hub its permanent home, next to a new bowling alley, a movie theatre in the neighborhood. Four major subway lines (F/M/J/Z) will offer easy access to New Yorkers coming from all directions of the city.

    The project is being launched in several phases. One of the two residential towers, The Essex, opened up 98 apartments to renters in 2018, with studio apartments starting at circa 3,750 USD. The luxury apartments include a billiards lounge, a garden terrace, rooftop decks and a small urban farm. Condo sales at the second tower, 242 Broome Street, have been strong. More than 75% of the units, which were designed by the world-renowned SHoP Architects, were sold by the end of 2018. A 1-bedroom apartment in the building, which boasts its own entertainment lounge and panoramic roof top terraces, starts at 1.3 million USD.

    The Market Line at Essex Crossing, is a world-class market with over 150 local vendors that will unite a grocery, a gallery area, and food hall under one roof. The grocery will be the first to open in Spring 2019, occupying one entire city block. Some of the vendors at the current Essex Street Market (home to New York's oldest & legendary mom-and-pop food vendors) have already relocated to new shops at the Market Line, with more to join. The gallery area, which will also occupy its own block, will combine the vibrant Lower East Side art scene with clothing boutiques, independent designers, and a live music venue to create a dynamic cultural destination. The food hall will offer prepared foods in a modern, market-style setting for quick bites and shopping. 2020 can't come soon enough!

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