Tag Archives: big apple

  • 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.

  • The Story Behind Those Charming Gantries

    Throughout the 20th century, gantry cranes were used to transport people and goods to/from barges and ships along New York City’s coasts. At the time that the gantries were built, manufacturing jobs were drawing people from across the world to the Big Apple. As the city slowly became industrialized and more bridges were built, trucks became the main means for moving goods around. Consequently, gantries went out of use by the 1980s.

    Today, you can still spot a few gantries along the city’s waterfront. Two of them are located in Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City and were originally built in the 1920s. These particular gantries were used to lift trains that arrived from Long Island onto barges in the East River to supply the rest of the nation with different goods. Another gantry, located at 69th Street on the Hudson River, was built in 1911 and served as a floating bridge that aided in the transfer of trains from land to water. The train cars were then transported from Manhattan’s Upper West Side to Weehawken, New Jersey by ferries.

    Over the past years, development projects in the neighborhoods around gantries have led to their revitalization. The most popular ones are in Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City and Domino Park in Williamsburg.

    In 1998, the two gantries in Gantry Plaza State Park were repainted black and the words “Long Island” were written across them in bright red letters. The gantries became a main focal point in the redevelopment project along Long Island City’s waterfront, which included the construction of the 10-acre Gantry Plaza State Park. The railroad tracks are still visible in parts of the park, hinting at its history.

    Further south, in Williamsburg, the gantry crane that lifted sugar from ships that arrived from Caribbean plantations was repainted turquoise blue during the construction of Domino Park. The 6-acre park was built on the former site of the Domino Sugar Refinery, which operated there from the 1880s to 2004.

  • Old Subway Fleet Supports New York Marine Life

    New York City’s subway system has been steadily replacing its old fleet with newer train models over the past decade. This begs the question of what happens to the old trains once they permanently go out of service. Between 2001 – 2010, the subway reef program offered a solution & a home for the 2,500 retired train cars by introducing them to a new aquatic environment. After their motors, lighting, air conditioning units, etc. were removed, the old subway car shells were placed on the ocean floor. Here they were transformed into artificial subway reefs where they improved the marine environments for a variety of sea life. The new reefs have since attracted sea bass, tuna, mussels, sponges, and coral. Sea Train, a new exhibition at the New York Transit Museum, which opened March 20, features up-close photography of the subway reefs by Stephen Mallon.

  • 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!

  • Rise of the NYC Mega Mansion

    The race for Manhattan’s most talked about mega mansion continues to heat up. A townhouse at 134 Charles Street in the West Village has joined the growing list of luxury homes on New York’s real estate market – including the similarly priced penthouse on the 95th floor of 432 Park Avenue, located just a few steps away from Central Park.
    The new $80 Million West Village mansion will not top the famous Woolworth Building’s record-breaking price tag for its penthouse, which is set at a whopping $110 Million. However, the 18,000 square foot townhouse, designed by Leroy Street Studio and the renowned Edmund Hollander Landscape Architects, promises to reach new heights in indoor/outdoor luxury living.
    Amenities in the 6-bedroom home include a rooftop infinity-edge swimming pool, a stadium-style home movie theatre and a full-size squash court. Exclusive panoramic views of the Hudson River and Manhattan’s beautiful skyline will crown this private city retreat once it’s completed.

  • Top Secret New York: Sylvan Terrace

    Sylvan Terrace is one of New York’s best kept secrets, even for many locals. Twenty quaint row houses line a side street in Washington Heights, Manhattan, where an unassuming staircase between apartment buildings on St. Nicholas Avenue leads up to this surprising sight. At the end of Sylvan Terrace, which was originally a carriage drive, sits the Morris-Jumel Mansion – the oldest house in Manhattan. The house is located inside the Roger Morris Park and once served as George Washington’s temporary headquarters during the Revolutionary War. It is also the former home of the politician Aaron Burr. Why does that name sound familiar? Perhaps the fact that Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote parts of his 2015 musical Hamilton here should be a hint.

  • MoMa's Upcoming Expansion

    Construction involving any prestigious institution is a rare undertaking. The Museum of Modern Art's ambitious plan by star architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro to substantially extend and convert the current space has been getting a lot of buzz. The idea behind the re-design is to make the museum more open and welcoming; plans include a revamping of the museum's lobby and the famous Bauhaus staircase, expanding gallery space by 50,000 square feet (about 4,600 square meters), and opening up the East hall. MoMa is always worth a visit for architecture and modern art fans, but the completion of the re-design in 2019 will definitely add a layer of urgency to the next visit.

  • Designer Thomas Heatherwick Puts His Stamp on Chelsea's Skyline

    The design principal domineering most of New York's new real estate developments seem to be mirrored and seamless glass fronts. Naturally, the recently unveiled plans for the construction of two residential towers in Chelsea (Manhattan) drew particular attention. Their unusual look is mainly driven by the barrel-shaped windows, which reference the gridded exteriors of warehouses in the area. The building pair by British designer Thomas Heatherwick will flank the popular High Line Park and fascinate with stunning Hudson River views.

  • Houston, We Have a Problem

    There are streets in New York whose names are known throughout the whole world. Some of them are so famous that they’re even associated with entire branches of industry. “Wall Street” stands for the global financial market, and the name “Broadway” is almost always followed by the word “musical.“ What is the history behind these street names? How did they come to be? LOCALIKE set out on a search for clues. We’ve collected the most interesting facts and want to share them with you.

    Before we begin, we’d like to make a brief excursion into the city’s history. Once upon a time, New York was actually called New Amsterdam and—yup, you guessed it—was a Dutch colony. The Dutch maintained power for a good part of the 17th century, but eventually the New Amsterdam business acumen became a burden: the trading posts were so lucrative that, in 1664, the British took over, and the city was renamed that same year.

    Wall Street
    Unfortunately, there’s no clear explanation for the name of this famous street, except that it was once called “de Waal Straat.” There are two different theories. One suggests that for a while, the street acted as the northern border of the young colony and was therefore called “wall.“ According to the second theory, the street takes its name from the 30 Walloon families that were some of the first Europeans to settle in Manhattan.

    Avenue of the Americas
    It’s possible this street name won’t ring a bell, and in fact, New Yorkers never use it themselves. However, it’s actually the official name for 6th Avenue. In 1945, at the insistence of Fiorello LaGuardia, the mayor at the time, the then run-down avenue was renamed in tribute to the Organization of American States. This international organization, whose members included the U.S.A., Canada, and Mexico, no longer exists. As far as Mayor LaGuardia’s name goes: it’s been kept alive by one of the city’s two airports.

    Christopher Street
    This street in the West Village was named after the British admiral Charles Christopher Amons. Today, though, it’s a symbol of the LGBTQ movement. It was at the Stonewall Inn on this street that the 1969 riots against the police force began.

    Park Avenue
    Today, Park Avenue is one of the most representative residential addresses in the world. Earlier it was just called 4th Avenue (according to its placement in the grid). What is now a green strip between the two lanes used to be tracks for the train line to Harlem. When these tracks gave way to green in the 1950s, the days of “4th Avenue” were also numbered.

    Lexington Avenue
    This avenue, which has both northbound and southbound traffic (this is unusual for New York) is named after a battle in the American Revolution. More interesting than that, though, is the fact that it shouldn’t even actually exist. It runs exactly between 3rd and 4th Avenues (the latter was renamed, as we mentioned). Why, then, is Lex, as New Yorkers call it, there at all? Because landowners expected to generate higher estate prices this way.

    New York’s oldest north-south axis was actually once called “Breedeweg,“ which in Dutch simply means “wide street.“ Today’s name, then, is a simple translation. Broadway not only runs through all of Manhattan and the Bronx—it ends about 30 km outside of the city limits.

    Another Dutch thing. “Bouwerij“ is Dutch for “farm,“ and “Bowery“ expresses the sound of that word to English-speaking ears. This spot, which connects Chinatown to the East Village, connected Wall Street to the bordering farmland back in the day.

    Houston Street
    The origins of this street name are rather boring and complicated—its pronunciation is the more important issue at hand. Let’s say you’ve just successfully hailed a cab and (justifiably) feel a little like a local. Your destination is on Houston Street, so you say “Houston Street“ as you’d pronounce the city in Texas (HIU-ston). Well, Houston, we have a problem—the taxi driver now wonders where exactly he should take you. In fact, the street is correctly pronounced (HOW-ston). Why, you ask? Oddly enough, there’s no good explanation.

    And, just so you can show off with ALL the facts on your next visit to New York, we’d like to inform you of one last thing. This time it’s not about streets but rather about city districts, namely Harlem and Brooklyn. In the Netherlands, there’s a city called Haarlem and a city called Breukelen. We’ll leave it at that.
    Keep on searching for facts—and see you soon in New York!