The 9/11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan is a living memorial in more ways the one. Approximately 400 swamp white oak trees were transplanted from the New Jersey countryside to the Memorial Park, which also happens to be one of the largest and most complex “green roofs” in the world—planted atop a seven-story, below-ground museum. Brooklyn-based filmmaker Scott Elliott seeks to explore this confluence of remembrance, monumentality, and landscape architecture in a feature-length documentary, The Trees, and he’s looking to Kickstarter to help cover post-production costs in time to get the film on next year’s festival circuit. Learn more about his project in the below pre-trailer of sorts.
parks + public spaces
Following a brick-by-brick renovation, NYC restaurant Tavern on the Green is back, and its formerly over-the-top interiors have been transformed with a “robber-baron-meets-sheep-barn” aesthetic and the aspiration to be “food-centric.” We sent writer Nancy Lazarus to take a peek under the famous red canopy.
The sunny Central Park room at the new Tavern on the Green was formerly known as the Crystal Room. (All photos courtesy Robin Caiola)
“Now we can be part of the park,” said restaurateur Jim Caiola, referring to the recently reopened landmark, Tavern on the Green. He and partner David Salama of Emerald Green Group were awarded a 20-year lease to the legendary restaurant, long associated with Broadway show parties, special family occasions, and a role serving as movie backdrop.
“Only the name, the beams and the shell of the Victorian building remain from the old Tavern”, said spokesperson Steven Hall. “Everything else was handpicked by Jim and David.” The pair renovated the interior, while the property’s New York City landlord worked on the exterior. Others involved in the restoration were architect Richard Lewis, lighting designer Ken Billington, and landscape architect Robin Key. It’s been a major investment and long haul.
It’s a daunting project to design a new website for a design-driven, project-based New York City nonprofit: The Design Trust for Public Space (motto: “We love public space.”). Kiss Me I’m Polish and Type/Code were up for the design and development challenges, respectively, and behold the freshly launched Designtrust.org. The new site is intended to be “an effective tool for cities, citizens, and organizations worldwide interested in initiating change in their communities,” according to the Design Trust. In addition to a database of Design Trust initiatives such as Five Borough Farm and Under the Elevated, it includes case studies, a publications library, and an impact map of projects across the five boroughs.
What’s your sign? That old astrological pick-up line is at the core of the project that emerged victorious in this year’s Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition, co-hosted by Van Alen Institute. Brooklyn-based Young Projects bested fellow finalists Haiko Cornelissen Architecten, Pernilla Ohrstedt Studio, Schaum/Shieh Architects, SOFTlab, and The Living with “Match-Maker” (pictured). The amorphous sculpture, on view in Father Duffy Square in Times Square through March 11, is a cosmic connector: “Guided by their zodiac sign, visitors arrange themselves at twelve points around the heart-shaped sculpture,” according to Young Projects, which worked with Kammetal on the construction. “Peering through colorful, interwoven periscopes provides glimpses of each viewer’s four most ideal astrological mates, offering potential novel connections between lonely souls or settled lovers.”
Watch out, High Line, there’s a new park in town. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was on hand yesterday to unveil a 5.5-acre waterfront park and several roadways at the site of the Hunter’s Point South development in Queens. We dispatched writer Nancy Lazarus to assess the city’s newest green space.
The multi-use green oval at Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park, which opened to the public yesterday. (All photos: Albert Vecerka/Esto)
Many New Yorkers know Long Island City from the Silvercup or Pepsi signs visible across the East River. Art enthusiasts associate LIC with galleries, studios, and MoMA’s PS1. With the opening of Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park, locals now have recreational reasons to visit. So hop on the subway or East River Ferry and bring your cameras, bicycles, bathing suits, and dogs to NYC’s newest waterfront oasis.
Hunter’s Point South development, formerly known as “Queens West,” would have hosted an Olympic village if New York had won its 2012 bid. New York City Economic Development Corporation is overseeing the project, and Thomas Balsley Associates and Weiss/Manfredi collaborated on Phase 1, the design of the park and open space, with ARUP acting as prime consultant and infrastructure designers. Affordable housing and a school are also being built.
During a recent press tour, Marion Weiss, Michael Manfredi, and Thomas Balsley described how they converted the former marshland and industrial area for leisure use. While the tour was on a bright sunny day, the area was designed to be sustainable and to withstand storms. According to Weiss, the park flooded briefly during storm Sandy, but the water quickly receded, thanks to their water runoff and conservation system. There’s more official interest now in addressing potential floods, Manfredi added.
Francophiles abound at UnBeige HQ, and with Bastille Day approaching, we’re stocking up on macarons and planning to sing La Marseillaise whilst astride a carousel horse that’s been around since the Third Republic. We sent writer Nancy Lazarus to preview the world’s first traveling festival of vintage carnival rides and carousels as it makes its stateside debut.
Lady Liberty is green with envy. While the famous statue just reopened to the public, another French attraction, Fête Paradiso, makes its debut tomorrow on a neighboring isle in New York Harbor. The collection of late 19th and early 20th century carousels, swing sets, pipe organ, and games arrived here after six months of planning and a four-week installation period (by a French artisan family that rebuilt the rides on the island). The carnival rides will be open and operational during weekends through September 29.
“Governors Island is known for its fantastic view of the Statue of Liberty, and now we can further celebrate French-American relations,” said Leslie Koch, president of The Trust for Governors Island during a preview this week. She noted that the event’s exotic name derives from the film Cinema Paradiso, though “it’s hard to imagine it all here in the middle of New York City.”
“I’ve come to New York with my toys, after many years of dreaming about restoring this ménage,” explained Fête Paradiso’s creative director and carnival rides collector, Régis Masclet. “I’d been working alone on these French festivals, but after a wonderful encounter with fellow collector Roger Staub, I’ve been allowed to realize my dream.”
Fontastic graffiti, stencilled on a wall in Guelph, Ontario.
“The plague of Times New Roman is the unspoken disease of our age….[S]urprisingly, given a visual training, some architects have fallen victim to the plague. Times New Roman is often incised into new buildings in major cities, unrelated to the essence of their architectural character. Before the TNR outbreak, beautiful signage was normal, whether a take on a classic of architectural typography, or a font pushing the progressive zeitgeist of the building style. Those were the old times. Now a 1930s newspaper font is a default setting for monumental inscription. It’s one that we must switch off.”
(Photo: Jonathan Blanc)
It’s the summer of children’s books in New York. The Society of Illustrators is celebrating the creative legacy of Maurice Sendak with an exhibition of more than 200 Sendak originals, and his beloved wild things can also be found rumpusing at the New York Public Library as part of “The ABC of It,” a show that examines why children’s books are important, what and how they teach children, and what they reveal about the societies that produced them. Among the books and objects on view through March 2014 is this recreation of the great green room of Margaret Wise Brown‘s Goodnight Moon, complete with a red balloon and a picture of the cow jumping over the moon.
Raymond Pettibon, “No Title (Safe he called…),” 2010. (Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner)
Take me out to the High Line, where Raymond Pettibon has thrown out the summer’s first public art pitch–a baseball-themed billboard. The jumbo-sized version of “No Title (Safe he called…),” a 2010 work from the artist’s famous series of baseball drawings, debuts today in the sky above West 18th Street and 10th Avenue in New York as the tenth installment of the High Line Billboard series. We suggest visiting with a group to discuss the array of cultural references, from the depiction of a game between the the Boston Red Sox and the Brooklyn Dodgers (before their 1957 defection to Los Angeles) and references to Moses (brokers of Biblical and civil power, who knew from exoduses) to shout-outs to Jackie Robinson and Biggie (“Where Brooklyn At?”). As the latter would say, “Anytime you’re ready, check it,” but make sure anytime is within the next month, or you’re out! Of luck, that is, because the billboard is on view through July 1.
From across the pond and into a SO-IL-designed tent pitched on the banks of the East River, it’s Frieze New York, back for a sophomore edition after attracting some 45,000 visitors to its stateside debut last year. The fair, which opens today, is the largest ever hosted by Frieze, according to directors Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover. All that’s standing between you and the offerings of 189 galleries ranging from Air de Paris to Zeno X is the commute to Randall’s Island, the 480-acre park that Robert Moses first designated for recreational use–before that it was home to public facilities such as a boys’ home, a hospital, and a home for civil war veterans, which all sound like promising fodder for future Frieze Projects, the fair’s site-specific program of art projects. Prepare for your island adventure by watching the below video.
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