July 2007
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Archive for July, 2007

MAS Program Focuses on How NYC Can Adapt to Climate Change

On June 11, 2007, MAS in conjunction with the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance hosted a groundbreaking expert panel focusing on the measure New York City should undertake in order to adapt to global climate change. According to Columbia University’s Center for Climate Systems Research, the sea-level around New York City may rise more than two feet by the year 2080. In addition, “flooding by major storms would inundate many low-lying neighborhoods and shut down the metropolitan transportation system with much greater frequency.” Continue Reading>>

Morrone on the Farley Post Office

Moynihan StationFrancis Morrone, in a piece in the New York Sun on the Hudson Yards [The Fate of the Hudson Yards] provides some interesting information about the Farley Post Office:
Continue east on 31st street. Between Eighth and Ninth avenues stands the enormous General Post Office, or Farley Post Office, as it’s been known since it ceased to be the main post office. McKim, Mead & White designed the monumental classical edifice that rose between 1908 and 1913. Its style complemented Pennsylvania Station, on the other side of Eighth Avenue, demolished in 1963. The post office’s 20 53-foot-high Corinthian columns across its Eight Avenue front form the longest colonnade in the city. The building continues to function as a branch post office, and has attracted much interest for what might be built inside its voluminous spaces. For a long time we believed the building soon would welcome Moynihan Station, a new passenger facility to relieve in part the sinful ugliness of the 1968 Penn Station underneath Madison Square Garden.But the same Cablevision folks who helped scotch the stadium now want in on the post office, too, so that a new train station may share space with a new sporting arena. Stay tuned.
Morrone concludes with a note on the translation of the post office inscription, providing one of the rare circumstances where an architect is less prolix than others:
Meantime, not only does the post office boast our longest colonnade, but what must be our longest inscription: “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” It comes from volume 4, book 8, line 98 of “The Histories” of Herodotus, from the Fifth century B.C.E., as translated by William Mitchell Kendall — the McKim, Mead & White partner who designed the building. Perhaps Kendall indulged a bit of license. The University of Chicago classicist David Grene translated the same line as, “And him neither snow nor rain nor heat nor night holds back for the accomplishment of the course that has been assigned to him, as quickly as he may.”

Investigating Where We Live 2007: Downtown Duo

On view Wednesday, August 8 through Monday September 10, 2007 Opening Reception: Wednesday, August 8, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. This exhibition features the photographs and writings of New York City middle- and high-school students enrolled in the Investigating Where We Live program. This year, they compared and contrasted many facets of Lower Manhattan and Greenwich Village. Continue Reading>>

Three Architecture Firms Retained for Penn Station District Development

Architectural Record reports that Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM), Foster + Partners, and Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) have been retained by a joint venture of the Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust as architects for the multi-billion-dollar-project to redevelop the Pennsylvania Station district. The article [SOM, Foster, and KPF to Remake Penn Station] by Russell Fortmeyer published 16 July 2007, noted that Foster will prepare the master plan for the site which includes Penn Station, Madison Square Garden (MSG), and One and Two Penn Plaza, two office towers. David Childs, a partner with Skidmore Owings & Merrill, says his firm will focus on the Moynihan Station project in the Farley Post Office building. The article notes that “Moynihan Station could act as the front door to a relocated MSG to the west, as well as house retail space that may include a large department store.” It also notes that Kohn Pedersen Fox will design a 2-million-square-foot skyscraper that will be taller than the Empire State Building, for a site at the corner of 34th Street and 7th Avenue. The named sources for the article are Bud Perrone, with Rubenstein Communications, who is a spokesman for the developers; Errol Cockfield, a spokesperson for the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC); and David Childs.

Times Sports Columnist Vecsey Sides With a Landmark Penn Station

George Vecsey, sports columnist for the New York Times, writes a railroad fan’s plea for a landmark Penn Station, and warns that the Dolans and Cablevision, current owners of Madison Square Garden, might spoil the train station again. In “With the Dolans Involved, Expect More Ugliness,” [New York Times Select] Vecsey notes:
I’ve been waiting four decades for New York to atone for the sin of destroying the beautiful Beaux-Arts train station, and now we learn that the proposed station may have to share space with the cable guys. Continue Reading>>