December 2008
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Archive for December, 2008

ImagineConey Public Meeting January 14th, 2009

imagine coney island brooklyn new york historic preservation

The hundreds of ideas for the future of Coney Island that have been submitted so far to ImagineConey are some of the most creative, thoughtful ideas ever submitted in a process of this kind – from a proposal to build a Sushi Skate Park to rebuilding the Elephant Hotel. You can view them by clicking on the Gallery button on the ImagineConey website. If you haven’t yet had an opportunity to submit an idea, the deadline for submissions is now January 15, and an exhibit featuring all the ideas and the charrette results will open at the MAS on January 27 2009.

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rendering imagine coney laura collins bubble

This is the third in a series of posts describing the latest submissions to ImagineConey, the MAS initiative to develop bold new ideas for Coney Island.

This week’s ImagineConey post focuses on ideas submitted that embody Coney’s tradition of being a testing ground for invention and technological advances. In addition to entertaining visitors, Coney Island was a place where entrepreneurs came to try out their zany ideas. The hotdog was invented at Feltman’s while the first baby incubators were set up in Coney Island before they were accepted by the global medical community. Luna Park’s use of one million incandescent light bulbs was also a global first. Here are some of the inventive-submissions:

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Featured Place That Matters: Pratt’s New Year’s Eve Steam Whistle Blow

pratt new years eve steam whistles

The New Year’s Eve Steam Whistle Blow at Pratt Institute, located at 200 Willoughby Avenue in Brooklyn, was nominated to the Census of Places that Matter for being a literal New Year’s Eve blast!

Steam whistles, salvaged from trains, riverboats, ocean liners and factories, are kept in Pratt’s steam-powered plant, the oldest, privately-owned, continuously operating, power plant of its kind in the country. Conrad Milster, Pratt’s longtime Chief Engineer, blew the first whistle of his collection on New Year’s Eve 1965. Over the past four decades his collection has grown, as has the popularity of his annual New Year’s Eve steam whistle blast. Pratt’s website boasts:

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A Moveable Landmark

One of New York City’s most unusual landmarks is the Carroll Street Bridge, which spans Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal. Built in 1888-89 (Robert Van Buren, chief engineer; George Ingram, engineer in charge), it is one of the oldest remaining bridges in New York City, and one of only four known “retractile” bridges in the United States. We were lucky enough to be in the neighborhood when the bridge was opening, offering a special opportunity to see how this rare bridge operates.

As an official New York City landmark, the bridge is protected from inappropriate changes or demolition. However, MAS is concerned that plans for a major residential development, by Toll Brothers, adjacent to the bridge could bring increased auto traffic challenging the limits of the bridge’s structural capacity.

A Conversation: Ada Louise Huxtable & Kent Barwick

Ada Louise Huxtable

Architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable was born and raised in New York City. She attended good schools, but believes that “being in New York was the education.” In 1963, Ms. Huxtable became the first architecture critic at The New York Times (indeed, the first architecture critic at any daily newspaper in the United States). She won the first Pulitzer Prize for criticism and was a MacArthur Foundation Fellow. Above all, she is a writer who knows what she thinks and says it.

Members of the Municipal Art Society and the Architectural League of New York are invited to join Ms. Huxtable and MAS President Emeritus Kent Barwick on Wednesday, January 21, at 7:00 p.m., for what will doubtless be a fascinating conversation between two of the city’s most eloquent voices in the fields of architecture and urban planning.