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Neighbourhood News

Neighbourhood News: June 9th

Unpaved Paradise and Get Rid of that Parking Lot

Design by Field Operations and Diller Scofidio +

Design by Field Operations and Diller Scofidio +

New York Magazine

Elevated

The High Line’s levitating parkland has been so long and so rapturously anticipated that the nine-block segment that opens this week can hardly compete with its own story. The tale is a triumph of urban salvage. A pair of young preservationists falls in love with a weedy, ironbound rail bed threading its way above the streets of West Chelsea and the meatpacking district. Owners of the lots it crosses want to tear it down. Finally, through the miracle of persuasion, the elevated railway is converted from eyesore to amenity. But wait: There’s the real-estate subplot! Developers use the little park to leverage their most wild-eyed ambitions. City officials rewrite the zoning, values climb, and architects arrive from the far corners of the realm.

At this point we find ourselves with two distinct High Lines. One is a quiet passeggiata of deliberately rough design, the other a larger district of new art and fresh development. A year ago, the condos popping up along Tenth Avenue were a visible expression of consumer confidence. Cocky buyers were spending $2,000 for each square foot of as-yet-nonexistent floor space and a hundred times that much for a patch of colored canvas with which to adorn their future walls. (The world has changed; the apartments keep on coming, whether they’re wanted or not, and who knows if anyone will be buying art to furnish them?) Read More

The Real Deal

Times Square Goes From Pavement To Park

(Source:ratherbebiking on Flickr)ratherbebiking

(Source: ratherbebiking on Flickr)

In those humble, semi-comical lawn chairs that are newly strewn across Broadway at the intersection of Times Square, you are witnessing the future of New York City and, indeed, the future of the city itself as a human institution

As of last week, the Bloomberg administration made good on its promise to close Broadway down, at least provisionally, from 42nd to 47th streets (and also from 33rd to 35th streets). In part the pilot project is intended to relieve congestion by redirecting vehicular traffic to Sixth and Seventh avenues. (The mayor has yet to decide whether the pedestrian mall will be permanent.)

But more vitally, it is a recognition of how cities are evolving on our post-industrial planet. For the first time in history, urban-ness has become its own reward. People come to cities not for their careers, but for the sheer pleasure of urban experience. And though it is well known that New York was the first city to enter the modern age, it is no less true that it is the first city to have entered the post-industrial age. Read More

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