Suozzi: How to Save Suburbia

The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is a sports and concert stadium. That’s it.

Gubernatorial candidate Thomas Suozzi, who is the Nassau County executive, wants to create an economic powerhouse around the Nassau Coliseum’s 77-acre expanse. How? The standby answer. High-rises, anchoring a giant mixed-use development.

nassaucoliseum Suozzi: How to Save Suburbia
The Residences at the Nassau Coliseum, drawn up by architect Charles Wang.

Suozzi handed planning responsibilities over to Reckson Associates to develop residential and office towers, parks, a hotel and a minor league baseball stadium to boot. (Some renderings here, via Newsday.)

But this is not just fodder for votes.

“America’s oldest cities do not grow outward in concentric circles, but by leapfrogging and doubling back,” Newsday reports.

Basically, suburbia needs to find a way to compromise its “picket-fence dream” with the growing population. Here, Suozzi is modeling an architectural solution to density that counters America’s sprawling tradition. “The New Suburbia”: Up, not out.

However, the design component cannot be overlooked. Otherwise, it would be like plopping “a slice of Albany down into the middle of Nassau County.” And the current layout is looking rather cold. Newsday recommends that the potential Governor organize a charrette and an architectural competition to foster community involvement and greater creativity in the project, like Van Alen Institute’s “Urban Voids” contest for Philadelphia.

“As builders in super-heated real-estate markets like Manhattan have begun to understand, good architecture may cost more, but it makes financial sense.”

- Riva Froymovich