Parks: what’s there not to dislike?
A group of parks activists in Queens have been pushing “QueensWay,” a linear park that would be built atop the old Rockaway Beach Branch of the Long Island Rail Road in the central and southern parts of the borough. As New York Times opinion writer Eleanor Randolph put it in her pro-QueensWay piece, it “has no celebrity patrons, no Diane von Furstenberg, no Barry Diller, no big-name donors to give enough seed money to turn the park into a fashion statement.”
But with a High Line-like makeover, she wrote, “QueensWay would offer both a walkway and a bike path. There could be small shops or stands featuring cheese guava buns, dim sum dumplings, pani puri or yam fufu.”
Since 1986, Steven Spinola has served as president of the Real Estate Board of New York, the powerful lobbying arm that he has captained through two recessions, property tax reductions and a series of battles against the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. The Commercial Observer spoke to Mr. Spinola, 63, about what he learned in 2011, new battles for the New Year, his weakness for skiing and whether he’d rather be drinking with Robert Moses or Jane Jacobs. Hint: His answer probably won’t surprise anybody.
In Da Slope
On Monday, The Real Estate Desk looked at what’s wrong with Brooklyn’s Fourth Avenue and why its 2003 rezoning has come in for mixed-reviews. The Desk’s theory was subpar design, but hoping to make a contribution instead of simply criticizing the six-lane street, we asked a few experts for their thoughts.
City Planning spokewoman Read More
When Jane Jacobs died in 2006, the Silverleaf Tavern on Park Avenue named a drink in her honor. A Jane Jacobs, which costs $14, consists of Hendrick’s gin, elderflower syrup, orange bitters and sparkling wine.
Elderflower syrup: This is not an ingredient you would associate with the White Read More
The present state of Jane Jacobs Way probably would have surprised the late urban activist. The White Horse Tavern, Jacobs’ haunt, lives on, although its sidewalk café crowd has turned pretty Polo shirty. The surrounding blocks are populated by purveyors of the over-hyped and tiny: Little Marc Jacobs and Magnolia Bakery.
The West Village Read More
Twenty Minutes in Manhattan
by Michael Sorkin
University of Chicago Press, 272 pages, $27
Although it sounds like a contradiction in terms, Michael Sorkin has long been the bad boy of architectural criticism. As the house critic for The Village Voice in the 1980s, Sorkin mounted an unrelenting war on all things postmodern, wielding a Read More
The West Village townhouse at 555 Hudson Street where the late Jane Jacobs wrote her iconic The Death and Life of Great American Cities nearly 50 years ago is now on the market through Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Lida Drummond, offering spacious rooms and a rich history for a bargain price: $3.5 million.
The Rockefeller Foundation is now taking nominations for the second annual Jane Jacobs Medal. The Municipal Art Society administers the medal, which goes to "two living individuals whose creative vision for the urban environment has significantly contributed to the vibrancy and variety of New York City."
Last year’s winners were Barry Benepe, pioneer of New Read More
At a panel discussion last night on development in the city, multiple community organizers and the Reverend Calvin Butts, pastor of Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church, criticized the process of forming community benefits agreements (CBAs) in order to bolster public and governmental support for large development projects.
The tool seems to be a Read More
Even the developers at a Municipal Art Society panel held Tuesday night seemed a little overwhelmed by the popularity of New York and its consequences—and these were developers, speaking on what could be called “Developers Night” in the series of programs held in conjunction with the Jane Jacobs exhibit.