There are many obstacles standing in the way of transforming the famously depressing Penn Station into something more befitting of the nation's busiest transit hub, and one of those obstacles is Madison Square Garden.(1)
On a hazy Monday morning, Rami Metal, a City Council aide who’d borrowed his girlfriend’s creaky blue bike to give me a tour of the Greenpoint-Williamsburg waterfront, gestured to a parking lot full of white-and-blue MTA Access-a-Ride vans and said, “A beautiful park, right?”(1)
Borough President Scott Stringer’s proposal yesterday to raise taxes on the wealthy does not seem to have found favor with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said during his regular radio appearance this morning, “We want to attract wealthy people from around the world to come and live here, because that’s our tax base.”
One of the hot topics at the sixth annual “Fit City” conference was stairs.
If this weren’t clear from the several images of stairs on material handed out at the Center for Architecture yesterday, there was this, from David Burney, the commissioner of the NYC Department of Design and Construction:
“I think bringing back the staircase is probably one of the biggest design opportunities since the invention of the elevator, because the elevator effectively killed the staircase,” he said. “It became this horrible dingy place, in the back of the building. So we’d like to bring that back. It becomes a programmed space, it becomes a social space."
For the last few decades, it has been taken as a given by urban planners that “urban renewal,” the approach to planning in the 1950s and early '60s that resulted in bulldozed neighborhoods, modern public housing projects, and lots of urban highways, was a bad way to go about building a city. It has been taken as a given that a better way to go about it is to make the streets better for people and worse for cars, and encourage “mixed-use” development, among other things.
From a planning perspective, the Lindsay administration was most extraordinary, said City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden, and since Bloomberg appointed her, "each principle of the Lindsay administration we have tried to embrace and honor."(2)