The Omnibus Roundup – Broadway, overleverage, Putting Lot, taxis, Manhattanhenge

This week on the Omnibus, the city’s much anticipated closing of Broadway’s midtown blocks spearheaded by DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan was heralded as a manifold success: relief for traffic circulation! A triumph for public space — moveable chaises longues! Elsewhere, vox populi interviews refute detractors. Got another angle on Times Square without cars? Let us know.

When we shared the story of how Glen Cummings helped to make predatory equity easier to understand, we highlighted a process unfolding in places like Harlem and the South Bronx. Meanwhile, market-rate conversion pioneer Tishman Speyer may not have been quite as reckless in financing its 5.4 billion dollar purchase of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village in 2006, but its comparably mammoth debt may still prove untenable. While Holly Leicht (who helped to secure land transfers for East New York’s urban farms) doesn’t thinkthe shoe has dropped yet for overleveraged buildings“, we hope that efforts like Glen, Amy, and Dina’s will help promote viable solutions to the growing problem.

Meanwhile, closer to Urban Omnibus hearts and headquarters, cleanup of Brooklyn’s fetid (and fêted) Gowanus Canal is seeping into the spotlight, as the city and the EPA Superfund battle each other for the right to ameliorate its sediments. The timetable and viability of development plans based on proposed rezoning of the surrounding blocks hang in the balance. The Gotham Gazette’s Toxic New York series presents arguments both pro and con for Superfund remediation, along with pollution primers on Staten Island’s North Shore mess and the “pewter-hued” Newtown Creek, inspired nature walk notwithstanding. Stay tuned: Urban Omnibus just might invite you over to the Old American Can Factory to chat about what Superfund consideration means, and what’s at stake.

Designs are in and construction has begun on The Putting Lot, Bushwick’s newest urban design-themed miniature golf amenity.

Proving that design-based discourse can aid public policy, The NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission is adopting several key recommendations from our friends the Design Trust for Public Space‘s study and publication Taxi 07: Roads Forward.

For our mates in London: as the summer produce season kicks up, don’t miss your last chance to see the Building Centre’s London Yields: Urban Agriculture exhibition, which closes tomorrow. For those who can’t make it, check out this review on Iconeye or some musings on the subject at BLDGBLOG.

And if you have chance tomorrow evening around 8:17pm, step outside to observe the sun set in exact alignment with the city grid. Like the monoliths of England’s Stonehenge, the buildings bounding the chasms of Manhattan’s east-west arterials perfectly frame retreating solar rays twice a year.


The Roundup keeps you up to date with topics we’ve featured and other things we think are worth knowing about.

The views expressed here are those of the authors only and do not reflect the position of The Architectural League of New York.