The Omnibus Roundup – Coney, infrastructure, BRT, taxi sharing & global street food

Gold. Mermaid Parade, 2008. Coney Island. Photo courtesy of James A. Reeves.

After public consideration of competing visions for Coney Island’s future, the City’s plan for the iconic seaside destination was approved by the City Planning Commission this week. Next up: final approval by the city council for the effort to secure long term viability and prosperity for the neighborhood while maintaining its popular recreational character. King Neptune (aka Mr Harvey Keitel) says: do not miss the annual Mermaid parade tomorrow, an untamed menagerie of costume and color.

This week we examined how a historic mass of urban infrastructure, essential if unwieldy, could be reconsidered and reframed as the centerpiece of Queens Plaza‘s revitalization. In case you never got around to reading all the New York Times Magazine’s take on the changing nature and conception of US infrastructure in the age of internet, recession and stimulus, our friends at The Infrastructurist created an illuminating summary of the special issue.

New York is beginning to roll out a long range plan for Bus Rapid Transit, a form of street-level public transportation that allows buses exclusive rights of way while streamlining boarding and fare collection. WNYC interviews NYC Department of Transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan on the site of New York City’s BRT pilot line on Fordham Road in the Bronx.

While GoLoco founder Robin Chase thinks we’ll look back on our era and be surprised that we preferred to ride in cars by ourselves, it appears that riders at New York’s only officially sanctioned taxi share station in Yorkville on the Upper East Side are wary of interaction. We’re willing to bet, however, that riders will warm to each other as the city implements its cab share plan and other ride share services in New York (here and here) and farther afield take off.

Urban food production strategies seem to be making strides in every scale and neighborhood: from school rooftops to a 132-story dragonfly-inspired farm for Roosevelt Island, from personal gardens to a 12,000 square foot industrial rooftop opposite the Jamaica LIRR station, plans are in the works to dramatically increase the scale of urban agriculture in New York.

Elevating the review of street vendors beyond culinary anthology to cultural retrospective, the Global Street Food exhibition at Art Basel is “dedicated to the fascination with improvised kitchens in public places”. And if you found the Center for Urban Pedagogy‘s efforts to educate and advocate for not only street vendors but also potential victims of predatory equity inspiring, answer the call for advocates for this year’s Making Policy Public advocacy/design collaborations.


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.