The Omnibus Roundup – WTC, subway photos, Nets arena, parks, maps and urban sketchers

Among all the other things this date evokes, it also brings reminders of broken promises, feuds and memorials at the World Trade Center site.

Another anniversary we’re remembering these days is… the arrival of the Dutch. Lots of exciting events going on this weekend and beyond. Especially of interest is the Pioneers of Change festival of Dutch design, fashion and architecture going down on Governor’s Island through the 20th.

We’re gearing up for a September and October full of talking transit and commuting with WNYC. And as the Cityscapes team gets ready to launch their Door to Door series – which will include a couple meet-ups we’re co-sponsoring – they want your subway photos! In other mass transit news, Jay Walder has been confirmed as the chairman and CEO of the MTA, a rank the Post and Gothamist agree is equivalent to czar.

On the off-chance you haven’t seen them yet, check out the latest renderings of the new scheme for the Nets Arena at Atlantic Yards, a collaboration between SHoP Architects and Ellerbe Becket. The architecture critics of the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, Nicolai Ouroussoff and Christopher Hawthorne, have both put in their two cents, and the project has also received the critical scrutiny of the Independent Budget Office, whose report finds a $40 million-dollar shortfall between the project’s public subsidies and projected increases in tax revenue.

As you’ll be reminded in the coming weeks, our abiding obsessions include parks and maps. Our buds at the Infrastructurist have put these two essential elements of urbanism together, and with the help of Google Earth and good taste, proudly proclaim their list of The Ten Greatest City Parks. While we would have appreciated mention of some of the innovative recent additions to the global canon of large urban parks – say, Al-Azhar Park in Cairo or Simón Bolívar Metropolitan Park in Bogotá, for example – we dig the instinct to compare public amenities at the same scale.

We are also, of course, into comparisons over time. So while you wait for Nadal’s rain date, check out an amazing mapping and urban planning resource, called OASIS, that allows you to view the USTA Tennis Center’s construction over the years. Steve Romalewski, who directs the CUNY Center for Urban Research, will be sharing some of the other incredible implications of this resource right here on the Omnibus in a couple weeks. Stay tuned.

The satellite’s-eye-view and digital imagery, however, are no substitute for the personal point-of-view and pen-and-ink-on-paper that have characterized much urban imagery since Brunelleschi’s invention of linear perspective. Urban Sketchers is a group of enthusiasts who post incredible drawings of their wanderings throughout the world’s cities to their site and flickr pool. Check out their wicked cool self-published mag of drawings of cars in cities around the world.


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