The Omnibus Roundup – charrettes, walking tours, art shows, iPhone apps

Designers! There is still space for you to take part in a stimulating charrette tomorrow afternoon at the Noguchi Museum. Design in 5 is a group of the League that provides unique opportunities and activities for designers of all disciplines five years or less out of school in order to exchange ideas across disciplines, foster camaraderie, and above all, have fun.

The first part of the brief will be sent to registered participants on Friday, October 16 (that’s today!) On Saturday, the 17th at 2:00 p.m., the specific design problem will be given to participants at the Noguchi Museum to solve in roughly two hours. All work will then be pinned up and the invited jury will hold an open discussion and critique with participants. A critical conversation will emerge from the work generated and the questions posed by the original brief. Sign up now. Click here for details.


A trolley cart rolls below the old Myrtle-Wyckoff station.

For those who prefer walking to sketching, it seems the imminence of winter is not slowing the pace of walking tours around town. This weekend check out local historian and high school teacher Adam Schwartz as he leads a group of 30 (RSVP now!) through central Bushwick this Saturday, Oct. 17 at 11 a.m. and invites everyone to come along for a journey back into the days when trolleys rumbled down our streets.  The tour will begin at Myrtle-Wyckoff subway station and venture towards Broadway, passing the newest firehouse in the city, Hope Gardens, St. Barbara’s Catholic Church and the Bushwick-Linden Garden along the way. Tickets are $11 and space is limited to 30 people.

And for those who’d prefer to spend your weekend art-viewing instead of winter-wandering, then be sure to check out two exhibits that respond provocatively to issues close to the hearts of Omnibus readers and riders: traffic and trash. At Glowlab, the visionaries who have brought us the Conflux Festival for the past five years are currently exhibiting a solo show of the artist Heather Johnson, whose new body of work “fixates on the circulatory nature of urban movement, referencing the connections between city inhabitants, vehicles and public transportation systems.” And at Salon 94, architect and artist Maya Lin, known best for large scale earthworks and monumental memorials, shares some of her small-scale work, eight asteroid-like, spherical “sculptures made from discarded children’s toys and salvaged materials.”

In the news this week, straphangers sue to the annul sale of Atlantic Yards, one of the biggest real estate deals ever is on the brink of default, and the city’s largest Spanish language newspaper, El Diario, likens Mayor Mike to Hugo Chavez in its endorsement of William Thompson.

What’s your favorite smartphone app? New York Magazine put this question to some locals selected at random, “Some recognizable names, some not,” and more than a few of the answers reveal that smartphones have a lot to offer the navigation of our urban environment:

Jose Antonio Vargas, tech editor, Huffington Post
Favorite app: Exit Strategy NYC (iPhone/iPod Touch), $2.99
“I was running late last week and used it to figure out the exact subway car on the B to get on so I’d hit my exit at Broadway–Lafayette. It worked!”

Michael Goldberg, marketing exective, Zimmerman Advertising
Favorite app: CrossWalk (iPhone/iPod Touch), $2.99
“Punch in an address, and it gives you the cross street in two seconds.”

Eric Hahn, process server
Favorite app: UpNext (iPhone/iPod Touch), $2.99
“You can zoom in and see an outline of every building near you. Touch one, and a list of every business located in there pops up.”

Philip Blake, IT specialist
Favorite app: SitOrSquat (iPhone/iPod Touch), free
“It shows you the closest public restrooms. It’s comforting.”

Adam Benton, portfolio manager, Clearwater Analytics
Favorite app: Zipcar (iPhone/iPod Touch), free
“It’s new and freakin’ sweet. Once you rent a car, you can unlock the doors with your phone. The app looks like any other car-key remote.”

But if your app preferences tend toward the green, then check out TreeHugger’s list of more than 100 iPhone apps for a greener everything. We know what our new favorite app is… the Museum of the Phantom City. Get psyched for more of the backstory of and next steps for that project in next week’s feature, and get ready for a Halloween day meet-up with the app’s designers where you can really get your phantom on.


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

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