The Omnibus Roundup – Grimshaw, cab stands, bike racks, creek clean-up, Armory controversy, and floorplan porn

Grimshaw-designed street furniture, courtesy of Cemusa

Next Tuesday, the Architectural League will host a talk by Andrew Whalley, who heads up the New York Office of the international architecture firm Grimshaw Architects. Many of this firm’s current and recent work has Urban Omni-love written all over it, from the expansion of the Queens Museum of Art to the Fulton Street Transit Center to the massive overhaul of New York’s street furniture, including 3,300 bus shelters, 330 newsstands and 20 automatic public toilets. So come out next Tuesday to the Great Hall at Cooper Union and hear all about Grimshaw’s work. (And, remember, if you are a member of the Architectural League, admission is free. Please join today, and make note if you’re an Omnibus reader; we could really use your support).

In their respective Omnibus features, both Robin Chase and Rachel Abrams spoke of the incredible potential of instituting some sort of ride-sharing scheme for New York City cabs. Well, the Taxi and Limousine Commission is all set to move forward with three cab stands – at 57th Street and Eighth Avenue, 72nd Street and Third Avenue, and 72nd Street and Columbus. Our take? Sounds cool, but the fact that all routes are fixed to head down Park Avenue to 42nd Street makes it seem rather like a bus. Where would you like to see a cab stand where you can share a cut-rate cab with a stranger? Let us know in the comments.

Or maybe shared cab-stand recommendations could follow the trend of map-based, user-suggested, urban problem solving. Instead of using the internet to flag a pothole or report a code violation, you can use this site to make your voice heard on the best location for bike racks.

Newton Creek news just in: five oil companies are working on a deal to pay for the investigation phase of the Creek’s clean-up, which will end up being far more expensive and complicated than the one for the Gowanus Canal.

An entirely different sort of relationship between private money and public aspirations has sparked intense debate and protests at the proposed Kingsbridge Armory mall conversion, over the issue of requiring a living wage for retail workers. Going forward, we think we’ll be following this one pretty closely, so if there’s a blogger out there who wants to cover this project, get in touch.

On a lighter note, we couldn’t help but agree with Curbed that Columbia’s historic real estate brochure collection is 100% floorplan porn! The online database “consists of over 9,200 advertising brochures, floor plans, price lists, and related materials that document residential and commercial real estate development in the five boroughs of New York and outlying vicinities from the 1920s to the 1970s.” The digitization of all Brooklyn addresses in the collection is complete, Manhattan will be available in January 2010, and the rest are forthcoming, borough by borough. Hot.

Address: 35 Prospect Park West | Borough: Brooklyn, New York City | Neighborhood: Park Slope – Gowanus | Architect: Roth, Emery | Owner / Agent: Realty Associates, Inc. 35 Park West Corp. Bruton, Francis X. | Format: Brochure | Call number: YR.0499.BR.002.004


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.