The Omnibus Roundup – another plaza, transit ridership, apps for architects, WTC in 4D and Coney

Union Square, NYC

Photo by Flickr user acmace.

Union Square is the latest stretch of Broadway that might soon become another one of Bloomberg’s “signature open-air concrete parks,” pedestrianized and plaza-ified like Times Square and Herald Square. The proposal will be presented on Monday to the local community board, and the NYC Transportation Department is currently considering the plan’s proposal to ban vehicular traffic along Broadway between 17th and 18th streets and to “reshuffle traffic patterns” around the square.

The New York times reports on the recent release of the New York City Transit’s yearly station-by-station breakdown of subway ridership. They’ve embedded the statistics into a pretty awesome interactive subway map – when you slide your cursor over a particular subway stop, the map displays the average number of daily riders in 2009 and the percent change since 2008. While transit officials attribute the decline to construction, economists tend to identify unemployment as the real issue.

Amongst the sea of thousands of smart phone applications available today, architecture-related app’s remain difficult to track down. So, Architectural Record has the run-down on the growing number of apps for architects, including “Project Photo”, which connects your iPhone photos of buildings with their architectural plans; “Concrete Calc”, which calculates the amount of concrete necessary for a project; and “EcoFlash”, which provides flash cards for LEED exam test-prep. “Dual Level” even turns your iPhone into a construction tool — it allows your phone to act as a level and measure when a surface is horizontal.

NY1 has featured the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center’s online software modeling system that offers a 4-D model of the World Trade Center redevelopment. The modeling software allows viewers to see 3-D renderings of the project’s estimated future progress at various points in time (the fourth dimension!) While the software was developed primarily for construction coordination, the LMDD is currently incorporating the 4-D modeling system into their website, which will allow residents to plan their lives around the development.

If you want to learn more about the World Trade Center redevelopment and other megaprojects, check out the New School’s summer course, “The Politics of Urban Megadevelopment.”  The urban planning class — that Curbed describes as “Development Battles become Homework” — will be based on some of the city’s most controversial megaprojects and will examine Atlantic Yards, the World Trade Center rebuilding, and the Jets Stadium/Hudson Yards proposal, among others.

Debates surrounding the future of Coney Island have raged for years, and many have voiced their concerns about the area’s demise. BoingBoing features photographer Joshua Brown’s beautiful and eerie short film that presents a wintery and seemingly-abandoned Coney Island. Scouting New York recently posted “Abandoned Coney Island,” a photo essay that ventures inside the now derelict Bank of Coney Island building. Those worried about the decline of amusements in the area might enjoy this animated virtual tour of Luna Park, the new amusement park set to open this Memorial Day. Located on 6.9 acres of land that the city bought from developer Joe Sitt for over $95 million, the park will feature 19 new rides, including a “Wild River” ride inspired by the original park’s ride, “Shoot the Chutes,” which you can see in all its 1903 glory below:

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