The Omnibus Roundup – Floating Pool returns, citywide car-share, sewer cleaning and woolly gardens

Floating Pool

Photo by Philippe Baumann

Summer is just around the corner and that means outdoor movies, lazy days in the park, ice cream — and some sweltering heat. It isn’t always easy to escape from climbing temperatures. New York City only has 54 public pools for its 8 million plus residents and with only 50 of those open this summer, many will not be able to take advantage of the facilities. But for some Bronx residents, relief has returned via tugboat. The Floating Pool Lady – a barge turned floating pool, familiar to Omnibus readers from our conversations with founder Ann Buttenwieser and designer Jonathan Kirschenfeld – made the trip back to Barretto Point Park earlier this week. The pool has anchored in Hunts Point during the summer months since 2008 and will open this year on June 29th.

Hoboken, which is where Zipcar made its debut in New Jersey, officially launched the first citywide car-sharing program today. “Corner Cars,” in partnership with Hertz, is starting out with 42 cars in 21 locations throughout the one-mile-square city. 40% of residents rely on cars to commute to work but a higher percentage own one and parking spots are at a premium. The city hopes that the car-sharing program will have multiple benefits – reduce car ownership amongst residents, promote pedestrian safety by reducing the number of cars parked too close to pedestrian crossings, and produce revenue for the city itself as Hertz is paying $100 a month for each space in the program. Many other cities, including New York, are very interested in the data that comes out of this program, in hopes that it might prove to be a replicable model.

New York City has more than 7,400 miles of sewer lines and keeping them clear (and preventing overflow) is a major undertaking. As of this past Wednesday, the city has two new powerhouse vacuum cleaners to help with the challenge: diesel trucks that snake into the sewer system and can remove up to three tons of sewage and extraneous debris in a day. The first two trucks are working 5 days per week to remove clogs (identified by sonar technology and video cameras) from the largest of the city’s lines and two more machines will be added to the effort next year.

Earlier this week we brought you a recap of the Institute for Urban Design’s symposium “Rebuilding a Sustainable Haiti.” Tonight at 7pm (go now!), Christina Ray is hosting “Konbit Shelter,” an artist talk and benefit for Haiti with artists and collaborators Swoon and Benjamin Wolf. Swoon and Wolf recently visited Haiti, and will discuss their trip as well as plans for a rebuilding workshop in Haitian communities this summer. All artwork on display at the gallery is on sale and benefiting the Konbit Shelter project, which is looking to introduce the Superadobe building technique to local builders in Haiti. (And stay tuned for more Swoon on Urban Omnibus in the fourth installment of our series of artist interviews, coming soon.)

There are a few other events coming up next week. On June 22nd, Storefront for Art and Architecture is hosting a book launch for Ecological Urbanism, which explores sustainable design issues within existing and new cities. Also that night, Connie Fishman, president of the Hudson River Park Trust, will be speaking at the new Battery Park City Library about the planning, problems and progress of constructing Hudson River Park.

While you’re out enjoying the weekend, keep your eyes open for unexpected pockets of flowers courtesy of the Woolly School Garden. Yesterday we enjoyed one of their installations outside of Omnibus headquarters. It did, as promised by the notes attached to the plants, brighten our day.

Woolly Pockets. Broadway between Houston and Prince. Photos by Varick Shute.

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.