The Omnibus Roundup – So much stuff to do, dirty water, Atlantic Yards and CUP on CBAs

First up on this week’s roundup: stuff to check out this week. Our October calendars are bursting with a plethora of first-rate events, installations, programs and otherwise worthy additions to your to-do list.

For the advance planners out there, check out the line-ups for another event-packed weekend starting October 8. Next weekend brings both Conflux, a festival devoted to art and technology in the urban environment, and Open House New York, a weekend of tours through and access to sites of architectural, engineering and design significance all over the city, many of which are ordinarily closed to the public. Many OHNY tours fill up early — sign up for your favorites ASAP. And stay tuned for more details on both events here on Urban Omnibus, coming your way next week. While we gear up for that weekend of urban exploration, there’s plenty going on this weekend as well:

Greenpoint / Williamsburg
Omnibus contributor Sarah Nelson Wright has kept us posted on all things North Brooklyn this weekend. Wright is the curator of Common Ground: Imagining North Brooklyn, now on view at the Renaissance Center of North Brooklyn, which exhibits works from artists inspired by the area. Tonight she is hosting a film night (with discussion following) that will feature three documentaries on abandonment, development and habitation in North Brooklyn. Then on Saturday night in Greenpoint, she and Nathaniel Lieb will be participating in Bring to Light, New York’s first Nuit Blanche festival, organized by DoTank:Brooklyn. Fifty artists will create “light, sound and unexpected installations” that inhabit street corners, galleries, shops, rooftops, vacant lots and buildings in a celebration of “the magic and luminance of light.” All this and more — throughout the weekend, Greenpoint Open Studios offers access to more than 160 artist and exhibition spaces in an effort to foster support for the area’s art community.

Staten Island
Then spend your Sunday on Staten Island for a sneak preview of Freshkills Park. Look back at Zach Youngerman’s report on the project from this week’s recap of ASLA: Earth, Air, Water, Fire, DESIGN as a preface for this weekend’s activities, which include canoe, trolley and walking tours, workshops, birdwatching and kite flying. This first-ever public event at the site is free and open to all from 11am-4pm.

Another after-dark destination can be found at 81 Front Street where artist/designer/programmer Eric Corriel’s site-specific digital video installation DUMBO Underwater will be on view through October 13. The piece, inspired by issues around climate change and scientific projections that rising sea levels could leave many coastal cities partially underwater, imagines DUMBO flooded by the East River and “transform[s] the possibility into an experience.” Watch a video of the 80′ x 9′ installation at the top of this page, or go see it in person between sundown and sunrise.

Lower Manhattan
If you are still looking at the sidewalks to find cuts and patches, maybe a different urban intrusion has caught your eye. Four years ago, an artist from Brooklyn added his John Hancock to the streets and sidewalks in the form of a singular, continuous line (about eight miles long) drawn with paint. He attached a bucket to his bicycle and rode through the city, painting the line in the middle of the night in the shape of his name, MOMO. Maybe you’ve seen it, but if not, Momo has a map of the trajectory on his website, as well as a video following the line through downtown Manhattan.

Next up: things you should know.

Dirty Water
Anyone unconvinced about the importance of stormwater management for New York City might consider watching the video above. Speaking of dirty water, this week the Environmental Protection Agency designated Newtown Creek as New York City’s second Superfund site this year, meaning the Gowanus Canal — pronounced a Superfund site in March — is no longer the city’s sole site contaminated enough to warrant federal designation. The City isn’t leaving the problem entirely to the EPA. Mayor Bloomberg announced on Tuesday a new “green infrastructure” plan to reduce sewer overflow, clean up the waterways and save $2.4 billion in future sewer management costs. (And if anyone has seen the new Wall Street movie, did you catch the cameo of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, specifically the elevated walkways designed by Ennead, playing the role of a California sea water cold fusion factory?)

Atlantic Yards
Two sets of headlines circulated this week about the development of Atlantic Yards with the release of renderings by SHoP Architects of a public plaza outside the arena at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues, and developer Bruce Ratner’s acknowledgment that the announced 10-year timeframe for completion of the project was a best-case scenario. AY watchdog Norman Oder offers an extensive media response roundup and breaks down both the design and public policy issues surrounding the two announcements on Atlantic Yards Report. In an op-ed for the New York Observer, Oder shares a more detailed look at the ‘fuzzy math’ that consultants KPMG used to support the case that “the housing market would be healthy enough to absorb 1,930 luxury condos” over the originally proposed 10-year timetable.

Kingsbridge Armory
CITYLIMITS reports on the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment as a group of Bronx students provide their input on the future of the site. The students had participated in Center for Urban Pedagogy‘s Urban Investigations program and were using their new knowledge to invoke change at a community meeting last week. Project leader and CUP program manager Valeria Mogilevich stated “We’re trying to get students to change their perception of how the city works, and their potential impact on it.” The students, who had no prior knowledge of Community Benefit Agreements, started the program in the summer and created a poster at the end of the seminar, to educate the community on the effects of the redevelopment.

CBA Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment


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.