The Omnibus Roundup – Election Day, Death of a Tunnel, the Subway Issue, Shattered Idyll, UnionDocs and CineBeasts

via Gotham Gazette

Tuesday, November 2nd is Election Day — don’t forget to vote! For the procrastinators among us, Gotham Gazette has an election guide, with who’s running, ballot questions, and when and where to show up.

It’s final – the ARC tunnel project is dead. New Jersey Governor Christie announced his decision this week, refusing to “hand over a blank check” for the tunnel, which supporters estimated would have provided thousands of jobs, decreased congestion for commuters, increased property values for New Jersey residents living close to the rail stops, and doubled the number of Jersey residents living within a 50-minute train ride of New York. Meanwhile, the $3 billion that the Federal Transit Administration had in line for the project is now up in the air. Streetsblog has some suggestions for how it could be redistributed to fend off future transit cuts, noting that New York City Council transportation chair Jimmy Vacca has already sent requests to US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood.

The New York Times published a special “Subway Issue” of the Sunday Metropolitan section this week, with a look at 100 years of the subway in pictures, a chance to design your own subway map, and a commuter’s secret library. Headlining the section is Michael M. Grynbaum’s piece on MTA Chairman Jay H. Walder’s first year on the job. Walder, who has quite a successful reputation as a transportation executive, has worked to cut the agency’s budget in the face of near-collapse and has dedicated significant effort towards making the NYC transit system more tech-friendly. With a new governor coming into office, there is no guarantee that Walder will be kept on board. Though he says “I hope to stay and I expect to stay,” to offer stability to an already-weak MTA and execute more ideas he has for the City. (Not to mention that if he is let out of his six year contract early, he would receive a pretty large settlement – one more thing that the MTA cannot afford.)

Photo: Tim Sohn. Click here for more photos of Long Beach West and Pleasure Beach.

This week in the New York Observer, Tim Sohn visits a broken beach beautifully overtaken by Swoon and other Brooklyn artists. Long Beach West, near Bridgeport, Connecticut, has been completely abandoned by human inhabitants since 2007, allowing it to be naturally overrun with wildlife. The deserted cottages on the island were scheduled to be demolished, but they had to wait until after the native bird’s nesting season. The artists took this as an invitation to create a temporary community, inspiring sculpture, collage, and other artworks using found objects from the cottages and surrounding environment.

Hillary Brown, architect, professor, and founder of NYC’s Office of Sustainable Design in 1997, has proposed a set of principles to guide development for the “next generation of infrastructure.” The proposal addresses the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, enlisting global and historic precedents for creating intelligent infrastructure, often times intermodal. She also suggests how we can achieve this vision, through tactical means: “we could begin to test innovative infrastructures, and the fiscal and organizational processes that might bring them about, before setting up new and nationwide frameworks…. we will need to demonstrate the capacity for holistic thinking and integrative action.”

Earlier this week, Bronx residents met to discuss initiatives that should be added to the PlaNYC update, such as the removal of the Sheridan Expressway, 50% reduction of greenhouse gases by 2030, and more pedestrian friendly access to park spaces. “There is this mentality that we are the dumpster of the city, and that needs to be addressed” contended Juan Carlos Ruiz, deputy director of Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice. Queens residents can add their suggestions for PlaNYC updates in next week’s Community Conversation and you can vote online for ideas before it moves on to the community boards.

via CineBeasts

via CineBeasts

Our friends at UnionDocs, a Brooklyn based hot-spot for dialogue and discourse in the documentary arts, are presenting several enticing programs as a part of their weekly Bodega series of public events. Friday October 29th, Rotterdam-based artist Tim Leyendekker will curate you may find yourself: Short Films Exploring Urban Landscapes, focusing on films that deal with “the Western urban landscape as a witness to intimate social interactions and the de/reconstruction of the cinematic narrative.” On Election Night 2010, Tuesday November 2, CineBeasts will present an evocative program which spans 50 years of election spots and features the eye-opening, found-footage documentary Spin by Brian Springer. Stay for the panel discussion on the evolution of political media language, featuring David Bushman (curator-in-chief of the Paley Center for Media) and “News Dissector” Danny Schechter.

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.