The Omnibus Roundup – Festival Weekend, Taxi of Tomorrow and Mobile Neon

There’s so much happening this weekend at the Festival of Ideas for the New City! Check out our more in-depth coverage of the event and below, some of the weekend’s highlights:

50 Ideas for the New City | Photo by Will Martin

50 Ideas for the New City | Photo by Will Martin

THE OMNIBUS BOOTH We hope you’ve caught sight of our 50 Ideas for the New City Posters around town on fences, scaffolds and storefronts from Jamaica, Queens to the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Tomorrow, Saturday, May 7th, get an up-close look at them at the Omnibus Booth (Bowery and Rivington) at the Festival of Ideas for the New City StreetFest, where Urban Omnibus staff will be out all day to chat about the future of the urban landscape with whoever will listen. Come on down and say hi, and submit your idea for the new city in person!

Flash:Light NYC Let Us Make CakeFLASHLIGHT: NYC  Check out some of the temporary, site-specific, illuminated art that Flash:Light NYC is bringing to the festival. LET US MAKE CAKE is tapping into the creative potential of recent innovations in light, sound and projection mapping with a three-part installation: On the Street, on Mulberry between Prince and Houston; In the Cathedral, in St. Patrick’s Basilica on Mott St. north of Prince; and On the Museum, on the façade of the New Museum on the Bowery. All three get underway at 8pm and run on a 20-minute loops until 11pm or midnight, location depending. But that’s not all! The projections will be followed by a midnight organ concert in St. Patrick’s! A collaborative project by Nuit Blanche New York, and Light Harvest Studios, participants range from established artists such as Vito Acconci, Jon Kessler and Marilyn Minter, to emerging artists such as SOFTlab, Chris Jordan, Mia Pearlman, Dustin Yellin, Z-Collective and Brooklyn-based street artists.

Audi Urban Future

AUDI URBAN FUTURE Go see the beautiful 50-foot long architectural model of Manhattan: Audi Urban Future – Project New York at Nolita’s OpenHouse Gallery (201 Mulberry Street), curated by Architizer. This long-term project examines how mobility, urban living and the role of transportation will change in the coming years. Based on the award-winning concepts from the inaugural Audi Urban Future Award — hosted at the 2010 Venice Biennale — the model includes the winning entry by J. MAYER H. Architects from Berlin, and five NYC practices (LEONG LEONGMatter PracticeAbruzzo Bodziak ArchitectslabDORA and THEVERYMANY) who will present their vision for 2030 New York at a roundtable Monday night, 7-10pm.

Cronocaos, an exhibition presented by OMA / Rem Koolhaas on the growing urgency of preservationism in architecture, is now on view in the New Museum’s partially-renovated, ground floor space at 231 Bowery. In the exhibition, which debuted at the 2010 Venice Biennale, Koolhaas seeks to find “what the future of our memory will look like, and how our obsession with heritage is creating an artificial re-engineered version of our memory.” Check it out to see historic objects and photographs, analysis of the rapid growth of preserved urban and natural territories, and a timeline of OMA projects that have confronted the issue of preservation over 35 years of practice, including the 2001 proposed extension to the Whitney Museum of American Art and the curatorial master plan for the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

AFTERHOURS: MURALS ON THE BOWERY  The New Museum is presenting Afterhours: Murals on the Bowery, an installation of 17 international artists’ site-specific paintings on commercial spaces’ security gates along the Bowery between Houston and Grand Streets. In celebration of non-traditional public art, check out these seen-at-night-only murals for yourself, or get a taste of what you’ll find in this slideshow covering the unique series.

CUP DOWNRIGHT SYSTEMS Join CUP for an evening of videos about the inner workings of NYC’s hidden systems by viewing three of CUP’s hidden infrastructure documentaries at the Anthology Film Archives for the Festival. Films shown include Garbage Problems (2002), The Water Underground (2006), and The Internet is Serious Business (2008). Tickets are $6. Sunday, May 8, 6:30 pm at Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue.


The City of New York has selected the design for its future taxi cabs: the Nissan NV200. For some, this is a roomier, more convenient choice. But many others (including some government officials) say the design looks outdated, ugly and is inaccessible for the disabled. Assemblyman Micah Kellner expressed disdain over the new cabs, saying “Who knew that the ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ was the delivery van of yesterday? Just because you paint a van yellow doesn’t make it a taxi.” His view is representative of several city officials, including NYC Public Advocate Bill De Blasio and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

The result of the design competition ends a 5-year long bid for visions of New York’s taxi cabs of the future initiated by the Design Trust for Public Space. The competition was set to find a design to replace the classic Ford Crown Victoria, the most common taxi sedan seen lumbering up and down the streets of the city. In 2009, the competition was made official by the Bloomberg administration who will offer the winner an exclusive 10-year contract on the city’s taxi design and manufacturing. The competition came down to three designs:


Taxi of Tomorrow Nissan NV200

Taxi of Tomorrow Nissan NV200

THE WINNER: Nissan NV200
PROS: Legroom, outlets, anti-bacterial seats, sliding doors to avoid dooring cyclists
CONS: Looks like a minivan, bulky, not handicap accessible

Taxi of Tomorrow Runners-Up

Karsan (top)  & Ford Transit Connect (bottom) | Images courtesy of Taxi of Tomorrow

Read more on the cabs of tomorrow at The New Yorker and NY Daily News.

Project Neon iPhone appPROJECT NEON IPHONE APP
Want to see a map of all New York’s neon signage on your phone? Project Neon, which you can read more about in Kristen Hively’s recent Omnibus feature, is running a Kickstarter campaign to bring this soon-to-be free app to you. The app will include searchable information about the hundreds of neon signs in the city, a “view signs closest to you” map, and other features for signage junkies out there. Check out the project’s Kickstarter video and consider supporting this awesome future digital guidebook.

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.