The Omnibus Roundup — Meeting Bowls, NYC At-a-Glance, Pop-Up Playgrounds, stillspotting and Dialog in the Dark

Meeting Bowls | via Times Square Alliance

Times Square is now host to an outdoor urban furniture installation titled “Meeting Bowls,” created in partnership with the Times Square Alliance and design firm mmmm… The Meeting Bowls are three, 8-person, slatted bowls (highly reminiscent of salad spinners), which are meant to offer a place for intimate social experiences in the midst of one of the city’s busiest spaces. The bowls also offer the option to to record dialogue that may take place during your encounter on laptops and smartphones. The installation will be open to the public through September 16th, from 8am to midnight. Read more about the Meeting Bowls from The Architect’s Newspaper and see more on the concept from mmmm…


The 2011 update of NYC At-A-Glance, the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s report on New York City’s economy, covers data on standards of living, length of commute, economic growth and employment statistics. Some of the more compelling stats: 91.7% of New Yorkers live and work within the city (placing us way ahead of the rest of the country, with runner-up Houston coming in at 81%) — though New Yorkers also have the longest commute in the country, as only 33% of us spend less than half an hour en route to work, and a whole quarter of the city have over an hour of commute time. New York’s private sector had the highest average income in the country at $81,800, a reflection of a hugely stratified sector, in which 250,800 people in “Accommodation and Food Services” earned $28,600 per year at the low end, and 161,600 people in “Securities” earned, on average, $361,300 per year. Download the full report here for a detailed look at the state of the city.

NYC Play Street | via Transportation Alternatives

Pop-up chapels, pop-up labs for urbanism, pop-up roller rinks — NYC is on a pop-up roll. The latest in imaginative structures to hit New York’s streets are pop-up playgrounds or play-streets designed to combat childhood obesity. Seven civic organizations are leading an effort over the next two months to close streets to traffic and instead use those spaces to accommodate instruction in activities ranging from yoga to rugby to tennis to jump-rope. By re-defining the traditional “play street” in areas where open space and obesity are an issue, these pop-up structures might be as fun as they are good for public health.  Read more in The New York Times.

Scientific American - On Cities

via Scientific American

The special September issue of Scientific American is all about cities. There are some heavy hitters in the roster of authors — geographers, economists, sociologists and architectural critics who tackle the idea of “the city” from vantage points of efficiency, livability, scale and geography. Look out for the issue, featuring articles by Edward Glaeser, Anthony Townsend and Mark Lamster, and an interview with William Gibson, at newstands next month, or check it out online.


Image via stillspotting nyc

Stillspotting nyc
(the Guggenheim’s 2-year multidisciplinary installation series) has announced its upcoming exhibit To a Great City, a sound-and-space walking tour of Lower Manhattan that was created in collaboration with Estonian composer Arvo Pärt (known for his compositional style tintinnabuli and his search for an absolute essential sound) and architecture and landscape design firm Snøhetta. Starting in Battery Park and traveling underground and into the private recesses of some of the city’s most famous skyscrapers, the tour will explore five typically inaccessible Manhattan spaces. A ticket buys access for a full day of visiting and revisiting as many times as the experience begs. Tours will run Thursdays through Saturdays, September 15-18 and 22-25. See more from Architizer and on the stillspotting website.

Dialog in the Dark

This weekend, Dialog in the Dark opens as a new form of exhibition/participatory experience at the South Street Seaport. Led by blind or visually-impaired guides, exhibition-goers will be given canes as they enter a complete and total darkness where they experience simulations of familiar New York places and environments through sound, texture, temperature and smell. See more on the exhibit here and read Edward Rothstein’s review in the Times here.

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.