The Omnibus Roundup – Permanent Plazas, Weekends with Vignelli,, Velonotte, Archtober and Freshkills+

Rendering by MIR and Snohetta, courtesy of NYC DOT

On Tuesday, September 27, Manhattan’s Community Board 5 met with Craig Dykers of Snøhetta to review their plans for the Times Square pedestrian plazas of the not-so-distant future. No more lawn chairs, no more paint as marker for where the car space ends. The plan calls for a leveling of the streets and curbs, to create a continuous pedestrian surface of dark concrete. Inlaid into the pavers will be steel rivets to reflect the bright lights of the big city. Benches and street furniture will provide seating as well as space demarcation to aid pedestrian flow, making the plazas useful as lounge spaces and as thoroughfares. The intent, according to Dykers, is to make the space seem larger and less cluttered. NYC’s Department of Design and Construction hopes to get started next fall with a completion date of 2014. Check out more of the coverage from DNAinfo and the A|N Blog.

The Vignelli map is back. In 1972, graphic designer Massimo Vignelli created a subway map for New York City that was a favorite of designers but, because it eschewed geographic faithfulness for legibility, was deemed too geographically inaccurate by some. With the release of the MTA’s new Weekender website, the MTA has brought the Vignelli map back into use. The Weekender is a website devoted to helping people plan their weekend subway trips with ease despite service changes. The site features a trip planner, so that the MTA can “do the navigating for you – around any service change”, tabs to look up service by station, line or borough, and visual navigation through an interactive version of the iconic map.

Fast Trash is now a website! Last year we spoke with architecture, writer and curator Juliette Spertus about the exhibition of Fast Trash, an exploration of Roosevelt Island’s pneumatic trash collection system and her ongoing project to expose and document complex infrastructural systems. Now the exhibition has become a website that gives readers access to Spertus’ research and documentation of the exhibition and provides a space for discussion of larger questions of how we can radically rethink how garbage is moved through our city. Check it out at



How do you “turn cities into nocturnal open air museums experienced on a bike”? Velonotte! On Saturday, October 1, the Storefront for Art and Architecture will host the kickoff of VELONIGHT NYC. In the early hours of Sunday, October 2, from midnight until 5:30am, a bicycle tour of the urban and cultural history of New York City will take cyclists to 20 planned stops throughout the city. An audio guide led by architects, architectural historians and cultural historians will be broadcast live over a proprietary radio frequency straight into participants’ headphones. Contributors to the tour include Jean Louis Cohen, Peter Eisenman, Ken Jackson, Rem Koolhas and Guy Nordenson, among others. Read more about the kickoff event here, and more about the tour here.

The Archtober Calendar

What day is it tomorrow? Why, it’s Archtober 1st. New York’s Architecture and Design Month — Archtober — is a month-long festival of architectural design activities, programs and exhibitions that kicks off tomorrow. The initiative was spearheaded by the AIA NY Chapter, openhousenewyork and the Architecture & Design Film Festival, and plenty of cultural institutions from across the city are participating, including us here at the Architectural League and familiar faces like the BMW Guggenheim Lab, the Design Trust for Public Space, Friends of the High Line, the Institute for Urban Design, MoMA, Storefront, Van Alen and many more. Find out more about the dozens and dozens of events taking place over the next 31 days here and start planning your month around celebrating all things architecture and design.

Freshkills Park+ in action

This Sunday, October 2, from 11am to 4pm, Freshkills Park will be open for the second annual Sneak Peak, complete with kayak tours, walking tours, biking, kite flying and making, a craft market, live music, public art, games and food trucks. This year’s event also marks the release of Freshkills Park+, a new augmented reality application. Because of the landfill infrastructure that lies beneath the park, signage can’t be installed. The Freshkills Park+ app allows visitors to learn more about projects under construction, nearby activities or surrounding natural environments and serves as a wayfinding tool throughout the 2,200-acre site.  Read more about the app here, the event here or check out photos of last year’s event 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.