Kaleidoscopic New York

More fun with the Stereographic Street View hack. As it turns out, you can do a lot more than just make those cute little mini-planets. Long, low buildings, for example, can be fun to play around with. Here we are at Industry City in Sunset Park, Brooklyn:

And, up at Viñoly's razzle-dazzle-y Hall of Justice in the Bronx:

Skyscrapers are fun for the same reason. Here's Manhattan's GM Building (and Apple's famous Cube store):

And Long Island City's Citi Tower, warped into something of a crooked frame:

In fact, with the right site, these stereographic images can start to look like legit abstract art:

And then, of course, there's the straight-up kaleidoscopic stuff. Here's the old American Banknote Building in Hunts Point:

One of the covered sections of the High Line, near 14th Street:

Under the 1 tracks up in Kingsbridge:

Pier Luigi Nervi's magnificently weird bus terminal in Washington Heights:

Inside the Met (three cheers for Street View inside major museums!)

And last, but certainly not least, on the Brooklyn Bridge:

If anybody plays around with this thing and finds some more worth sharing, please do!


Stereographic New York

Thanks to Brainpicker for alerting me to the presence of what may be the best Google Maps hack I've seen yet, Stereographic Street View. Now I know what I'm going to be doing for pretty much the rest of my life. Some early successes:

Under the Queensboro Bridge in LIC:

Then on down to Soho:

And Flatbush. The uniformity of public housing blocks makes for some really great stereographic images:

And speaking of uniform residential architecture, Fort Greene's Portland Avenue lends itself well to this format:

As does the Greystones block of 80th Street in Jackson Heights, Queens:

Then, on to fun with interestingly-shaped landmarks. The Bronx's Kingsbridge Armory:

The Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Greenpoint:

The New Museum:

The Whit:

And the Gugg:

The patchy quality of much of Google's Street View imagery means that a lot of stuff gets a little blurry around the edges, but the site is still terrifyingly addictive. If you enjoyed this post, stop back tomorrow for some more abstract fare...


A Year in New York

A Year in New York from Andrew Clancy on Vimeo.

Goddamnit, this one's good. Also: clearly made by a Queenser. +1


Liveblogging the Tactical Urbanism Salon: Evening Presentations

Evening Presentations

Introduction - Mike Lydon (The Street Plans Collaborative)
  • Early example of  tactical urbanism: Paris book boxes along the Siene; interesting parallel between historic book box tension w/bookstore owners and contemporary arguments between foot trucks and restauranteurs
  • What we call tactical urbanism has been going on for hundreds of years
  • There has been an acceleration of TU in recent years; of 56 Open Streets initiatives in the US, more than 40 started within the past three years
  • Tactical Urbanism guide volume 2 will be available for d/l within the next few weeks!

Introduction - Aurash Khawarzad (DoTank:BrooklynProject for Public Spaces)
  • "Do Tanks" are more appropriate right now than "Think Thanks"
  • Do:Tank Brooklyn is intended to provide a platform for people to come together and work collaboratively on projects
  • Individual Do:Tank projects are less important than the conversation happening here tonight
  • We've done the smaller projects, now it's time to come together. Tactical Urbanism is not a trend, it's a movement. Let's be more organized about it and put forth a full-throated argument for why this is important in the field.
  • People are tired of the "talk-itecture." They're doing something about it.

Liveblogging the Tactical Urbanism Salon: Pecha Kucha Presentations

Pecha Kucha

  •  BroLab used Q32 bus line between Flux Factory & Momenta Art to stage "Bench Press"; created a template & built benches along bus lines.
  • Project allowed people to see benches building built, get a sense of the work that went into them.
  • Did 12-15 live-build installations of benches at bus stops over the course of one day.

Vertical Theory, Karen Mackay
  • Wanted to find solutions for large-scale sustainability issues on a local level; looked at urban farms as a solution
  • Cities = limited horizontal outdoor space; how do we grow food here? Farmscrapers need lots of time & $, but VT looks at how do non-horizontal farming in a more DIY way
  • Looked @ hydroponics, wooly pockets, not nobody was doing these two things together; started doing prototypes to use piping in pockets to distribute water
  •  Also working on creating prototypes in glass; harder to be DIY, but can still have an impact and get people thinking

TreeKIT, Sophie Plitt
  • Urban trees have many benefits: "Trees really make cities; although they're extremely ubiquitous, we don't always see them for how valuable they are."
  • NYC is relying on individuals, developing a stewardship model. Not really working yet.
  • TreeKIT hias developed a "Track, See, Collect" mapping model to increase stewardship. Currently collecting the data to allow people to track their stewardship.
  • Draw people [general public] into the data-collection process - "Participatory action research"

Liveblogging the Tactical Urbanism Salon: Intro & Panel Discussion: Tactical vs. DIY Urbanism


Mike Lydon - The Street Plans Collaborative
Aurash Khawarzad - DoTank:Brooklyn / Project for Public Spaces
  • ML: Idea for the TUS was to look at short-term actions driving long-term change
  • AK: Old process of building communities is not working anymore; new more collaborative ways of doing things
  • AK: We want everything about today to be different; everything we do should be action-focused. 
Panel Discussion: Tactical vs. DIY Urbanism

Tony Garcia - The Street Plans Collaborative
Chiara Camponeschi - Enabling City
Quillian Riano - DSGN AGNC
June Williamson - The City College of New York, CUNY

A Modest Proposal...

A few years ago I made a series of hackmaps, using Google Earth to cobble together a few visualizations of alternate urban realities. I'd always planned to post some of the better ones to Where, and never got around to it. Recent events, however, made me think that there was one  in particular that was worth sharing.

The image above was created in the fall of 2008, right as the financial meltdown was getting white-hot. The idea that the wizards of Wall Street should share their posh financial district with a Rio-style favela seemed fitting, given the number of people who were suddenly finding themselves homeless. Luckily, there was a huge hole in the ground right next door.

The site may have been overly ambitious, but it's good to see that some people have been feeling the same way.


MAS Context Issue 11: SPEED

The new issue of MAS Context is out today, and you can read the whole thing online here, or buy a printed copy here. I've got an article on the effect of mobile, digital tech on the future of historic preservation, entitled On the Quickening of History. An excerpt:

These applications will eventually be used not just to find a good place for Thai food or to see where a bus route leads, but to interpret and alter the physical realm, as well. As augmented reality applications become increasingly ubiquitous, it will become impossible to separate the city from its digital self. This means that, in the not too distant future, digital layers will need to be thought of by preservationists in much the same way that buildings are today. And while it’s true that digital preservation is already a subject of discussion, that discussion is currently focused on the use of digital tools to preserve the physical world, or to preserve artistic or cultural projects that were created on digital platforms. The preservation of the platforms themselves is largely uncharted territory, regardless of the outsized impact that they have had on our lives.

Other great stuff from Candy Chang, Jesus Maria Ezquiaga, Andrew Clark, Antón García-Abril, and a slew of other great urbanists. Read on!


What Color is Your Favorite Architect?

Oh joy, thecolorof works for architects, too! There are some fascinating results--so many, in fact, that you'll have to travel beyond the jump, as I don't want them mobbing the Where homepage, heh.