Archive for the ‘Public Space’ Category

Old Tricks in the Design Capital: The Sidewalk-Catwalk

July 16, 2010

Donna Karan's Mannequin sans hat and backpack

There’s a new tribe marching down Broadway in the Fashion District, and no, it’s not Lady Gaga and her dance troupe. It’s a line of Ralph Pucci-designed mannequins strutting their weatherproof wares (wears) between Times and Herald Squares. What is the reason for this stoic entourage? Well, like the fiberglass pigs, horses, and cows that cropped up around the US in previous decades, these hard-bodied silhouettes have been installed to build awareness and support for the fashion industry in New York City.

So, are they doing this job well?



The LM Project: Crossing the Cable-Stay Bridge

March 22, 2009

On Halloween of 2008, Steven Holl Architects unanimously won the international design competition titled The LM Project for their design connecting two civic and business buildings with a public walkway 65 feet above the harbor in Copenhagen, Denmark. This monumental design is reported to be profitable, elegant, civic-minded, and ecological, all wrapped into two piers connected by an angular bridge. It looks like Holl’s obsession with porosity is moving toward a delicate handshake. Meanwhile, Copenhagen will gain what was sought: an iconic landmark and new urban spaces on the tips of the Langelinie and Marmormolen Piers.

Fully Baked

March 19, 2009


Letters proud enough to stand tall and cast a shadow of their own bring as much drama to the printed page as they do to the 3-D world. Yesterday our D-Crit class was treated to a walking tour of found street typography, led by Paul Shaw. We were en route to the Humanities Branch of the New York Public Library to learn research methods needed to delve deep into the treasures of the stacks.

This fabulous dimensional building number sign at left (I believe it was on 28th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues) directly relates to these two ads I found at the library in a 1935 issue of Baker’s Helper, a magazine for the baking profession. (Whatelse?)

Reminiscent of the title sequences to black and white MGM movies, the typography delivers a much-appreciated dash of old Hollywood glamour to the humble world of pies and a mundane Manhattan block.

Mystery Train, Mystery Phone

March 15, 2009



Today my flashlight and I (and a group of 50 other people) ventured through an open manhole in the middle of a Kings County intersection to view an abandoned 19th century railroad tunnel underneath Atlantic Avenue. Brooklynite Bob Diamond, who discovered the tunnel in 1979 after years of research (he prevailed after being told repeatedly it didn’t exist) leads tours into the subterranean tunnel built by Cornelius Vanderbilt for the Long Island Rail Road around the time of the Civil War. But I really found myself wondering: where did the phone come from? (more…)

Coming or Going?

March 13, 2009


Gorillas Don’t Blog holds a steady spot in my rss reader. The author posts vintage photographs from Disneyland and the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. My recent favorite is this picture of the exit gate at Disneyland back in the 1960’s. It’s a far cry from the gate today…


My Kingdom for A Butterfly?

February 23, 2009

NBC Kings

Last November, NBC ran ads for Kings, its latest attempt to reclaim viewers from CBS. Soon after, on-line forums where filled with questions—What were those commercials? Were they about President Obama? Why was the president’s limo covered in butterfly flags?

By now, the confusion has been somewhat ironed out. NBC has revealed more of the plot for Kings, their latest attempt to reclaim the viewers they’ve lost to CBS. Based on the biblical David and Goliath tale, Kings is the story of a soldier named David Shepard who defeats Goliath, an army tank in this case. In the process, he happens to rescue the son of the King of Gilboa. The rest of the series focuses on David’s rise to fame and power among Gilboa’s people.

Keep Fashion on the Grass

February 23, 2009
A model walks the grass covered runway during the Monarchy Collection Spring 2008 fashion show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios in Culver City, Calif., on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

A model walks the grass covered runway during the Monarchy Collection Spring 2008 fashion show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios in Culver City, Calif., on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)


Twice a year, Bryant Park picks up the grass on the lawn and calls in the tent assembly teams with all the Aggreko HVAC tubes you can imagine, the Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain becomes the center of a tent facing the Avenue of the Americas, and traffic choreography becomes a challenge for the area. But the trouble is all worth it for a major event like this; all the fuss is symbolic of an event aiming for high flossy drama and reaffirming New York’s value to the world of fashion.

Fashion Week is expected to move to Lincoln Center by September 2010, but why would the major fashion event move to the performing arts center of New York City? A place centered on high and intellectual performing arts in a neighborhood steeped in bohemian intellectuality doesn’t seem like the right environment for the flamboyance of Fashion Week.