The G Train: Helping Greenpoint Keep It RealThey’re not too gentrified in Greenpoint to transcend the crummy G train, not too Ikea-fied in Red Hook to alienate Santogold, and not too cranky in Brooklyn Heights to bitch about smaller OJ cartons. So we’re not too proud to say this: that and more in today’s boroughs report!
This Weekend on Governors Island, Avoid the Steaming DivotThere’s a lot of weird news in our boroughs report today: Tony Soprano’s maid is evicted from Williamsburg, Alex Hamilton’s house is afloat in Harlem, and possible sex hotels are cropping up in Gowanus! Click through for all the oddacity!
Art Deco Icon to Be DemolishedBrooklyn Heights: They’ll tear down the landmarked 1936 Purchase Building — a classic, WPA-style structure — as part of the construction of Brooklyn Bridge Park, which may begin next month. [NYDN via Gowanus Lounge]
Fort Greene: All the shabby-chic vendors of choice are lining up for the Brooklyn Flea Market, coming here Sundays starting in April. [Brownstoner]
Governors Island: Plans released today for the isle’s redo into a pomo eco-asis reveal that multiethnic children will frolic while seabirds fly overhead at dangerously low altitudes. [Queens Crap]
Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff Out at City Hall, In at Bloomberg LPDan Doctoroff, who has been toiling away since 2001 as the mayor’s get-it-done man, will announce today that he will be out of City Hall by the end of the year. He’ll be named president of Bloomberg LP, reports the Times.
“Our administration and the city of New York have been incredibly lucky to have Dan in City Hall for the past six years, and I’ve personally been very lucky to have him sitting just six feet away from me,” the mayor said in a hastily scheduled news conference in the Blue Room of City Hall. “He has been a true partner, a trusted friend, and the architect of the most sweeping transformation of New York City’s environment since the days of Robert Moses.”
Doctoroff, a former investment banker who, like the mayor, earns only $1 a year for his civil service, is the deputy mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding. He’s overseen successful projects like the High Line redevelopment and the rescue of the city’s waterfronts, including Governors Island. He was also a force behind the mayor’s ill-fated West Side Stadium and Olympic bids. Doctoroff was popular in City Hall and is credited with helping Bloomberg with much of his economic and redevelopment success. New York’s Geoffrey Gray reported that Doctoroff was planning a departure last month.
Doctoroff Is Leaving Bloomberg Administration [NYT]
Related Doctor! Give Me a Job [NYM]
She Was Not a Figment of Your Imagination
We’re not entirely sure what the Figment Festival, held yesterday on Governors Island, was (seems like a very mini, East Coast version of Burning Man), and we disagree with the Gothamists, who place this photo on the quasi-abandoned island (what with the high-rise and the tunnel and the traffic, we’re going with lower Manhattan). But, still, cool picture, and interesting-sounding event, and, well, we really do need to get ourselves out there one of these days. It’s open to the public each weekend through Labor Day.
Welcome to the Week [Gothamist]
Related: Arts Festival Awakens Sleepy Governors Island [Metro NY]
Visit the Island [GovIsland.com]
Biking Dutchman Hijacks Governors Island Planning Meeting
Walking into a presentation by the five finalists vying to design a new Governors Island park last night, everyone thought there were two front-runners: James Corner, who has proposed a “superthick” promenade abutting a dense lawn and a “fog forest” with misters to lead you to soccer fields, and Joshua Prince-Ramus, whose plan calls for a patchwork of parcels around the edge that can adapt to private development. But then Adriaan Geuze, another of the finalists, rode into the Chelsea auditorium on a wood-frame bicycle, and he stole the show. Geuze is a Rotterdam architect with corkscrew hair and, last night, a floral-print shirt, and he got the crowd laughing when his PowerPoint presentation showed a butterfly landing on the island and then spreading into a “poetic pattern” of zany footpaths.
Governor’s Island Is Set to Reopen for the Summer, But Does Anyone Care?
Governor’s Island — that slightly mysterious dot of parkland and old, crumbling officers’ houses sitting in the middle of New York Harbor — will for the first time ever this summer be open to the public on both Saturdays and Sundays, according to an announcement yesterday from the city-state agency that runs it. Lots of time to spend on lots of pretty parkland with lots of amazing views. But what do actual New Yorkers know about it? We asked a few and were favorably surprised by their answers — not that many are actually planning to visit.
At William Beaver House, Brand Early, Brand OftenAstoria: Did a Bauhaus-era South Beach hotel fly through the air, Oz-like, and land on 21st Street? How else to explain the new Astoria Windsor apartment building? [Curbed via Queens Crap]
Boerum Hill: Perhaps where an air conditioner used to cool is now a shrine to the Virgin Mary and, uh, Barbie. Is the Bethlehem Barbie Dreamstable somewhere nearby? [Lost City]
Governor’s Island: So NASCAR didn’t work on Staten Island. What about Indy racing here? [NYS]
Kensington: The jilted neighborhood is conspicuously absent from Brooklyn Record’s breakdown. What gives? (Blog fight!) [Kensington Blog]
Lower Manhattan: At the construction site for André Balazs’s super-hyped Beaver House condos (studio: $870,000), even the construction crane is part of the branding. [Curbed]
Soho: Madonna and her cleavage will be overlooking Houston & Crosby on behalf of H&M for a while. [Copyranter]
Governors Island Globetrotters Turn to the Park Service
When the short list of potential Governors Island redevelopment plans came out in January, it didn’t include a proposal for a postmodern Globe Theater. But that hasn’t stopped project founder Barbara Romer and her supporters from pushing on with the idea. Romer mustered dozens of supporters — including Municipal Art Society majordomo Frank Sanchis — to a National Park Service “listening session” at downtown’s Federal Hall rotunda last night, where she pushed for a Norman Foster–designed glass-sheathed Globe in the harbor’s Castle Williams, where a museum now stands. The event was organized to collect bold ideas for ten nationwide projects the Park Service will fund in the next decade, and, since Parks controls the fort Romer has her eye on, she’s now lobbying to get her project named one of those ten. “The adaptive, culturally used forts are the ones people really visit,” she said at the session. “The service will choose projects by May 31, and I think it would be really exciting for New York to be on the list.” An added bonus: At least according to the rendering Romer displayed, the project would ensure large, pretty snowflakes for lower Manhattan each winter. Which would be much nicer than last week’s slush. —Alec Appelbaum
Give Me Your Kite Fliers, Your Pork Roast, Your Pot-Smoking Teenagers Yearning to See Bloc Party
Governors Island is a unique spot: It’s 172 acres in the middle of New York harbor featuring a shoreline facing Lady Liberty, landmarked forts, and small hills perfect for sled runs. And as the city and state plan to convert the new-abandoned military base into a public park, you’d like to think the Governors Island Preservation & Education Corporation could come up with an equally unique plan. You’d be disappointed. Last night Leslie Koch, who heads the city-state entity, announced five finalists for a landscape-design competition. The group includes Field Operations, which is overhauling Fresh Kills; Diller Scofidio & Renfro, Field Operations’ partner on the High Line redevelopment; and Weiss Manfredi, currently beloved for a riverside park in Seattle — which suggests we’re heading toward a Governors Island scheme that is perfectly competent but unlikely to be original. What uses should these designers have in mind? Koch proposes multiday music festivals, kite-flying, and cookouts. “Grilling,” she notes, “is illegal in most city parks.” Fair enough. But can’t we come up with some more thrilling plans? Here’s the best hope: The gossamer gondola that Santiago Calatrava sketched for the mayor’s office last summer remains under consideration. Public comment begins this summer. —Alec Appelbaum
Governors Island Preservation & Education Corporation [Official site]