Saturday, December 15, 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

Brooklyn Bridge Park Will Not Be Deterred

Yesterday, Pier 5 of Brooklyn Bridge Park officially opened to the public. Today, an enormous crane suggested that the pedestrian bridge connecting Squibb Park to Pier 1 is ready for assembly. As the New York Times notes, once this occurs, the massive park will be almost halfway complete. Brooklyn, rejoice.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

DIY: Coffee Sleeve Ceiling Shade (or "Once You Kept Me Warm; Now You Light Up My Life")

As many of you know, Maura and I recently moved into a tiny place of our own in Brooklyn. Although we renovated the bathroom before moving in, it might be awhile before we can make any wholesale changes to the apartment. In the meantime, we're taking on a number of small projects to make our space more enjoyable, while keeping the budget as minimal as possible.

To that end--although I didn't know it when I began--I've been collecting the cardboard sleeves that accompany my morning coffee on the way to work. This hare-brained idea hatched a couple of years ago as I began stashing them in a file cabinet, but didn't take shape until long after we moved this past February. We grew tired of looking up at the bedroom ceiling and seeing the traditional, white, square glass ceiling light cover.

Then I remembered my stockpile of these...

...and drawing some inspiration from this, I got to work. Initially, it seemed like a good idea to connect the coffee sleeves with juut twine, in the hope that its color would allow it to blend in.

When I had finished combining the sleeves, I suspended them with paper clips and cup hooks, screwed into the ceiling.

Once it was in place, however, the shade looked somewhat... messy. Every knot stood out in stark relief against the bright light above. This in no small part contributed to Maura dubbing this "the trash light." So down it came. At her suggestion, I replaced the juut with bobby pins. It should go without saying that adding the bobby pins was much, much faster than tying the individual loops of twine.

I also added several more sleeves to give the shade a looser edge. This time, instead of paper clips, I used white thread to hang the sleeves from the cup hooks.

And finally, a Before/After comparison of the ceiling light:

Materials: 62 coffee sleeves, bobby pins, thread, cup hooks

Friday, December 7, 2012

Bright Lights, Big City

Abstract impressions of Manhattan from Brooklyn.

As an aside, for those still looking for gift ideas: I've recently posted a selection of my photography, including the shots above, on Society 6, which produces gallery-quality art prints and stretched canvases of original artwork. Through Sunday, Society 6 is offering free shipping on unframed prints, as well as a variety of other products. To take advantage of this offer, please visit my shop, boxed out. After Sunday, you can still find my Society6 shop by clicking the link on the sidebar to the right.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Microclimate in Brooklyn

I've seen how the sausage gets made, and it's with white tarp and a truckload of ice. Winter's Tale--adapted from the novel and eventually starring Will Smith, Russell Crowe, Colin Farrell and Jennifer Connelly--has been filming a ways down the street. It's December, and there's fake snow in New York, where the temperature is currently hovering around freezing. There's also at least one Model T hanging out in the neighborhood. Watch your step, Brooklyn. It's slippery outside.

The slushy scene on Hicks Street last night

Just so you know, your barn door's open.

If you look closely, you can see the white tarp covering the sidewalk in the background.

In case you were wondering what Brooklyn Heights looks like without street lights
During a break in the action... earlier in the night, the building across the street was fully illuminated.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Yvette Mattern's "Global Rainbow" Tribute over NYC

For a couple of nights this past week, the sky over New York was illuminated by a spectacular laser light tribute to the victims of Hurricane Sandy. The New York- and Berlin-based artist, Yvette Mattern, projected the colors of the rainbow from the roof of the Standard Hotel out across the boroughs, supposedly reaching all the way to the Rockaways, one of the hardest-hit areas of the city.

A few looks at the view from DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Open House New York, Part II: Brooklyn Army Terminal

A long time coming, thanks to Sandy, here's part two of my look at Open House New York weekend in October. 

Concrete loading platforms in the atrium of Building B

At the western edge of Sunset Park stands a massive monument to American military might. The Brooklyn Army Terminal originally comprised 5 million square feet of space. At its peak during World War II, it employed 56,000 personnel who witnessed 3 million troops and 37 million tons of supplies pass through the complex. For a more in-depth look at its life as a military supply depot, visit TrainWeb, which presents a nice summary of the terminal's history, along with a great collection of archival photos.

In 1981, the City of New York purchased the facilities from the U.S. Government. Since then, NYC has restored approximately 60% of the terminal for office and light industrial use. According to the New York Times, The Army Terminal is one of a growing number of former manufacturing structures to be reconstituted for contemporary use, joining the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Industry City and Liberty View Industrial Plaza, among others. As always, you know something has been gestating for some time when the Times picks up on the trend.

The terminal was built in a mere seventeen months, completed in 1919 according to the designs of the famed New York architect Cass Gilbert. This was a bit surprising, as his reputation had been built on the backs of projects such as the Woolworth Building, the famous Neo-Gothic skyscraper.  In contrast, the terminal was decidedly modern with its reinforced concrete slabs, its delicate steel truss and glass skylight, its vast and sophisticated system of centrally-controlled elevators, its remarkably un-Gilbertesque lack of ornamentation, and its unquestionably functional design. On the other hand, maybe the kernels of this approach existed underneath the Woolworth's medieval skin, in the bones of the steel-structured skyscraper.

Exterior Details

Arcade connecting Administration Building (right) to Building A (left). View through arcade is to the harbor.
The most dramatic feature of the complex is the sun-drenched atrium of Building B, a beautiful testament to modern industrial efficiency. 66 feet wide and over 700 feet long, the atrium could hold up to 50 train cars at one time, split over two tracks. Once inside, the supply cars could be loaded and unloaded by three sky cranes running beneath the roof, 101 feet above the tracks. These cranes could deliver freight to and from the concrete loading balconies, which number several per floor. The atrium allowed work to proceed in natural light regardless of weather conditions.

View of glass skylight over atrium in Building B

Views of Building B's atrium

Three bridges span the atrium at the third floor, reemerging at the west facade to connect Building B to Building A. A track map posted on TrainWeb clearly illustrates the system of sky bridges, which at one time also extended to connect Building A to the now-defunct warehouses on the piers.

View of atrium in Building B, with bridge crossing at the 3rd Floor.

While the complex has been lovingly scrubbed of nearly a century of grime and decay, thankfully it still proudly displays its scars.

Detail of typical concrete loading platform. Note the diagonal steel reinforcement added for structural remediation.

Concrete pier at Building B ground floor loading platform
To visit the Brooklyn Army Terminal, take the N or R train to 59th Street, then walk west along 58th Street, under the BQE, towards the water front. The entrance is between 2nd and 1st Avenues.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Leo Villareal at Madison Square Park

If you find yourself anywhere near Madison Square Park between now and February 1, do yourself a favor and check out Leo Villareal's beautiful BUCKYBALL sculpture. Based on the form of the Carbon 60 molecule, the two concentric spheres are comprised of 180 LED lights, constantly in motion and changing colors.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Photo of the Day: Under the Brooklyn Bridge

A few months back, workers spanned wood planks between the girders underneath the bridge where it anchors near Cadman Plaza. Although it's temporary for protection during repairs, I'll surely miss it when its gone. It smells beautiful--like a log cabin in the city.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Red Hook and Beyond, A Week and a Half On

Scenes from Red Hook and Carroll Gardens this morning, a week and a half after Sandy.

Storefront on Van Brunt Street
Service Station on Van Brunt
Temporary lighting provided by NYPD
Conover Street
Cleanup at Fairway Market
Kitchen equipment collected in Fairway's parking lot
Reed Street
Van Brunt Street
Coffey Park

Coffey Park
Outside Carroll Park, Carroll Street
Across Carroll Street from the tree above
Carroll Park