The Belvedere in Central Park was conceived as a miniature castle by Calvert Vaux, co-designer of the park, in 1869. It opened with some of the best views of the city’s prized green space–the name Belvedere was chosen as it is Italian for “beautiful view.” But the years have taken their toll on the stone structure, which has not been renovated since 1983. Now the Central Park Conservancy will close it to address issues like cracked pavement, a leaky roof, and plumbing issues. Starting this Monday, February 26th, Belvedere Castle will be off-limits to the public for its restoration, and will not reopen until 2019.
Back in 2016, the Central Park Conservancy kicked off a 10-year, $300 million campaign to renovate the structures of the castle, as well as surrounding playgrounds. Closure of the castle was expected to happen last summer, but plans were pushed to this month.
According to the Conservancy, “this project will comprehensively address drainage, waterproofing, and climate control systems along with deterioration that has occurred over the last 35 years.” The work includes restoring the Belvedere’s interior and exterior masonry, expanding and modernizing mechanical systems and supporting utilities, replacing existing windows and doors, upgrading the interior and exterior lighting, and finally repairing and replacing interior floors and ceilings. The surrounding area, too, will get some TLC, as the Conservancy plans to restore the wood pavilions on the main plaza and upper terraces, and recreate a wood tower that was originally part of the large pavilion at the northwest corner.
A future phase of the project will include providing an accessible route to the Belvedere, which is one of the most heavily visited destinations in the Park. To do so, the Conservancy plans to realign the park paths between the East Drive and the castle.
The last renovation, in the 1980s, transformed the castle from a graffiti-covered ruin to the landmark we know today. These future plans will upgrade the structure even further. Surrounding playgrounds, like the Bernard Family Playground and Billy Johnson Playground, are getting upgraded as well.
The Central Park Conservancy was formed in 1980 as a nonprofit under contract with New York City to manage the park; today it’s made up of gardeners, arborists and horticulturists. The nonprofit has an annual budget of $65 million, 25 percent of which comes from the city, and the rest from private fundraising. Through these public-private partnerships, nearly $1 billion has been invested in Central Park to date.
Central Park Boathouse returns this week with a new look, a new menu and a $2.9M makeover
The Central Park Boathouse restaurant has been spruced up with $2.9 million in renovations and upgrades and is perfect-date-ready just in time for outdoor weather. The New York Post reports that the familiar structure near the park’s Fifth Avenue entrance at East 72nd Street has gotten much needed capital improvements like more seats (185 instead of 160) a new flood-proof tile floor and insulated glass that keeps the lakefront chill out along with a contemporary new look, new colors and lighting and better sightlines of the Central Park West skyline and rowboats gliding by. Even better, there’s more room for customers at the new ADA-compliant bar.
“It will feel like a porch overlooking the lake,” said owner Dean Poll, who has owned the restaurant since 2000. Though it certainly will make the space more Instagram-worthy, the big fix-up hasn’t been just for looks. The establishment has an obligation to the city to maintain and upgrade the structure.
The restaurant operates under a license agreement with the Department of Parks & Recreation, with a contract that requires Poll to invest $6 million in capital improvements; the contract has 14 more years to go, and the redesign has required about half that amount. The rest will go toward outdoor patio upgrades that are pending Landmarks Preservation Commission approval.
The boathouse, for its part, pays the city an annual fee of up to $1.702 million or 7.2 percent of gross annual receipts (whichever of those is the greater amount) up to $22 million. Percentages rise when revenues top $22 million. “We have exceeded our minimum every year,” Poll said.
SummerStage in Central Park will get a revamp and new stage for the 2019 season
CityParks SummerStage is New York City’s largest free outdoor performing arts festival, with 100 performances happening annually in neighborhood parks around the city as well as in Central Park from May-October–the majority of which are free of charge. In 2019, City Parks Foundation’s flagship SummerStage venue in Central Park will be getting a new stage, new sound system, more lighting, upgraded backstage areas, raised seating and an overall improved concert-going experience.
The overhaul is an opportunity to update a stage that’s 20 years old and a sound system nearly 10 years old, and re-envision the 5,500-capacity space holistically. The transformation will include:
A stage canopy increase of 20% in diameter and foundational support reinforced to allow for greater weight load of production elements.
A new stage that will include front thrust, added side wings, and improved access ramps.
New LED screens on stage and at positions to the left and right of the stage.
New sound system designed by Acoustic Distinctions.
Upgraded production lighting designed by Al Crawford/Arc3Design.
Upgraded artist dressing rooms.
Enhanced backstage patio area for artists and guests.Relocating pedestrian circulation around the perimeter,
removing pathways that currently cross in front of audiences and disturb viewing.
Bleacher seating for up to 880 will be raised 3 ft. above ground to improve sightlines over crowds standing on the
Ground seating with chairs can be added for up to 1900.
Upgraded VIP area at center of the house with increased capacity for 160, covered bar area, air conditioned bathrooms,
and new viewing balcony for 80. Adjacent VIP-only bleacher seating can be available for up to 260.
Upgraded VIP seating with direct sight lines at stage left for 50 under covered area and additional standing room for 30
on raised platform; plus backstage bar, seating area, and air conditioned bathrooms.
New raised, covered artist guest viewing platform for up to 150 at stage right with direct sight lines and air conditioned bathrooms.
Additional bathrooms and ADA access throughout.
Enhanced landscape and architectural lighting, pathway and egress definition.
New concession areas with high quality, accessibly-priced choices.
The venue will continue to present iconic and emerging artists from diverse genres to help make summer in New York City memorable. You can find out more about the renovation here.
Get ready for a whole new IKEA ® experience
The world and our customers’ lives are rapidly changing, and we’re taking bold steps to reach even more of the many people how and where they want to meet us.
We are excited to announce the opening of the first IKEA city center store in the U.S., which marks the beginning of our ongoing transformation and commitment to bringing the brand into the heart of urban areas. It is the latest example of how IKEA is reaching customers in new ways that are more accessible and more personalized.
The first ‘IKEA Planning Studio’ will open April 15 on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, located at 999 Third Avenue. This new IKEA experience will feature a wide range of smart home design solutions for small living spaces and New York City homes.
You can make purchases at the IKEA Planning Studio, but instead of carrying your items on the subway, all purchases made at the IKEA Planning Studio will be conveniently delivered to your home. It is significantly smaller than our beloved blue box stores but will represent a new way for customers to experience and interact with the IKEA brand for urban home design.
The IKEA Planning Studio will complement the already strong presence of IKEA stores in the New York market with our stores in Brooklyn, Elizabeth, Long Island and Paramus. Stay tuned for more news and updates.
Find your favorite spring blooms in Central Park with a map and interactive guide
Spring is officially here, and there’s no better place to confirm the good news than Central Park, where the season brings a burst of color to every corner of the park’s 840 acres. Warmer weather brings beautiful blooms and a flurry of activities and events along with photogenic landscapes. The park’s Spring Guide has all you need to know about the park’s prettiest places to visit; a handy map points out where the blooms are, and you can search for your favorites and learn more about them. There are also events for families, Conservancy members and the general public that will help you make the best of the season’s beauty.
The map highlights the park’s best blooms so you can find your favorites or discover new ones, with information about what to look for and the best time to visit. A few highlights:
Central Park’s formal six-acre Conservatory Garden is divided into three smaller gardens, each with a distinct style: the northern, French-style garden; the center, Italianate garden; and the southern, English-style garden. The Garden features thousands of colorful blooms, including a popular tulip display that typically peaks the last week of April. Between April and May, look for the fragrant, colorful wisteria gracing the Garden’s beautiful pergola. LOCATION: East Side from 104th to 106th Street
Look closely for four colorful North Meadow Butterfly Gardens just northeast of the North Meadow. These gardens are full of flowers and shrubs that act as host plants and food sources for a variety of butterfly species. They are colorful, beautiful, and provide a wide variety of wonderful fragrances for visitors of all species to enjoy.
LOCATION: East Side between 102nd and 103rd Streets
If cherry trees are your favorite spring bloom, don’t miss the landscapes surrounding the Reservoir. Japan gifted Central Park and Riverside Park with thousands of cherry trees in 1912. Nearly 200 Yoshino cherry trees were planted on the east side of the Reservoir, with a similar number of Kwanzan cherry trees planted on its west side. Peak bloom time varies each year and depends on the weather, but color typically appears between late March and late May.
Central Park co-designer Frederick Law Olmsted described the 36-acre Ramble as a “wild garden.” Though the Ramble may not feature big-name spring blooms like tulips and cherry trees, you’ll spot many colorful native plants throughout its 36 acres. The Ramble also contains several rustic bridges and benches, providing a stunning backdrop to your photos.
LOCATION: Mid-Park from 73rd to 79th Streets
The park’s online Bloom Guide gives you an insider’s look at the park’s most popular blossoms and where to find them and provides even more facts on your favorites. A search through The Ramble in spring turns up bloodroot, Canada violet, cardinal flower, and many, many more.
Getting the park ready for the blooming season is no small feat, with 200-plus gardeners, groundskeepers and technicians hard at work to get the grounds groomed, seeding 300 acres of lawn, grading four miles of bridle path and flipping the switch on 150 water fountains in addition to prepping the park’s 26 baseball and softball fields for their April 6 opening.
In addition to the above bounty, you can take advantage of programs like Discovery Walks, tours and catch-and-release fishing. Spring Blooms: A Conservatory Garden Tour ($15/$10 for members) happens the last Saturday of every month; the staff-led tour offers an opportunity to learn about the garden’s history, design, and blooms from the people who know it best as well as behold thousands of colorful tulips, two picturesque allées of blooming crabapple trees, and a magnificent wrought-iron gate made in 1894.
4 DAYS. 400 BRANDS. COUNTLESS WAYS TO CELEBRATE DESIGN.
MARCH 21-24, 2019
Thursday, March 21: 10:00 A.M.-6:00 P.M. Open to design trade & VIP consumer ticket holders.
Friday-Saturday, March 22-23: 10:00 A.M.-6:00 P.M. Open to all ticket holders.
Sunday, March 24: 10:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M. Open to all ticket holders.
PIERS 92 & 94
55th Street at 12th Avenue
New York City 10019
Frida Kahlo: Communist, Feminist, Global Commodity
A look at a new retrospective of the Mexican artist’s work at the Brooklyn Museum.
Long before the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo was a global commodity, she was a communist. As a precocious teenager, she joined the Communist Party of Mexico and in her twenties, she led union rallies with her husband, the muralist Diego Rivera. It is said that she decorated her headboard with images of Marx, Engels and Lenin. In 1954, 11 days before she died from an arterial blood clot at age 47, Kahlo marched in a protest against U.S. involvement in the coup that deposed leftist president Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán in Guatemala. At her funeral, a red flag bearing a sickle and hammer was draped over her casket. “I’m more and more convinced it’s only through communism that we can become human,” she wrote in her diary during an extended stay in New York and Detroit in the 1930s. Kahlo’s radical politics built on her experiences as a mixed-race, disabled, bisexual, polyamorous, Jewish feminist who suffered from chronic pain, which she alleviated with tequila. Of her condition, she wrote, “I am not sick. I am broken.”
The Brooklyn Museum’s blowout exhibition “Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving,” the largest show dedicated to the artist in U.S. history, is a testament to Kahlo’s political and artistic life in all of its complexities and contradictions. Over 350 objects — from her eyebrow pencils and her favored pink lipstick to her Oaxacan ceramics and shawls — overshadow less than 15 paintings. The exhibition does not seek to challenge Kahlo’s rise to global stardom as a massively profitable cultural commodity — Bank of America, Delta Airlines and Revlon, Kahlo’s preferred lipstick brand, sponsored the exhibition — but for the most part, corporate sponsorship does not distract from Kahlo’s political and aesthetic vision.
The exhibition begins with a series of videos and photographs documenting the Mexico that Kahlo grew up in during the Revolution and its aftermath. Kahlo was born in 1907 — when Porfirio Díaz and his aristocratic regime still ruled Mexico, but later she fudged the dates, claiming 1910 as the year of her birth in alignment with the start of the Mexican Revolution. She grew up in a lower-middle-class household, the third of four daughters, in Mexico City suburb of Coyoacán. Her Jewish father, a photographer, immigrated to Mexico from Germany in 1892, and her mother — of Spanish and indigenous P’urhépecha descent — was from Oaxaca. A series of black and white silver gelatin prints taken by her father depict Kahlo posing for her father at a young age wearing the stoic, inscrutable expression that she would return to in her self-portraits later in life.
Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907–1954). Appearances Can Be Deceiving, n.d. Charcoal and colored pencil on paper, 11¼ x 8 in. (29 x 20.8 cm). Collection of Museo Frida Kahlo.
The photos progress from Kahlo at age two to her early adulthood in the post-Revolution years, when progressive political reform and a series of public works programs swept the nation. We see Kahlo at a march for the Union of Mexican Technical Workers, Painters and Sculptors; Kahlo dressed as a communist comrade with her classmates at the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria; Kahlo with braids and a rebozo shawl talking to peasants in the countryside; Kahlo in a wheelchair at a protest of the CIA’s involvement in Guatemala in 1954.
In Kahlo’s social circles, the appeal of socialism went hand-in-hand with the rise of a resurgent Mexican nationalism. The aftermath of the Revolution led to a period of national identity building, spearheaded by the minister of public education, José Vasconcelos — and joined by artists like Kahlo and her husband, Rivera. The movement celebrated Mexico’s multi-ethnic heritage, or mestizaje, in particular, by appropriating indigenous culture from southern Mexico for an identity that could unite all Mexicans — white, brown and mestizo into a “cosmic race.” In one gallery, curators recreate Kahlo’s Mexico City home, the Casa Azul, with displays of pre-Colombian ceramics, vases and sculptures dating as far back as 200 B.C.E, as well as votive paintings and folk art from the Brooklyn Museum’s collection.
Kahlo took political, aesthetic and sartorial inspiration from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec — Mexico’s narrowest point, which connects the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf. It’s where Kahlo’s mother had roots, though Kahlo herself never visited. An extensive set of cases display Kahlo’s wardrobe drawn from matriarchal Tehuana culture — lace headdresses, embroidered floral skirts, woven shawls, cotton and silk tunics in magenta, golden yellow, and azure — at times with Chinese and European flourishes. Another section is dedicated to the orthopedic corsets, prosthetic legs and plaster casts (some painted with the communist hammer and sickle) that she wore beneath the colorful dresses to support her injured spine. “Appearances can be deceiving,” a nearby charcoal sketch is titled, revealing the medical devices hidden beneath the elaborate costume. (The exhibition was named after the 1946 drawing).
The show reminds viewers that for much of Kahlo’s life, Diego Rivera and his sweeping murals depicting agrarian reform and campesino struggles overshadowed Kahlo and her self-portraits. A 1933 article from the Detroit News, printed on one gallery wall, shows Kahlo painting in her studio with the accompanying headline: “Wife of Master Painter Gleefully Dabbles in Works of Art.” A demeaning Time Magazine review from 1938 of a Kahlo exhibition in Manhattan reads, “Too shy to show her work before, black-browed little Frida has been painting since 1926, when an automobile smashup put her in a plaster cast, ‘bored as hell.’”
Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907–1954). Self-Portrait with Monkeys, 1943. Oil on canvas, 32 x 24 ¾ in. (81.5 x 63 cm). The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of 20th Century Mexican Art and the Vergel Foundation.
When I visited the show, I overheard several young women quietly remarking that they always considered Kahlo a more compelling artist than her husband Rivera. Indeed, today — Kahlo stands as an icon for all sorts of marginalized groups as well as cultural elites. Unlike her husband, her reach extends far beyond her paintings into the worlds of high fashion, queer and Chicano identity politics and both grassroots and corporate feminism. (As one egregious example, Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May wore a Frida Kahlo bracelet to give a speech at a Conservative Party conference in 2017.) For better or worse, the expansive Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum leans into all of these narratives at once, allowing the viewer to take home what they will.
Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving
Thru May 12
While the New York City subway tumbles along as one of the oldest public transit systems in the world, in the past few months the MTA has updated several stations across the city with gorgeous new art installations. The MTA Arts & Design division has worked with local artists since the 1980’s to bring artwork to more than 260 stations. These artists often ground their work in the history of the neighborhoods, telling the stories of the streets above.
1. Broadway Station, Astoria
The January re-opening of this elevated station in Astoria, Queens on the N, W lines brought landscapes of glass filled with vibrant color. Diane Carr, in her “Outlook” installation, took the valleys, rivers and streams that once made up the neighborhood and sent them through a kaleidoscope.
2. 28th St Station, Manhattan
The artist Nancy Blum used glass mosaics of flowering plants to bring some life to the recently renovated station on the 6 line. The Brooklyn based artist has designed hatch covers for the city of Seattle and a glass installation in the San Fransisco General Hospital, each of which focuses on floral designs.
For this project, she sourced the flowers from the nearby Madison Square Park Perennial Collection, profiling plants that can survive both the harsh winters and humid summers of the city. “Roaming Underfoot” transforms the concrete station into a garden filled with color. See more photos of this station here.
3. 23rd St Station, Manhattan
Artist William Wegman converted portraits of his Weimaraners in plaid shirts and raincoats into mosaics with the help of mosaic designer Mayer of Munich. Wegman started taking photos of the dogs in the ’70’s after he got a Weimaraner and named him Man Ray after the surrealist photographer. Man Ray, the dog, was the star of Wegman’s photography and the artist continued to collaborate with Weimaraners for his decades long career. In the station, the Weimaraners are surrounded by beautiful light blue and gold backgrounds that brighten up the look of this station on the F/M line. The dogs watch out for the next train or gaze at the crowds just like the passengers.
4. 145 St-Lenox Ave Station, Harlem
A line of drummers dressing in purple coats and hats greet commuters at this Harlem hub on the 3 line. The mosaics composed of glass and ceramic were installed in November 2018 as a part of Derek Fordjour‘s “Parade” installation. Fordjour, an artist based in Harlem, captured the bright colors and party vibe of the neighborhood’s historic parades. The pink hues and pastel yellows of his paintings and collages were converted into mosaic by Miotto Mosaic Art Studios. Now, passengers can experience the parade year round.
5. 167th St Station, Bronx
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, James Baldwin and Reggie Jackson all look out at busy passengers in artist Rico Gatson’s series of new portraits in this B/D station in the Bronx. The portraits are an addition to the artist’s ongoing “Icons” series, which was exhibited at the Studio Museum in 2017. In this installation, the artist focused on inspiring figures important to the Bronx, translating photographs into glass mosaics. Geometric lines of orange, yellow and blue emanate from these inspiring figures. “Beacons” captures the rich culture and history of the borough through its icons.
Join Harlem EatUp! as we celebrate our fifth anniversary this year! We are so excited to be back with an amazing lineup of chefs, restaurants, food makers, artists and musicians. From The Ultimate Grand Tasting and The Marketplace at The Harlem Stroll to the Dine In Dinner Series, our week-long festival, celebrating Harlem's food, art and culture is not to be missed. Get your tickets now and save 20% on The Ultimate Grand Tasting - through March 19 only!
Harlem EatUp! invites you to Dine In Harlem again as we celebrate our fifth year! We have turned the volume up on this multi-night feast with acclaimed Harlem and visiting guest chefs and restaurateurs, including host chefs like JJ Johnson, Jelena Pasic, Yvette Leeper-Bueno & Mimi Weissenborn, Kenichi Tajima, Marcus Samulesson, and visiting guest chefs like Mashama Bailey, Daniel Boulud, Carla Hall and Leah Cohen. Together, they will collaborate on unique dining experiences inspired by their cultures and traditions. Grab your culinary passport and fly in to Dine In Harlem.
We are thrilled to celebrate our milestone fifth year by welcoming you back to The Harlem Stroll in Morningside Park! Read more about The Harlem Stroll's Marketplace and the Ultimate Grand Tasting.
With free admission, pay-as-you-go options and an optional $25 Marketplace Food & Bev Package, The Marketplacefeatures Harlem artisans selling food and provisions, activities for kids, plus the EatUp! Main Stage presented by Macy’s with culinary demos and live music.
Get your tickets for The Ultimate Grand Tasting where you will graze on unlimited signature bites from 20+ of Harlem’s best restaurants plus samples of wine, beer and spirits, with live music and DJ's to boot!
Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled on Thursday a $10 billion plan to extend the coastline of Lower Manhattan as much as 500 feet to protect from future floods. The Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency project is the result of a study that looked at ways to build resilience in low-lying neighborhoods like the Financial District and South Street Seaport. The study found the only feasible measure for these areas would be extending the shoreline about two city blocks into the East River by adding a new piece of land at or above 20 feet from current sea level.
According to the study, led by the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency and the city’s Economic Development Corporation, by the 2050s, 37 percent of properties in Lower Manhattan will be at risk from storm surge. By 2100, nearly 50 percent of properties would be at risk, as the sea level is projected to rise by six feet. In a press release, the mayor said Hurricane Sandy, which damaged about 17,000 homes in 2012, revealed just how at risk parts of Lower Manhattan are to climate change.
“That’s why we not only have to reduce emissions to prevent the most cataclysmic potential effects of global warming, we have to prepare for the ones that are already inevitable,” de Blasio said. “Our actions will protect Lower Manhattan into the next century.”
The study found that extending the shoreline of FiDi and the Seaport District, instead of building flood protection on land, is necessary because the area lacks the space, with dense infrastructure both above and underground. According to the city, the new shoreline will serve as a flood barrier during storms.
A master plan will be completed by the city over the next two years that will establish a “new public-benefit corporation” to finance, manage, and construct the project. The city said it will immediately procure a team of engineers and designers through a Request for Qualification later this month.
And de Blasio also announced that the city will invest $500 million in capital projects for overall climate resilience, as well as in planning for the Lower Manhattan project. That investment will be spent expanding temporary flood-proof measures for the 2019 hurricane season, reconstructing the Battery Park City esplanade starting in 2020, elevating The Battery’s wharf and adding a berm at the back of the park in 2021, and designing a flood protection system for the Two Bridges neighborhood in the next two years.
A community outreach process is set to begin this spring, which will help determine the extent of the shoreline expansion and identify the project’s first phase.
“Impacts of climate change pose an existential threat to our quality of life and economic stability,” James Patchett, EDC President said. “A comprehensive strategy to protect Lower Manhattan against climate risks is critically necessary in order to safeguard our communities and secure our collective future.”
In a New York Magazine op-ed published on Wednesday, de Blasio said the project would need to be “backed by big federal dollars.” He also voiced support for the Green New Deal, an economic program proposed by Democrats that would address climate change.
“The national emergency is already here,” the mayor wrote. “We have to meet it head-on. And we need Washington behind us.”
Central Park Celebrates Spring
Date: March 20, 2019
Central Park Celebrates Spring with special events on March 20, the first day of the season! Start your morning off in the dirt, or settle in by the Meer for catch-and-release fishing — it’s all happening right here in Central Park.
All events are free!
9:00 AM — Volunteer Drive
Help our amazing volunteers prepare the Park for spring! Groups will take part in a weeding project in Central Park’s north end. Can’t make it for this project? Stop by any visitor centeror information kiosk to learn about other ways to get involved throughout the year. Weather permitting, advance registration required. Register now >
10:00 AM — Birding Basics: The Ramble
Central Park welcomes more than 270 migrating bird species each year. Prepare for peak migration season with a free tour of the Ramble and learn the basics of bird identification along the way. Advance registration recommended. Walk-ups welcome. First-come, first-served. Register now >
11:00 AM — Fishing at the Harlem Meer
Join us at the Dana Discovery Center for catch-and-release fishing on the Harlem Meer. Fishing poles, bait, and instructions will be provided. Weather permitting, no registration required. Learn more >
2:00 PM — Stroll to Strawberry Fields — Dogs Welcome!
Bring your furry friends for an exploration of Central Park’s southwest corner. From a planned military parade ground to the site commemorating John Lennon, some of the most-visited spots in the Park have secrets to share with even seasoned Park-goers. Advance registration recommended. Walk-ups welcome. First-come, first-served. Register now >
3:00 PM — Chess Strategies and Tips
Join us for a free chess talk and open play at Chess & Checkers House. Chess expert Ed Feldman will share tips and techniques, and then stick around to answer questions and give advice during open play. No registration required. Learn more >
Pop-up readings on Literary Walk
15% off in Central Park shops and online, with discount code SPRING
Learn more about Volunteer opportunities at any visitor center or information kiosk
Stop by the Dana Discovery Center, Chess & Checkers House, or North Meadow Recreation Center to Pitch in, Pick up, and help us keep the Park clean
The $20 billion, 28-acre Hudson Yards megaproject has been in the news recently as its official March 15 grand opening approaches. The New York Times reports that the nation’s largest residential development has gotten more than a little financial help from the city government to get there. In fact, public records–and a recent study by the New School–reveal that the development has received nearly $6 billion in the form of tax breaks and additional government assistance, twice the controversial $3 billion in incentives held out to Amazon to entice the retail tech giant to bring its second headquarters to Queens.
Where did $6 billion in taxpayer dollars go? Included in that tally were the $2.4 billion spent by the city to bring the 7 subway line to Hudson Yards; $1.2 billion was set aside for four acres of green space within Hudson Yards. The City Council kicked in $359 million to shore up interest payments on bonds when the development fell short of its revenue projections.
The point to be made is that the world’s most successful real estate developers–In this case Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group–are among the biggest beneficiaries of generous government tax breaks, meant to encourage development.
Of the incentives given to the Hudson Yards project, defenders say they’ll reap an enormous benefit to the city in the form of thousands of new jobs created. The subway extension is definitely a boon, and who can argue with parks and improvements at what was for years a jumble of old factories, tenements and a stretch of rail yards once known as “Death Avenue.”
But the city was lacking a subway stop on the far west side before the wealthy developers made it happen, and the counter-argument in both the case of Amazon and Hudson Yards is that big businesses with big profits at stake should pay their own way rather than getting government incentives–particularly tax breaks–sorely needed elsewhere.
The New School’s recent analysis, headed by Bridget Fisher and Flávia Leite, focuses on a particularly fortuitous property tax break that developers within the Hudson Yards area benefitted from which has cost the city more than $1 billion so far. This incentive can mean as much as a 40 percent discount for future developers in the area for as long as 20 years.
Additional incentives could be forthcoming for companies like mega-money manager BlackRock, with $5.98 trillion under management, who can get $25 million in state tax credits in exchange for adding 700 jobs at Hudson Yards. L’Oreal USA is in the running for $5.5 million of the same tax credit, and WarnerMedia could get $14 million.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has been a supporter of the Hudson Yards project–and of the Amazon deal–but appears to be rethinking the necessity of property tax breaks for big corporations since the recent Amazon debacle. He said in a statement that though Hudson Yards will benefit the city, “We’ve moved away from providing discretionary incentives like the prior administration. I believe state and local economic development programs need to be re-evaluated and updated.”
The city may approach the subject differently in a post-Amazon New York. Council Member Brad Lander of Brooklyn, a Democrat and founder of the Council’s Progressive Caucus and an opponent of the Amazon deal said he understands the benefits of subway expansion and new parks but, “We’re giving away tax breaks without paying close attention to what’s a good deal or not a good deal.”
James Parrott, director of economic and fiscal policies at the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School, expressed a similar sentiment: “We are still giving tax breaks to a development that enriches billionaire developers and high-rise commercial and residential development that is not benefiting ordinary people in New York.”
Hudson Yards will ‘officially’ open on March 15
Though it seems hardly a week can go by without a flurry of news from Manhattan’s newest instant neighborhood, Hudson Yards, the west side mega-project–the largest private development in the nation’s history–developed by Related Companies and Oxford Propertied Group now has announced that Friday, March 15th will be its official opening date. In addition to a grand opening celebration, the Public Square and Gardens and the neighborhood’s centerpiece, Thomas Heatherwick’s “Vessel,” are set to open on that date; more importantly, The Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards will be officially open.
Tenants will be moving into the towers at 55 Hudson Yards and 30 Hudson Yards in phases over the next few months according to a press release, and residents will soon be moving in at 15 Hudson Yards. The flurry of firsts from the 28-acre complex in recent months has included the topping out and interior renderings from the development’s tallest residential tower (35 Hudson Yards), progress on NYC’s highest outdoor observation deck (30 Hudson Yards) and the growing tenant roster at the Norman Foster-designed 50 Hudson Yards, the city’s most expensive office building.
Most recently The Shed, the new arts center at Hudson Yards announced an opening date(April 5, 2019) and additional opening season commissions. In addition to The Shed’s cultural contributions, 25 restaurant and food concepts are setting up shop at Hudson Yards, with chefs like David Chang, Michael Lomonaco, Thomas Keller and Costas Spiliadis weighing in. Retail and food offerings include a Neiman Marcus store which will anchor the Shops and Restaurants and bar, restaurant, and event space on the 101st floor of 30 Hudson Yards–one floor above the tower’s observation deck.
Opening day events include an invitation-only celebration at The Shops and Restaurants on the night of Thursday, March 14th and an Official Grand Opening Celebration and first walk on Vessel on the morning of March 15th. Expect more information and many, many more announcements in the months to come.
Real estate mogul Aby Rosen has picked up another New York City landmark. Rosen’s RFR Holding LLC, which controls the Seagram Building and Lever House, bought the Chrysler Building for $150 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. The sale represents a major loss for majority owner Abu Dhabi Investment Council, who paid $800 million in 2008 for a 90 percent stake in the 77-story Art Deco tower.
As 6sqft reported, the skyscraper first hit the market in January after owners Tishman Speyer Properties, which owns a 10 percent stake, and the Abu Dhabi Investment Council hired real estate firm CBRE Group to sell the property.
While the Chrysler Building serves as an iconic part of the city’s skyline, the pre-war building comes with some major baggage, which is in part why RFR was able to buy it at such a discounted price.
Major upgrades would be required for the 90-year-old tower, a challenge for any 1930 building but particularly for one that is protected by landmark laws. Real estate experts told the WSJ that the tower’s nearly 400,000 square feet of vacant space could require a nearly $200 million investment to attract new tenants.
And leasing fees for the land beneath the building have risen significantly. Owned by the Cooper Union school, the land cost the Chrysler Building owners $7.75 million in rent in 2017. In 2018, the annual rent jumped to $32.5 million and is expected to grow to $41 million by 2028.
Tishman Speyer purchased the building and two next-door properties in 1997 for $220 million, selling its majority stake to the Abu Dhabi government a decade later for quadruple the price. The firm still owns 10 percent of the building but it selling that stake to new buyers, according to the WSJ.
Did you know Grand Central’s clock is worth $20M?
For more than a century, millions of New Yorkers have been meeting “under the clock,” that great rendezvous point – and focal point – of Grand Central Terminal. The clock, which has presided over Grand Central’s Main Concourse since the Terminal opened in 1913, has stood out amidst the swirl of commuters and the flow of time, witnessing reunions of friends and lovers, beginning countless adventures, and playing a priceless role in the life of the city. Or, nearly-priceless. It turns out that appraisers from Sotheby’s and Christie’s have valued the four-sided brass masterpiece at between $10 and 20 million!
The brass beauty might be one of the most iconic timepieces in Manhattan, but it was made in Brooklyn, by the Self Winding Clock Company, at 205 Willoughby Avenue. Accordingly, the clock stands as a graceful and gorgeous reminder that Brooklyn was once the industrial center of the five boroughs, and “the grocery and hardware store” of the nation.
That provenance and fine workmanship contribute to the clock’s monetary value, but from an appraiser’s point of view, the clock benefits markedly from having a pretty face. Or four. Each of the 24-inch wide clock faces is made out of rare opal glass that certainly adds up.
An interactive ‘junglescape’ is coming to the courtyard of MoMA PS1 this summer
Serving as the light at the end of winter’s tunnel, MoMA PS1 unveiled this week the winning design for its popular summer outdoor music series Warm Up. The installation “Hórama Rama” by Pedro & Juana (a Mexico City-based studio founded by Ana Paula Ruiz Galindo and Mecky Reuss) will bring an immersive “junglescape” with a cyclorama that sits on top of the concrete courtyard walls. “Hórama Rama” will feature a 40-foot-tall, 90-foot-wide structure that floats over the courtyard space, with hammocks and a functioning, two-story waterfall contributing to the wilderness vibe. The temporary exhibit accompanies the outdoor music series that runs from June to September.
In its 20th year, the Young Architects Program challenges architects to design a sustainable outdoor installation that provides shade, seating, and water while remaining environmentally sensitive.
Hórama Rama was selected from among five finalists, including Low Design Office, Oana Stănescu and Akane Moriyama, Matter Design, and TO. An exhibition of the five finalists’ proposals will be on view at MoMA PS1 throughout the summer.
“Pedro & Juana’s world-within-a-world, Hórama Rama, is a manifold of views in which to see and be seen, to find and lose oneself in a radically different environment,” Sean Anderson, the associate curator in MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design, said.”The installation constructs a collection of scenes into which visitors may escape, even if for a moment, whether in a hammock or by the waterfall.”
In addition to the water fixture, the exterior structure features protruding wood “bristles” to create a sense of movement.
After facing criticism for the delayed and limited roll-out of Fair Fares, Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Johnson have announced plans to expand the program. Starting this fall, eligible New Yorkers in NYCHA, enrolled students at CUNY, and military veterans below the poverty line will have access to the program, which provides half-priced MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers. By January 2020, open enrollment will expand to all New Yorkers at or below the federal poverty line (a household income of $25,750 for a family of four). The program has also been criticized for its reversal on reduced fares for single trips, but Monday’s announcement came with the good news that a pay-per-ride option will be available by mid-March.
“The steps being taken today demonstrate the shared commitment by the Mayor, the Speaker, the City Council, and advocates to fulfill the program’s vision of making the turnstile the gateway to economic opportunity for all New Yorkers who are struggling to get ahead,” said David R. Jones, President and CEO of CSS, the anti-poverty organization that first proposed half-priced fares.
The program was met with confusion and criticism when it launched four days late on January 4th, with a roll-out that was far more restricted than expected. It was originally thought that the program would apply to the 800,000 low-income New Yorkers living at or below the federal poverty level, but that was narrowed down to just 30,000 residents receiving cash assistance from the Department of Social Services. In April, a second phase of the plan was to include the 130,000 New Yorkers who receive food stamps.
“I understand that reporters or anybody else might say, ‘Why can’t things be more instantaneous?’ But you would also say, if something went wrong, ‘Why did something go wrong?'” Mayor de Blasio said during a news conference. “We’re trying to use the first 30,000 to make sure the whole system will work.”
The city will be launching a three-month advertising campaign to raise awareness of the “Fair Fares” program in the top 25 New York City zip codes where there are large numbers of eligible individuals for the program.
By Donna Borak, CNN
Washington (CNN)It's been more than a year since Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last publicly answered questions about the Harriet Tubman $20 bill.
"We haven't made any decisions as to whether we'll change the bill, or won't change the bill," he said during a January 2018 onstage interview at the Economic Club of Washington when asked whether he'd follow through on an Obama administration plan to honor the Underground Railroad hero.
A Treasury spokesperson told CNN that the secretary's position "remains the same," adding that "the primary focus is on developing new security features to prevent counterfeiting" of the bill.
The Trump administration inherited the 2016 decision by Mnuchin's Democratic predecessor Jack Lew to swap out President Andrew Jackson, a slaveholder often lionized by President Donald Trump, for Tubman, a onetime slave known for her work freeing her fellow African-Americans from bondage. At the time of the announcement, the redesign of Tubman on the $20 bill was expected to be unveiled in 2020.
The overhaul of the $20 note would mark the first time a black woman would grace US currency. Tubman would also be the first woman in more than 100 years on a paper note.
Trump and Jackson
As a candidate, Trump routinely made appeals to African-American voters, challenging them to abandon the Democratic Party, and since taking office he has frequently boasted about the falling unemployment rate of black Americans. He has also repeatedly been accused of bigotry, most recently by his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who testified before Congress last week that his ex-boss was a "cheat" and a "racist."
Trump has also expressed admiration for Jackson, visiting his grave early in his administration and subsequently tweeting, "We honor your memory. We build on your legacy."
Trump has repeatedly spoken out publicly against removing the seventh American president, who was elected in 1828, from the $20 bill. As a candidate, Trump described the Tubman announcement as "pure political correctness," suggesting he would "love to see another denomination" for Tubman like the $2 bill.
Trump's former White House adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman wrote last year in her tell-all book, "Unhinged," that the President balked at the idea of putting Tubman on the $20 bill, reportedly telling her, "You want me to put that face on the $20 bill?"
A White House spokesman did not respond to a CNN request for comment.
Progress on redesign
It usually takes more than a decade to update paper currency. A redesigned $20 note is expected to be released into circulation sometime in 2030, although that could change if there are fresh counterfeiting threats. The $20 bill is the third in line to be overhauled, preceded by the $10 bill and $50 bill.
Lydia Washington, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which is overseen by the Treasury Department, said none of the details of the currency redesign -- all of which will require approval by Mnuchin -- have been finalized yet.
She said the redesign is on schedule but is still in the "development stage" with security features being prioritized. "The primary reason for currency redesign is security against counterfeiting, not aesthetics," Washington said in an email to CNN.
The Obama administration, however, made a priority of using the redesign as an opportunity to add well-known American women and people of color to the US currency.
The fight to put a woman on the $20
Tubman was initially supposed to be on the $10 bill, the next denomination in line for a security update. That bill features former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, who is enjoying a moment thanks to the hit Broadway musical about him, and the emergence of a viral campaign by a group called Women on 20s meant Hamilton ended up keeping the $10 bill all to himself.
The campaign -- specifically directed at removing Jackson -- went viral with 600,000 voters nominating the country's most famous abolitionist to be honored on the $20 note by 2020, which also marks the 100th anniversary of the women's suffrage movement.
So Treasury came up with a different plan to redesign three notes to incorporate women.
It would keep Hamilton on the front of the $10 bill, but the back would feature a montage of women involved in the American suffrage movement, including Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alice Paul. The recognition follows the issuance of Susan B. Anthony dollar coins that circulated from 1979 through 1981 and then again in 1999.
The $20 bill would replace Jackson with Tubman, a move that elicited cheers from advocates who wanted Jackson, who owned slaves and signed the law that drove Native Americans from their land in the Southeast, off the bill.
And the $5 bill would keep President Abraham Lincoln on the front, while it would showcase the Lincoln Memorial on the back along with portraits of people involved in historic events that took place there, including Marian Anderson and Eleanor Roosevelt.
New York City Whiskey Fest features over 100 styles of whiskey and spirits. Ticket holders are able to try their favorites as well as new spirits. All while getting to know more about the whiskeys from experts that will take them on the ultimate tour of whiskey.
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New York City Whiskey and Spirits Fest
Saturday, March 9
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The Tunnel NYC
entrance at 269 11th Ave between 27th-28th Sts
Local restaurants respond to growing demand for fresh food
Since the early 2000s, a host of new health-conscious establishments have transformed the restaurant scene nationwide. While some of these establishments focus on serving exclusively organic or vegan fare, others have a mandate to deliver local and farm-to-table products. In the beginning, most of these restaurants were on the pricier side, but increasingly, even fast-food or quick-service restaurants are focusing on local and farm-to-table products. But this raises a question: In New York City, what exactly does local or farm-to-table mean? 6sqft investigated to find out how these concepts are being defined and what types of local products are most likely to end up on plates and bowls in our city’s restaurants.
NY farms produce much of NYC’s food
New York may be better known for its urban than rural areas but, in fact, New York State is home to over 35,000 farms that cover over seven million acres. The state’s top crops are milk, corn (for feed), hay, cattle, apples, floriculture, cabbage, sweet corn, potatoes, and tomatoes. While there are some things one just can’t grow or raise in New York State (for example, lemons, pineapples, and avocados), when one drills down into the data, it soon becomes apparent that the state is an agriculturally rich region with a lot to offer.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, as of January 2018, there were over 625,000 milk cows in New York State (to put that into perspective, there are only about 100,000 people living in the state capital of Albany).
In 2017, New York State produced 760,000 gallons of maple syrup, 8,000,000 pounds of tart cherries, and 3,178,000 tons of alfalfa.
New York State is home to over 5000 acres of pumpkins and 14,000 acres of potatoes.