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Thread: Roosevelt Island

  1. #31

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    ^ Amusing story.

    Good news about Kahn's Roosevelt Memorial park (post 28). It will provide tram-rider tourists with a destination and all of us with a magical place of contemplation.

  2. #32

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    Some pictures I took today on Roosevelt Island.
















  3. #33
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    The bridge looks nice with its new paint job.

  4. #34
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    Roosevelt Island's Main Street Is NYC Version Of Prisoner's Village -
    Will New Study Bring Master Leaseholder And Change Depressing Drab?



    Main Street Image Of Roosevelt Island Is The Village From Glark

    Roosevelt Island's drab, dreary and depressing Main Street has often been compared to East Berlin prior to the fall of the Wall or even The Village from the great British Television program The Prisoner. Glark, a blogger recently visiting Roosevelt Island wrote:
    This morning I got up early and explored the half of Roosevelt Island I missed on my first trip to this weirdo bit on earth in the East River. Main Street in so late 60s and early 70s it made my teeth ache. It’s all concrete and metal siding, rundown and aesthetically homogeneous. It’s like a English village via Soviet Russia. It’s the New York version of The Village from the cult TV series The Prisoner. It’s fascinating that it is so close to Manhattan and yet worlds apart.
    Well, maybe things are about to change for Roosevelt Island's Main Street. The long sought after Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Study ("The Study") prepared by Phillips Preiss Shapiro Associates has been completed and made public.

    Roosevelt Island Main Street Retail Study

    It is quite detailed and 54 pages long. Issues of Roosevelt Island demographics, appropriate retail store and square footage mix, what type of retail services do the residents of Roosevelt Island want and not want, competitive analysis of existing retail choices, problems caused by the restrictive covenant in Gristedes Supermarket lease that inhibits retail competition, how can visitors be attracted to Roosevelt Island to spend retail dollars, future options for Main Street retail, among many others are addressed. It is a comprehensive document.

    The Study's findings are (Page 2):


    • Roosevelt Island residents do just 12% of their shopping on the island.
    • The existing retail mix on Main Street is failing to capture the new market opportunities afforded by the island’s growing affluent market.
    • Main Street suffers from several design flaws.
    • Residents have a very negative attitude towards Main Street.
    • Roosevelt Island is gaining affluent residents while maintaining its economic and ethnic diversity.
    • Cultural and athletic activities bring thousands of visitors to Roosevelt Island each year, but this translates to very little spending on Main Street.
    • The most desired new retail uses from residents on Roosevelt Island are a bakery, a restaurant, a green grocer, an ice cream shop, a pizzeria and fish store.
    • There is sufficient demand to support at least a small-format green grocer, a bakery, another sit-down restaurant and a quick-service food and beverage establishment.


    Roosevelt Island Main Street Arcades Page 14 of Report

    The Study recommends (Page 3):
    ... six major interrelated intervention strategies to set a new life for Main Street in motion:
    • Create a public/private partnership to lease and/or help manage Main Street.
    • Pursue specific streetscape interventions and create appearance standards and design guidelines for Main Street retailers.
    • Revive the Roosevelt Island Chamber of Commerce to be the steward of Main Street success.
    • Re-organize existing non-profit uses to maximize available marketable space, and cluster
    • appropriate non-profits into space more suitable to function.
    • Make Good Shepherd Plaza the “town square” of Roosevelt Island.
    • Create a “Gateway to Main Street” at the southern entrance point to Main Street.

    The Study concludes (Page 38) that the following types of retail tenants would be most appropriate for Roosevelt Island's Main Street:
    1. Green Grocer
    2. Ice Cream Shop
    3. Specialty Cheese Shop
    4. Seafood Store
    5. Bakery
    6. Pizzeria
    7. Florist
    8. Restaurant
    9. Butcher
    10. Home furnishings store.
    As to the future, the Study found, as we all know from historical practice, that RIOC is not qualified to manage a successful Main Street Retail environment (Page 39-40):
    ... The RIOC does not have the administrative or professional capacity to create a successful retail environment on Main Street.

    This is due in large part to the extensive RFP process which is required pursuant to the RIOC’s status as a public authority. The RIOC should follow the example provided by other public authorities in New York which have dealt with this same issue by engaging retail professionals in the private sector. Private involvement in Main Street could utilize one of the three following basic approaches:
    1. The Master Leaseholder (the JFK Model): Under this arrangement, the RIOC would solicit proposals, as it did in 2005, for a private takeover of all or some Main Street retail storefronts. Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy airport is an example of such an approach. In 1997, the Port Authority of New York executed a 25 year lease with Schipol USA and LCOR Incorporated for all retail spaces in the terminal. Schipol/LCOR sub-leases each space and manages the overall retail environment.

    2. The Retail Manager/Consultant (the Grand Central Model): This model would allow the RIOC to maintain control over Main Street, but the leasing process and management of the tenants would be handled by a private consultant(s). The tenanting of individual spaces, storefront design guidelines and maintenance standards would be based on an overall retail master plan developed by the RIOC. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s partnership with Jones Lang LaSalle and William Jackson Ewing is a good example of this arrangement. This example is highlighted on the following page.

    3. The Hybrid Model: This model, which represents a combination of the first two approaches, would be based on a Retail Master Plan created by the RIOC. The Retail Master Plan would identify specific categories of retail that make sense from both a market and community viewpoint and, where possible, identify the potential locations of each. RIOC would then solicit proposals for a master leaseholder. The master lease agreement would contain stipulations about specific types of tenants and locations are available based on the RIOC Retail Master Plan.

    The RIOC has articulated a desire to continue to maintain some control over the tenanting and management of Main Street. As such, the Grand Central model really makes the most sense. The problem, however, would be the costs associated with retaining qualified private consultants. If retaining a consultant is not economically feasible, the RIOC should consider the feasibility of pursuing the Hybrid Model. This would allow the RIOC to identify several specific uses that are: (1) desired by residents; and (2) viable based on the market analysis in this report, and negotiate a master lease agreement with stipulations that the master leaseholder must pursue tenants in those categories. Conducting a transparent RFP process, including an independent appraisal of each space, for the overall management of Main Street would fulfill the requirements of the Public Authorities Act by securing a fair market value for the master lease. The private firm would then be allowed to sub-lease the spaces, as long as the tenants met the stipulations of the RIOC Retail Master Plan. ...
    Maybe, perhaps, if we are extremely lucky, RIOC will follow through on the Study's recommendations, get out of the business of managing retail on Main Street and find a private sector Master Retail Leaseholder to take over Main Street.

    Read the whole 54 page Roosevelt Island Retail Study yourself which RIOC has posted on their web site as well. Lots of interesting stuff.

    Otherwise, Roosevelt Island's Main Street is doomed to continue to look like a drab relic of East Berlin before the Wall fell or the Village from The Prisoner!.

    Be Seeing You.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-X5H...layer_embedded

    http://rooseveltislander.blogspot.co...et-is-nyc.html

  5. #35

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    Very interesting. I did quite a bit of research on RI as I almost moved there a couple of months ago. Almost because ultimately Main St was one of the huge minuses - the businesses there are truly not up to par with the city and the main or should I say only supermarket is literally an 'only if you must' place to do shopping.

    The businesses in the new condos are decent - though far from great - and a whole lot of bureaucratic mindlessness is preventing proper growth and improvement on the island. I hope someone will look at this and do something about it. Though honestly I know they won't, since there have been many suggestions like this in the past and nobody ever bothers.

  6. #36
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    This is really interesting. I vaguely remember reading somewhere that there used to be direct access from the Queensborough Bridge to RI but have never been able to find it.


    March 9th, 2010

    Unusual Roosevelt Island On Film Tonight at 6:30 PM - See The Last Trolley Over Queensboro Bridge & Bridge's Centennial Celebration

    You Tube Video of Last Queensboro Bridge Trolley Ride

    The Roosevelt Island Public Library is hosting:
    A series of presentations by Judith Berdy of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society, featuring our unusual Island on film!
    Tonight at 6:30 PM the films shown will explore the Queensboro Bridge and it's relationship to Roosevelt Island lying right underneath. According to the Roosevelt Island Historical Society, tonight's films will be:
    Modern Marvels: New York Bridges © 1999 A &E Television Networks
    The story of the Queensboro Bridge and its construction. The bridge celebrated its centennial in 2009.
    New York’s Last Trolleys © 2008 Sunday River Productions
    Nostalgic Trolley Tour: Queens Trolleys © 1999 Mark I Video
    Both videos bring to life the sites, sounds and bumpy rides of the trolleys that rode over the Queensboro Bridge from 1916 to 1957, and show Welfare Island in the 1950’s.
    You Tube Video of Queensboro Bridge Centennial From Streetsfilms

    More on the Queensboro Bridge Trolley from NYC Roads:
    ... Two trolley lines were provided on the outer lanes of the lower level. The trolley service, operated by the Queensborough Bridge Railway, went back and forth between stations at each end of the bridge. The trolleys also stopped at two other stops on the bridge: one above Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City, the other above Roosevelt Island. From these stations, trolley riders descended a small staircase to a catwalk underneath the roadway, where they entered an "upside down building" (the entrance was on the roof) in which they took elevators to street level. Trolley service ended with the completion of the Roosevelt Island Bridge in 1955. The old elevator buildings were demolished in 1970...

    Image of QB Trolley Cars from Abandoned Stations - columbia.edu, David Pirmann Collection


    and Abandoned Stations:
    ... The very last trolley line in the city, it ran just over a mile and a half from the underground terminal at 2 Ave to a street terminal at Queensborough Plaza. The primary reason it was kept open was the trolley station at the middle of the bridge span over Welfare Island (now Roosevelt Island), which was the only access to the island until a bridge was built from Queens in 1954. The Queensborough Bridge Railway was finally eliminated in 1957. The outboard lanes of the bridge were converted to auto lanes, and the underground terminal was converted to garage space for city vehicles....
    Last year's Columbia University Roosevelt Island Transportation Study proposed a Queensboro Bridge Cultural Center with an updated 21st Century version of elevator access to the Bridge from Roosevelt Island.[


    Image by Columbia University Transportation Study Group

    http://rooseveltislander.blogspot.co...d-on-film.html

  7. #37
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Man, a cultural center for the QBB?

    Yeah, why does NYC need things like Baseball fields anyway?

    >wark<

    Thank God this was a proposal and not anything serious. I do not mind "culture", but sometimes we are so busy celebrating the past we forget to live in the present.

  8. #38
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    Whoosh! The Trash Can as a Pneumatic Tube

    By EMILY S. RUEB

    Underneath the 40-block strip of land between Queens and Manhattan known as Roosevelt Island is a complex system of pneumatic tubes that connects the island’s 12,000 or so residents. But it’s not mail that’s hurtling through them at at 30 miles an hour. It’s garbage. Vacuum cleaners, Christmas trees and last night’s unfinished dinner have all passed through the intestines of the Automated Vacuum Assisted Collections facility, a pneumatic trash system built in 1975 that seems forever ahead of its time.

    An exhibit titled “FAST TRASH: Roosevelt Island‘s Pneumatic Tubes and the Future of Cities,” examines this Jetsons-like system and how it can be used as a model for hauling away unwanted items in other cities. Curated by the architect Juliette Spertus and the design firm Project Projects, the month-long exhibit opens on April 22, Earth Day, at the Rivaa Gallery on the island.

    “The point is to get the conversation started,” Ms. Spertus said. By showing how other cities like Barcelona, Macao and Stockholm are retrofitting or using the technology, she hopes that the range of projects displayed will provoke people to think differently about urban planning. A panel discussion at the New York University Wagner Graduate School of Public Service called “Comparative Garbage Collection Strategy and Urban Planning” will follow on May 6.

    The “Fast Trash” show will dissect the pneumatic transport system using explanatory diagrams and video interviews with the engineers who maintain the system, and offer a little bit of whimsy. A selection of drawings by students from the Child School explore what garbage collection might look like in a future without roads.

    The show also celebrates the 40th anniversary of the master plan that the architects John Burgee and Philip Johnson developed for what was then called Welfare Island.

    Judy Berdy, the president of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society and a 32-year resident, said she hoped the exhibit would shine a light on the island she called “a perfect Utopian village.” She praised the clean and efficient trash system, but said it was in perpetual jeopardy.

    “Every year the sanitation department threatens to cut it from the budget, and every year our councilman saves it,” she said.

    The staff of eight full-time engineers perform regular repairs and maintenance on the system, monitoring the vacuum seals and gauges, which are often on the fritz. They have halted the engines for residents who panicked about missing false teeth, wedding rings and pocket books that have been sucked under the city’s streets. And even let them sift through a 12-ton pile of refuse.

    Ms. Spertus compared the trash tubes with another better-known and relatively beloved piece of infrastructure on the island, the tramway that connects it to Manhattan. Because the trash system is invisible to residents, she said, it suffers from a lack of respect.

    “What they like about it is, they don’t have to think about it,” said Ms. Spertus. “It’s not something you can ride on.”

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20...e/#more-156927

  9. #39
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    Roosevelt Island Pitch: Better than the 'Burbs

    By CRAIG KARMIN

    The developers of apartment buildings that have been sprouting on Roosevelt Island faced gale-force winds in 2008 when they began marketing their latest condo project amid a weak housing market.

    But conditions there have now improved for Related Cos. and Hudson Cos. The two-mile-long strip of land in the East River has turned into a growing residential community, even if it has fallen short of the original planners' lofty targets.


    405 Main St. on Roosevelt Island, with Queensboro Bridge in the background.

    Related says more than 70% of the 123 condo units have been sold, although some are still on the market for less than what they were originally offered. A new 242-unit rental building is nearly full, and developers are phasing out earlier concessions like a month of free rent.

    The sales and rental activity is a reflection of what's going on in the broader market, which has recovered from its lows. Nevertheless the developers, which have the right to construct three more buildings on the island to bring their total projects there to nine, haven't yet determined when they will proceed.

    The developers also are still courting residents to the new buildings at the southern end of the island, known collectively as Riverwalk. They have sponsored summer concerts series, backed children's programs and even provided rent-free rooms in one of the buildings to a day-care center that opens in September.

    The sales effort is the latest chapter for an island sandwiched between Manhattan's Upper East Side and Long Island City, Queens, that has a rich history and is unlike any other community in the city.

    While it's home to about 10,000 people and is only one subway stop from Midtown, Roosevelt Islanders say it can feel much farther away.

    "We have a rooftop cabana and at night it's a great place to go to let off stress," says Rob Gregor, who lives with his wife in a Riverwalk building and works at a Manhattan law firm.

    "We were looking for someplace with a suburban feel but since I work long hours in midtown, we didn't want a long commute," he said.

    The developers say it's been a challenge to generate interest in a place once featured in a 1969 Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit called, "The Island Nobody Knows."

    "Our motto used to be: Manhattan's Newest Village," says David Kramer, a principal at Hudson. "But we realized people considering living here didn't want urban. They wanted open space, water views, something more peaceful."

    Island visionaries more than a half century ago promised more than that. While it had served as an insane asylum and prison in the 19th and early 20th centuries—New York politician Boss Tweed spent a year there on corruption-related charges—the city in the 1960s began planning to transform the island.



    Architect Victor Gruen said it would be "the first 20th century city" that would "integrate housing with other facilities…unscrambling the melee of flesh and machine."

    A plan from renowned architect Philip Johnson displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art would have banned automobiles from the island, restricting traffic to minibuses and bicycles. It also provided housing for 20,000 low and moderate-income people.

    But the island hasn't lived up to that vision. Its population is closer to 10,000, vehicle traffic is allowed and the design for the many of the buildings is unremarkable.

    Four affordable housing units were erected in the 1970s in the middle of the island, but units in many of the other buildings go for market rates.

    In 1996, Related and Hudson reached an agreement with the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp., the island's governing body, to build nine new buildings.

    While the developers were required to set aside part of the housing as affordable—some of which are occupied by staff of the Weill Cornell Medical College and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center on Manhattan's East Side—they also designed luxury rentals and condos aimed at better-heeled professionals with young families.

    As with properties throughout Manhattan, the housing crunch caused Related to adjust its expectations on Roosevelt Island. The developers pulled back several of the condos for sale, some of them returning to the market at sharply reduced prices.

    A two-bedroom, for instance, initially offered in 2008 for $955,000 was delisted in April 2009, according to Streeteasy.com. Three months later it was listed at $800,000, and is still available for about that price today. Rents for a one-bedroom unit in the other new building average $2,690 a month.

    The island isn't for everyone. Retail and dining options are few; there is one supermarket for the entire island, though Fresh Direct delivers. With the tram to Manhattan under repair until early fall, transportation off the island has become limited.

    In certain ways, Roosevelt Island hasn't entirely abandoned a utopian vision. It's a racially diverse community, and with many United Nations employees living there—including at one point former Secretary-General Kofi Annan—it has a noticeable international mix. There are no garbage trucks on the island; instead trash is disposed through underground tubes to a collection center on the island and picked up by Queens sanitation workers.

    Mary Coonan, a therapist and island resident for 17 years who now lives in a Riverwalk property, says the upscale new buildings helped attract a professional class that didn't usually consider the island before.

    But she hopes Related and Hudson never construct the final three buildings across Main Street. "Then I might move," she says ruefully. "It would start to feel too crowded, too much like across the river in Manhattan."

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...NewsCollection

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    Roosevelt Island's Retail Cold War Ending

    August 31, 2010, by Joey


    [Photo collage by Glark.]

    The uniform and downright dreary look of Roosevelt Island's Main Street retail corridor has been compared to East Berlin, but is the comically depressing scenery about to change? The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation has issued a Request For Proposals (RFP) for a private company to become the master leaseholder and help revive the retail strip, Roosevelt Islander reports. There's a lot of complicated language explaining what the RIOC is looking for, but here's how RIOC member Jonathan Kalkin put it in a tweet: "Bye Gov't Run Commerce on Roosevelt Island. Hello Freedom, Hope, Choice, & Prosperity. RIOC Tear Down This Wall." Let the fro-yoification of Roosevelt Island begin!

    Master Leaseholder Request For Proposal Issued For Roosevelt Island... [RI]
    Nobody Likes Roosevelt Island's Main Street [Curbed]

    http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/0...war_ending.php

  11. #41

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    Courtesy of Roosevelt Island Historical Society


    Island Photos Circa 1968

    By admin
    A friend on the island discovered these 6 photos circa 1968. They show the lsland before any development started in 1970.
    Photo 1 The Welfare Island Bridge went directly to the West Road. There was no Main Street. To the south are the Cancer and Neurological Hospitals.
    Photo 2 South view of area that now includes PS/IS 217 and Westview

    Photo 3 A forlorn and empty Chapel of the Good Shepherd. Next to it is the Good Samaritan German Lutheran Church. The buildings surrounding them were part of the City Home, a home for elderly, sickly and impoverished.

    Photo 4 Entwined in the weeds are the three wings of Blackwell House. The north wing was demolished during its 1975 restoration. To the south is the driveway and entrance to the Central Nurses Residence.
    Photo 5 Goldwater Memorial Hospital from the east with the now demolished City Hospital to the south. The City Hospital was built from east to west across the island. The walls of the hospital were quarried from the stone on the island.
    Photo 6 From the south looking to the island is the Smallpox Hospital. The building to the east of the center of the hospital “H” is Brennan Hall, part of the complex. This building was demolished very soon after this photo was taken. The buildings just north were part of the complex of nursing school and staff housing.
    http://rihs.us/?p=1

  12. #42
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    Stanford Wants to Build $250 Million Campus on Roosevelt Island

    CURBED
    March 18, 2011

    ... details on Stanford's plan, which seeks to revive the Goldwater Hospital site on the northern tip of Roosevelt Island, a piece of property that's been on architects' minds for a while ...

  13. #43
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    Field Trip: WTF is up on Roosevelt Island?

    by Andrea Marpillero-Colomina


    At the north end of Roosevelt Island, looking towards Manhattan and the Bronx.

    Roosevelt Island, that two-mile long, 800-foot wide isle between midtown Manhattan and southern Queens, holds appealing mystery. There’s an abandoned hospital; there’s an adorable red tram; there’s surprising history.

    From an architectural perspective, Roosevelt Island is a fevered dream.

    At the southern end, a park designed by the renowned Louis Kahn (who, according to The New York Times, was carrying the finished plans for the park on him when he died of a heart attack in Penn Station in 1974) is scheduled for completion in 2012.


    James Blackwell House, built at the turn of the 19th century.

    Then, at the base of some central-casting stereotypical 1970s towers, there is a small house surrounded by raggedy lawns, just off Main Street. It was built for James Blackwell in 1796, and is the only surviving structure from when the island was privately owned.


    These towers are part of Phase I of Philip Johnson's Master Plan for Roosevelt Island.

    This set of buildings set the tone for this portion of the island; the tower-in-the-park-esque density here is intensely urban.


    More buildings from Phase I of the Master Plan.

    The towers that serve as the backdrop for this house are part of Philip Johnson’s 1969 Master Plan for Roosevelt Island. These towers were constructed as Phase I of Roosevelt’s Island planned redevelopment.


    Covered sidewalk on Main Street, Roosevelt Island.

    Their modernist concrete porticos hood protect pedestrians from inclement weather, but obscure the ground-floor retail, which includes an award-winningly skanky thrift store and a startlingly empty post office that my companion declared, “probably the best place in New York to get your passport renewed.”

    Church of the Good Shepherd, constructed in 1889.

    In the midst of these towers is the Chapel of the Good Shepherd, a landmarked 1889 church, funded by a local banker, and built for the residents of the Almshouse, a city institution for the poor, sick, and elderly.

    Beyond is a small shopping complex, its parking structure abutting a bridge that connects to Queens, the only way to leave Roosevelt Island on foot. Only at this moment does it occur to me that the strangely still air feels entrapping.

    Mid-afternoon fieldtrips do not often take a creepy turn; this one defies expectations. Where are we?, my companion with the passport renewal ambitions half asks me. When a tennis club appears, a bizarre exurban apparition, it is of no comfort to us. The people playing tennis seem equally displeased to see us. Perhaps they are thinking that instead of being voyeurs from the faraway land across the river, we are there for some time on the courts.


    Winner of the 1988 Dress Up Your Neighborhood contest!

    Beyond the tennis courts is a large community garden, the apparent winner of the Dress Up Your Neighborhood contest in 1988. We contemplate the landscape, framed by two power plants in the background. (Roosevelt Island, by the way, boasts excellent views of power plants.)

    Looping back around, the newest construction, adjacent to the tram stop, is made-up of bland residential towers with equally snooze-inducing Starbucks and Duane Reade commercial ground floors, along with the requisite sushi restaurant and artisanal bread shop (how urbane!). The whole thing is like a second-rate Battery Park City.

    Offensively boring new construction aside, Roosevelt Island is charming in that creepy small town cemetery way; a cross between an architectural eulogy and yard sale.

    http://www.architizer.com/en_us/blog...sevelt-island/

  14. #44
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    Manhattan and the Queensboro Bridge look great, but that bike path and its surroundings look pretty ordinary and not very inviting IMO.

    (see article for various videos of the re-opening).


    Scenes From the Grand Re-Opening of Roosevelt Island's New Southpoint Park - A Great New East River Waterfront Park For New York City



    Not all of Southpoint Park is open to the public just yet. Construction is still going on at the Louis Kahn/FDR Memorial Boondoggle just south of the newly opened Southpoint Park and is expected to continue for a couple of more years. Here are the latest renderings (click to enlarge).







    Images are from FDR Four Freedoms Park


    http://rooseveltislander.blogspot.co...pening-of.html

  15. #45
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Pretty, but WAY too much concrete.

    That walkway in the last picture will be HOT in August!!!!!

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