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NY Times Gives Rave Architectural Review to Hunters Point Library


Ready for the world stage

THE critic has spoken and in so doing is probably just the start of what I expect to be a cavalcade of accolades for the Hunters Point Library. Now that it’s been completed, might its opening be the final piece that puts the LIC waterfront on the global stage? We already have the iconic instagrammable Pepsi Sign, the Gantries, and of course the in-your-face views of Manhattan. Throw in a pair of ferry stops, MoMA PS1 and the intrigue fomented by Amazon and its rejection, and the library opening and subsequent frenzy becomes the pièce de résistance for hordes of tourists.

Anyway, Michael Kimmelman the architecture critic for The New York Times wrote a gushing review of the Hunters Point Library, calling it a crown jewel located at “a singular, symbolic spot facing the United Nations and Louis Kahn’s exalted Four Freedoms Park across the water.” Wow, those are some pretty exalted architectural masterpieces he links the library to, but I wouldn’t disagree in regards to its stature and how it will be viewed for the remainder of the century – by the rest of the world. A belief I sensed a year and a half ago:

grand projects that may come across as impractical or wasteful at onset, can sometimes transcend their original purpose, as well as transform a neighborhood if the conceptualization of it is on target.

Kimmelman then goes on to highlight many architectural details, all favorably, as well as touch on the transformational aspect and the questions of how and if the City should be doing these types of projects (yes). Agree or disagree I expect the article’s cache will signal to the rest of the media that something big is happening, and that this is only the beginning of the frenzy. Next stop Bilbao.

//TWO steps forward and one step back, architecturally that is. Did anyone else notice the new blue spire emanating from behind the U.N.? Its attached to a new ~100-story office building on 42nd Street called One Vanderbilt and would be very, very hard to miss at night when it’s spire is lit up in bright blue. Or more likely a color du jour, all of which I expect to be very, very bright – possibly due to the overly thick nature of the spire?

//Finally, there’s talk of movement and collaboration on the tri-parcel waterfront of Hunters Point North. Or an article stating such anyway. Except according to that article, published yesterday by Politico, Plaxall is currently not involved. Which largely defeats the purpose – of both the talks and the article. To my mind, I wouldn’t be surprised if this big issue muddled along for several years without anything conclusive. Most significantly the NYC housing market is somewhat overbuilt, lending a not-pressing underpinning financially to any negotiations for the developers/owners of the properties.

Most significantly TF Cornerstone, the named developer of the middle parcel (city-owned) and previously named developer when Amazon was in play, is already in the midst of constructing the largest and only new property along the waterfront, 1200 units just south of Borden Avenue. Already the overwhelmingly largest landlord on Center Boulevard, I’m sure they’re more than happy to wait it out and see how the absorption (and NYC housing market) plays out on this new project in a year or so when it opens. In addition they also own a massive plot of land at the southern tip of LIC, were the market to firm up in the next year. Finally, the Elghanayans are long-term planners and don’t have the constraints (and financing) that place other developers under the gun time-wise.

I imagine that’s sort of true for Plaxall too, who’ve patiently sat on their plot for decades and are probably still feeling the sting of Amazon. Even the hotter money syndicate that owns Lake Vernon is probably feeling a little antsy, or maybe queasy, about the current market and timing. That leaves the City, spearheaded by the EDC, which is feeling antsy to do something with their “free parcel” and takes on no risk, other than the opprobrium of seemingly doing nothing. The latter being an option that in my mind is a lot better than doing the wrong thing by moving forward without all three parcels being integrated.

Why Can’t New York City Build More Gems Like This Queens Library?“The Hunters Point Community Library is one of the finest public buildings New York has produced this century “

Vision Comes Into Focus For LIC Waterfront and Halted Amazon Sitemehh, still blurry

Hunters Point Library Selected As Site of New Environmental Education Centergets $1 million for it

Bringing Climate To The Classroom In LICsounds like a great new local school program

Man Accused of Giving Booze To Kids Is Attacked By Father in LICahh, that’s the reason for the scooter/choking incident

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