If you’ve ever wanted to check out the “music alcove” in Mark Zuckerberg’s Palo Alto pad or dip a toe in his salt water pool, next month might be your chance. Buzzfeed reports that Facebook’s CEO is hosting a fundraiser at his 5,000 square ft. home to raise money for Republican Governor Chris Christie’s reelection.
Back in 2010, Mr. Zuckerberg, Mr. Christie, and Newark Mayor Cory Booker famously graced Oprah’s couch to announce the billionaire’s carefully-orchestrated $100 million donation to Newark’s public school system. They’ve continued to work together on that education initiative, “earning the praise of reformers, and ruffling teachers unions.”
Sixth Avenue is a haven for corporate art, from Robert Indian’s Love to Curved Cube outside the Time Life Building, to say nothing of the massive galleries spanning the entire block between 51st and 52nd streets inside the UBS Building. The Avenue of the Americas is also home to mostly older office buildings, still very splendid and class A, but many in need of updating. It has become a hub of new elevators and air conditioners and reconfigured lobbies.
At 1133 Sixth Avenue, the Durst Organization is merging these two currents, popular public art and a sparkling new lobby, into a striking whole. The centerpiece of a new Gensler-designed lobby is an installation by light artist Leo Villareal, Volume (Durst). At 90-feet long, 12-feet high and 6-feet deep, the dazzling sculpture is Mr. Villareal’s largest three-dimensional work yet. Floating near the top of the lobby, it not only enlivens the space but the avenue, as well, fully visible through the two-story windows facing out on the plaza between the International Center for Photography on one side and a bank on the other.
“I love the chance encounter,” Mr. Villareal said at an opening reception for the lobby Tuesday night.
hack the vote
For many in the New York City startup community, it’s been nice having Mayor Michael Bloomberg around. Not only does the third-term mayor double as the city’s most successful tech entrepreneur, Mr. Bloomberg has championed policies aimed at turning New York into a hotbed of innovation.
With Mr. Bloomberg’s time in office coming to a Read More
From Obama’s speech to Kelly Clarkson’s song to Blanco’s poem, here’s all of the 52nd Presidential Inauguration thus far. (And continuing with the parade till 2:30 p.m.!)
Street Fighters Too
On Friday morning, Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan cut the ribbon on Willoughby Plaza, the first permanent pedestrian plaza in the city. Afterwards, she told The Observer that even after she and Mayor Bloomberg are out of City Hall, the plazas will persist thanks to public support.
The same morning, 200 miles away in Washington, the mayor Read More
Street Fighters Too
For the past six years, thousands of people a day have descended on a 150-foot long stretch of black top across from Borough Hall. There, nestled among planters and folding chair, Brooklynites and visitors, workers, students and tourists would all relax, meet up, hang out, maybe enjoy a shack stack.
Willoughby Plaza was one of the very first asphalt strips formerly dedicated to cars that was closed to vehicles, taken over and transformed into a space for pedestrians, helping to inaugurate the city’s popular if occasionally controversial NYC Plaza Program. Before Times Square and the Broadway Boulevard, before the new Grand Army Plaza or Fordham Plaza, before Janette Sadik-Khan even became DOT commissioner, there was Willoughby Plaza.
And now it is permanent, a thoughtfully designed, well-integrated piece of the streetscape rather than a bastardized piece of roadbed dressed up as well as DOT and the local business groups could manage. This is the dream for all 50 (and counting) of the city’s new temporary plazas, and 16 finished spaces are already in the works. But standing in the freezing cold with Commissioner Sadik-Khan and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz trading barbs, one wonders how many more plazas might be in store for the city.
Tomorrow, Durst/Fetner will go before the Zoning and Franchise Subcommittee of the City Council, one of the final stops in the months-long public approval process for the developer’s angular apartment building at the western edge of 57th Street. Councilwoman Gale Brewer has sent a letter to the developer outlining her demands ahead of the hearing. They largely follow concerns she has had from the start, namely the affordability of the project, community space and an enticing streetscape for the project.
One of the big debates that has been raging around the rezoning of Midtown East is how it might impact development already underway around the city, much of it funded in part by the public sector, and thus taxpayers. Should these projects fail, Joe Public could lose out on his investment.
The World Trade Center and Hudson Yards have been two focal points, but Manhattan West, which broke ground yesterday, ought to be considered, too. While the project’s backers bragged at the groundbreaking about building without public subsidy, they are still competing for the same anchor tenants as their rivals further east. Furthermore, the $2 billion the city contributed to the construction of the 7 train nearby is to be paid back through property taxes on the new projects. No new development, no bond proceeds, big trouble for the city.
Still, Mayor Bloomberg is standing by the decision to fast-track the Midtown rezoning and ensure it gets completed this year.
For the second time in as many months, Mayor Michael Bloomberg trekked out the Far West Side for a groundbreaking on a major new development built over a set of railroad tracks. While Brookfield’s Manhattan West is not quite as big as The Related Company’s Hudson Yards, in its size and scale and heft and sheer exclamation of the arrival of this once derelict corner of the city, the project measures up pound for pound. Some 5.4 million square feet of offices and housing and shopping on not much more than one city block.
“With today’s groundbreaking, we’re taking a major step forward in the transformation and rebirth of the Far West Side of Manhattan,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said from the podium at the corner of 33rd Street and Ninth Avenue.
The team from 4 Mori Restaurant Group signed a lease for a 625-square-foot space and will open a wine bar, VITIS La Vineria, at 284 Third Avenue between 22nd and 23rd Streets.
Gianluca Deiana, a restaurant consultant with experience at Asellina and Arte Cafe, is the president of 4 Mori Restaurant Group. Additional partners include Kevin and Chis Balfe, executives at Mercury Radio Arts, the publishing, radio and television production company founded by conservative political commentator Glenn Beck.
Kevin Barrett of Platinum Properties represented the tenant and landlord, One A Kim, Inc.