When completed — supposedly in 2020 — 2 World Trade Center will be among the most interesting-looking additions to the Manhattan skyline that we’ve seen in years. It isn’t another of the pin-straight pillars currently in vogue.

From the virtual vantage of Brooklyn Bridge Park, the stair-stepping wedge-shaped building nearly entirely obscures its fraternal twin tower, 1 World Trade, and its stacked rectangular forms appear to flirt with the idea of toppling.

Interestingly, this precarious perspective will be the regular view of the building’s architect, Bjarke Ingels. The Danish designer purchased the $4,000,000 penthouse at Toll Brothers’ 205 Water Street in Dumbo last month.

Last night, Ingels and Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman unveiled a swooping, Times-made visualization of the building at the Cities For Tomorrow conference, an event continuing today.


The lack of affordable housing in a city where rents are skyrocketing is a full-blown crisis that threatens to tear at the city’s social fabric, a panel of four local experts agreed Monday, at a discussion hosted by the Museum of the City of New York.

“We need to preserve the diversity and vitality that makes New York what it is, and I’m worried that escalating housing costs are threatening that very vitality and diversity,” said panelist Ingrid Gould Ellen, director of the Urban Planning Program at NYU Wagner.

The panel, held as part of the museum’s current exhibition on the history of the city’s Landmarks Law, was called “Preserving the Fabric of Our Neighborhoods” – though moderator Simeon Bankoff, executive director of preservation advocacy group Historic Districts Council, suggested at the outset that an alternative title could be “Surviving Our Own Success.”

Several decades ago, the conversation would have been about a fleeing populace and vacant buildings, he noted. Michelle de la Uz, executive director of Brooklyn nonprofit community organization Fifth Avenue Committee, recalled that she “started in Park Slope when there were many abandoned buildings and vacant lots. Obviously now the neighborhood is a very different place.”

The panel broke down the current picture: spiking rents, a burgeoning population that’s expected to grow further, an influx of global capital that’s helping drive prices up and, in the midst of those trends, a declining number of rent-stabilized housing units.

It makes for a “double whammy,” noted Ellen, who said 200,000 rent-stabilized units were lost between 2002 and 2011.


For decades, homeowners have been selling apartments in Manhattan and buying townhouses in Brooklyn. As the price gap between the two boroughs narrows and Brooklyn becomes a “primary destination,” according to a story in The New York Times, that dynamic is changing.

Now owners of apartments in Brooklyn’s most expensive areas, such as Dumbo and Boerum Hill, are selling and buying apartments in Manhattan’s bargain neighborhoods — which now include the Upper East Side.


“The” City.

A recent post offered the term in a casual manner, with the statement that I had “convinced my wife to meet me in Queens Plaza after she got out of work in the city.” This started a bit of a debate in the comments section about the term which I haven’t been able to stop considering. If you’re a native New Yorker, and by native I include the 5 Boroughs, as well as Nassau, Suffolk, White Plains, or eastern Jersey – you are likely to refer to Manhattan as “the City.” The outer reaches of commuter land might substitute “New York” for “the City.” Typical usage is “we had dinner in the city” or “went to a concert in the city” or “works in the city” and so on. I’ve been overly intrigued about this one, for some reason, and have engaged in conversation about it with several people from all walks on the usage of the term. Most everyone, from Elected Officials to my local bartender in Astoria, agree on “the City” as referring solely to Manhattan.

What’s kind of interesting is that the so called “new people,” those who have found their way here in the last twenty years or so from the vast wilds of North America, think that this is all crazy talk. They look at Brooklyn and Queens’s East River coast and ask “what is this, the country?” To the generation of New Yorkers who were around in the 1890s that left the crowded streets of Manhattan for greener pastures on Long Island, it actually was.

More after the jump…


Many thousands of people come from far away places like Asia and Europe to visit Smorgasburg on the Brooklyn waterfront every season but there are still plenty of folks in Manhattan who haven’t made the subway or ferry trip across the river so we’re finally taking the show on the road tonight for one night only. From 5 to 9 pm tonight we’ll have 30 food vendors along with an assortment of craft beers and wines at SummerStage in Central Park. As an extra draw, Mile End will be preparing a special Shabbos dinner and Mister Saturday Night will be DJ’ing the family-friendly night away. SummerStage is located at Rumsey Playfield @ 72nd Street. Entry is free but food and drink is not.


As the difference in price between Manhattan and Brooklyn narrows — $210 at last count — more renters are eschewing Brooklyn in favor of Manhattan, according to a story in The New York Daily News. The attitude seems to be “if I’m going to pay through the nose, I may as well be in Manhattan.”

The renters profiled found better deals on the Upper East Side and Upper West Side than they did in Brooklyn’s most expensive neighborhoods: Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo, Williamsburg and Park Slope. One couple is paying $3,000 a month for a one-bedroom garden apartment in a brownstone building in the West 70s. The same apartment in Brooklyn would be about $500 more, according to a broker quoted in the story.

In 2012, the Wall Street Journal had a very similar story about an ad exec who traded Williamsburg for the Lower East Side. But the most expensive real estate in Manhattan is still more than in Brooklyn, according to the News.

Soaring Brooklyn Rents Have Tenants Searching for Affordable Apartments — in Manhattan [NY Daily News]


Socrates Sculpture Park is hosting its first Manhattan exhibit in over two decades. It’s called Fact of the Matter and features sculpture work from nine different artists; five art pieces were specifically created for this exhibit. According to Socrates, “Fact of the Matter is a special exhibition that explores the intimate and, at times, difficult relationship that is forged between material and artist.”

Because of the recent snow, the opening reception was pushed back to Tuesday, January 28th, 6 to 8 pm at the 1285 Avenue of the Americas Art Gallery. The gallery is free and open to the public daily from 8 am to 6 pm. This particular exhibition will be on view through May 16th, 2014. Find all the details here.