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  #21  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2007, 10:15 PM
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http://www.nypost.com/seven/06212007...ich_calder.htm

APPLE'S ENCHANTED ISLE
PLANS FOR GOVS I ENVISION GRAND PARKS & PLAYFUL PASTIMES


By RICH CALDER
June 21, 2007

They went back to the drawing board, and now some of the world's most prominent landscape architects have come up with dramatic new visions for transforming Governors Island.

The city-state Governors Island Preservation and Education Corp. yesterday unveiled the five final proposals to convert the abandoned former military base into one of the world's greatest open spaces, including up to 87 acres of park space.

The designs, revealed during a public forum at Fashion Institute of Technology, include each team's ideas for a new 25- to 40-acre park on the southern end with incredible views of the Statue of Liberty, a 2.2-mile promenade encircling the island and pocket parks in the historic north end.

The goal: to make Governors Island a world-class destination and help lure future development.

"Building a world-class park is the first step in bringing Governors Island back to life," said GIPEC President Leslie Koch.

Many of the plans are as breathtaking as the island's views of New York Harbor.

A team led by West 8, based in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, has a unique plan that includes giving the public free access to 3,000 wooden bikes to ride along a looping pathway. "Our premise is that Governors Island has to be a world park, and we've set up a very organic structure of pathways that intertwine and cross like a butterfly's wing so that bikers and walkers feel like they've occupied the island immediately," said Rob Rogers, of West 8.

The planners WRT and Urban Strategies envision forested ravines, gardens and farms to help visitors feel as if they've discovered "a living, breathing organism" on Governors Island.

Hargreaves Associates and Michael Maltzan Architecture is comparing its plan to a "necklace" in which the buildings are jewels linked to a grand looping promenade with multiple strands that offer separate areas for biking, walking and in-line roller skating.

REX and MDP focus on pushing active recreation - sports fields, beaches, etc. - to the island's perimeter
in an attempt to make it more lively, while part of the interior would give New Yorkers a chance to get their hands dirty by digging in public gardens.

And a proposal by Field Operations and Wilkinson Eyre tries to keep it simple by avoiding cluttering activities and focusing on creating grand open space modeled after the mollusks that once flooded the island's shoreline.

Joshua Prince Ramos, a principal with New York-based REX, called the design competition "the only plausible way left to induce private development," considering the island is so isolated because it can only be reached by ferry and water taxi.

GIPEC in November tossed out all the proposals it had received from developers, including one by cable-TV giant Nickelodeon to create a children's theme park. Instead, it shifted focus towards first improving island access, creating the new parkland and finding tenants for the historic buildings on the north end.

Koch said GIPEC wants as much public input as possible before she and the rest of a eight-member jury select a winning team this summer.

GIPEC officials said the designs presented last night represent the architect's current visions but not necessarily their final product.


All the open space in the north end's historic district must preserve the district's character and its historically significant features.
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  #22  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2007, 10:22 PM
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http://gothamist.com/2007/06/20/governors_islan_3.php

Governors Island Designs Not Quite Ambitious?



June 20, 2007

The Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation is having a public meeting tonight to share the five designs for the island so far. The designers will be presenting and the public can offer feedback. The meeting is at 6:30PM at FIT (Reeves Great Hall, 28th Street and 7th Avenue), and you can see the designs here (http://www.park-centeroftheworld.org) and wonder if you agree with what the NY Times' architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff thought about them, as he offered his opinion in today's paper.

Ourousoff calls the designs thoughtful, but laments that they lack the "sweeping ambition such a unique parcel of undeveloped public land in New York City should inspire." He compares the project to the gold standard:

"It has been nearly 150 years since Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted laid out their plan for Central Park, the democratic utopia that is among 19th-century America’s greatest achievements. The plan was as notable for its audacity as for its aesthetic beauty. By comparison, all of these designs seem strangely subdued. This reflects not only budget restrictions, but also a climate of thinking small. How much more inspired would the designs have been if plans for the entire island, including its architectural components, had been requested, and if the teams were confident that there was money to carry them out?

Strolling across the barren loveliness of the island today, you long for a grander breadth of vision, for someone to step into Olmsted’s shoes."


Ouch. It'll be interesting to hear what goes on at the meeting - no doubt this article will come up. As we pointed out last week, it's possible that none of these designs will be built; instead, conceptual design processes like these are "an attempt to deploy big design to inspire big public zeal and the confidence of big developers/sponsors."

And here's a summary of Ouroussoff's thoughts on the different designs:

- Hargreaves Associates and Michael Maltzan Architecture: A "cunning attempt to engage the broader context of the city" with "pedestrian promenade unfurls along the island’s edge" and buildings that would "envelop the island in a necklace of geometric forms visible from surrounding boroughs."

- Field Operations and Wilkinson Eyre: "a fairy tale setting" with its "series of rolling, scallop-shaped earthworks," "dense forest of oak and maple trees," and fog from misters

- REX/MDP: "conceptually less refined," "grid, which in its current form seems somewhat simplistic, cleaves too closely to Manhattan"

- WRT and Urban Strategies: "sadly conventional" with "wetlands, wooded areas, sculpture parks and farmland" and a hill that "blocks out one of the most gratifying views of the harbor"

- Diller Scofidio & Renfro, Rogers Marvel Architects, West 8, Quennell Rothschild & Partners, and SMWM: "most thoughtful," with a "mountainous landscape...framing a view toward the Statue of Liberty and dividing the site into two zones, with a great lawn to the north and a fresh-water marsh to the south" with the mountainous forms concealing "a series of buildings — maritime gallery, climate research center, greenhouse — that inject the site with a dose of urban energy"


What do you think of the designs? The designs are also on display at Governors Island, which offers self-guided tours on the weekends and guided tours on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Here's information on visiting Governors Island.

Renderings of Hargreaves Associates and Michael Maltzan Architecture's Governor Island design submission





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  #23  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2007, 8:41 PM
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Quite frankly, I find this very, very ugly.
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  #24  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2007, 8:42 PM
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Quite frankly, I find this very, very ugly.
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  #25  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2007, 8:50 PM
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For catching giant flies?
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  #26  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2007, 9:51 PM
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The gondola idea is horrid.
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  #27  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2007, 11:22 PM
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For catching giant flies?
And mosquitoes...
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  #28  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2007, 11:24 PM
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http://gothamist.com/2007/06/20/governors_islan_3.php

Governors Island Designs Not Quite Ambitious?







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By the way, any and all of these proposals are just for the park that will be on the island...
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  #29  
Old Posted Jul 2, 2007, 1:22 PM
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http://www.tribecatrib.com/news/news.../governors.htm

Finalists Show Island Paradise Plans

By Carl Glassman
POSTED JUNE 29, 2007





Imagine slipping away for the day to an island of forests and beaches, pools and playing fields, meadows and majestic harbor views. All that and more just a seven-minute ferry ride from Lower Manhattan.

Such visions grace the schemes of five design teams. They are the finalists among 29 teams that competed to be the architects of a 40-acre park, now the empty fields and deserted buildings of the former Coast Guard station in the southern half of Governors Island. The winner is to be announced some time this summer.

The concepts were unveiled recently by the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC), the state-city agency charged with managing 150 acres of the 172-acre island. (The National Park Service administers the historic 22-acre northern end.)


GIPEC insists that this is not a competition of pretty pictures or even plans, but a way of picking the best team.

“I want to emphasize that this is really the beginning of the process,” said GIPEC president Leslie Koch, speaking last month to a heavily attended forum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where representatives from the five teams presented their ideas. “One of the challenges for those of us who are not architects is when you look at gorgeous renderings, you’re ready to put on your bathing suits and start swimming next weekend. That’s technology.”

Still, viewers are left to wonder which ideas in the concepts could—and should—come to be. The forest dense with artificial fog? The 4,000 free wooden bikes for traversing the island? The floating swimming pools? The mountains created from the debris of the island’s demolished buildings?

On June 25, Koch showed the design schemes to the Waterfront Committee of Community Board 1, who voiced little enthusiasm for any of the colorful concepts.

“The artificial landscape and all the fancy stuff just drives up infrastructure costs and maintenance costs and perhaps drives greater development of the island,” said Julie Nadel, the committee’s chair.

A draft resolution, tabled by the Waterfront Committee for more discussion this month, would make ballfields the board’s highest priority for Governors Island. Nadel called the fields “the one thing we really do need. It’s simple and flat.”

Downtown Little League president Mark Costello, who has been closely watching the design competition, said fields will be important to the success of the future island.

“Sports fields, on a small percentage of space, can bring a lot of people out there, on a predictable basis,” he said, “not just June but spring and fall, and these people will do other things as well.”

Having grown beyond the capacity of the Battery Park City ballfields, the Downtown Little League now plays some of its games on Governors Island. All told, the outing takes the better part of a weekend day, and some parents say they dread it.

“We can’t change the geography of Governors Island,” said Koch. “The experience has to be delightful to reflect the journey that got you there. But we can’t move it closer.”

Costello said that with an island trolley and increased ferry service, including a ferry from Battery Park City, the transportation problem would be “relatively easy to fix.” In any event, he added, the remaking of Governors Island presents an opportunity for Downtown families, and a responsibility, too.

“A group before us came and built public schools. They had to get up off their butts and get it done,” he said. “I think Governors Island is going to be the thing we build and leave to the parents who come after us.”

The five plans can be seen at www.govisland.com, the Center for Architecture, 536 Laguardia Pl. and on the island. Ferries to the island, open on weekends, leave from the Battery Maritime Building (next to the Staten Island Ferry terminal) on the hour, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and return on the half hour from 10:30 a.m to 5 p.m.














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  #30  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2007, 11:15 PM
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http://curbed.com/archives/2007/12/1...dutch.php#more

Governors Island Going Dutch



December 19, 2007
by Robert

Are there actually non-fake plans for Governors Island? Possibly. The city and state have announced that a Dutch firm, West 8, has been picked to design the open space on the island. It will include a two-mile promenade along the water, a park on the southern half, and a new park in the north. Don't buy the ferry ticket yet, though, the completion date is...2013.
























http://www.west8.nl/projects/all/governors_island/
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  #31  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2007, 1:43 PM
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http://www.nysun.com/article/68376

'Iconic' Design Chosen for Governors Island

By BENJAMIN SARLIN
December 20, 2007


The Dutch firm West 8 has been selected from among five finalists to design the open space on Governors Island, Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Spitzer announced yesterday.

The makeover will feature a two-mile promenade along the water, a park on the southern half, and a new park design in the northern section. Under the plan, a hill will be built over the rubble of demolished buildings, giving pedestrians a 360-degree view of the waterfront, including the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty. "New York is re-embracing the waterfront for the first time in more than a century," the mayor said yesterday at the Whitehall Ferry Terminal. "This park on Governors Island will be at the center of this new era of waterfront recreation for New York City, and will complement the city's other great parks and recreation spaces."

"It is going to be iconic," Mr. Spitzer said.

Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff said the Governors Island development, along with improvements to Battery Park and the construction of Brooklyn Bridge Park, is part of a broader strategy to develop a harbor district in the city.

City officials said the parkland is expected to be completed by 2013. Governors Island served as a supply base for U.S. Army ground and air forces during World War I and World War II, and was later handed over to the Coast Guard. Most of the island was transferred to the state in 2003, since which time it has remained largely deserted as its future was debated.
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  #32  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2007, 1:51 PM
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http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/20/ar...on&oref=slogin

Park Plan Is Chosen for Governors Island



By ROBIN POGREBIN
December 20, 2007

More than 10 years after the Coast Guard left Governors Island in New York Harbor, a team of architects has been selected to design a grandly whimsical green 40-acre park on its southern half that public officials hope will ultimately attract commercial development.

City and state officials announced Wednesday that the design — by the Dutch firm West 8, Diller Scofidio & Renfro, Rogers Marvel Architects, Quennell Rothschild & Partners and SMWM — had triumphed in a competition that had narrowed to five finalists.

Governors Island “has languished without sufficient attention, without sufficient investment,” Gov. Eliot Spitzer said at an outdoor news conference at the Staten Island Ferry terminal in Manhattan with Governors Island as a backdrop.

In an interview, he added, “We are committed to building it.”

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg echoed the governor’s determination. “It is one of the jewels of our city,” he said. “We couldn’t have a better location. Now it’s up to us to do it.”

The design, commissioned by the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, calls for transforming much of the flat, sober island, which is roughly a half-mile from Lower Manhattan, into green space. That includes a two-mile promenade at the water’s edge, a new park on the southern flat expanse of landfill — where abandoned Coast Guard buildings are to be demolished — and an improved park in the island’s northern historic district. The architects proposed using the detritus from the buildings that are to be destroyed to form hills that would exploit the island’s views, which include the Statue of Liberty.

“We have to create a completely new and original experience,” Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff said yesterday. “We’ve always seen the parks as the catalyst to the development of the rest of the island.”

Jerry van Eyck, one of the West 8 partners, said in an interview that the architects hoped to set a standard of quality design on the island so “we don’t end up with Disney or casinos.”

Financed by the city and state, the park project is expected to cost about $400 million and to be completed by 2012.

Isolated and vaguely mysterious to many New Yorkers, Governors Island served as the site of American military installations since 1794. In 2003 the federal government sold it to the state and city for $1 under a general understanding that it would be developed into park space and a cultural destination, among other uses.

The National Park Service continues to own and operate 22 of the 172 acres, including Castle Williams and Fort Jay, two early 19th-century Army forts that are protected by landmark status.

The architects were asked to set aside space for new buildings that Mr. Doctoroff said could ultimately include cultural or academic institutions. “Part of the plan was to leave areas that can be allocated as developers come in,” said Ricardo Scofidio, one of the architects. “You kind of set the stage with the park.”

A jury of city and state officials and design professionals picked the architects over four other teams: Hargreaves Associates and Michael Maltzan Architecture; Field Operations and Wilkinson Eyre; REX/MDP; and WRT and Urban Strategies.

The winning design “was really the scheme that best addressed the issues of phasing,” said Frederic M. Bell, the executive director of the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects, who served on the corporation’s advisory committee. “If money is going to be the problem, how do you create something at the outset that can grow and change over time?”

In the main, however, the architects were charged with imagining a park that was compelling enough to prompt visitors to get on the ferry — to design a destination that would “justify the journey,” said Leslie Koch, president of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation.

The notion was, “What can you do in this park that you can’t do anywhere else?” Ms. Koch added.

For West 8, that includes providing a fleet of bicycles on the island that can be used at no charge; the architects even designed a wooden prototype bicycle for that purpose.


For now the island’s environmental conditions are harsh and windy, said Adriaan Geuze, one of West 8’s partners. So the architects aimed to create a landscape where people would feel shielded from the elements. “We believe we have to change that into a more intimate, human-scale green island where you’re protected,” he said.

Jonathan Marvel, one of the architects, said: “We tried to establish different ecological zones with the park. Topography, shoreline, freshwater places for migratory birds to land because they use the Hudson River as their compass.”

The firms involved in the winning proposal met several times to brainstorm and map out the project. “In a way it started as a think tank,” Mr. Scofidio said.

The city has been studying the possibility of building a gondola designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava that could transport people to and from the island. “Based on what we’ve seen so far, it is definitely very feasible,” Mr. Doctoroff said.

Avi Schick, president of the Empire State Development Corporation, was named chairman of the Governors Island corporation yesterday; he replaces Mr. Doctoroff, who is leaving the city administration in February to become president of Bloomberg L.P. but will remain a member of the corporation’s board.

At the news conferernce Governor Spitzer played up the symbolism of enlisting a Dutch architecture team to design on an island where the Dutch were the first European settlers in the early 17th century.

Asked whether he was gratified by his involvement in the high-profile project, his first in New York, Mr. van Eyck said, “Look at my face” — and then smiled.

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HIGH ON GOVS I.
SKYWAY TO NEW TOURIST MECCA LOOKS LIKE A GO


By RICH CALDER
December 20, 2007

An ambitious plan to build a $125 million aerial gondola system connecting Governors Island to Manhattan and Brooklyn looks ready to fly, a top city official said yesterday.

While on hand to help announce that a Dutch design team was chosen to create 90 acres of new parkland on the long-dormant island, Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff said prospects of getting the once pie-in-the-sky gondola plan off the ground also look good.

"Based on what we've seen so far, it is definitely feasible," he said.

The gondola proposal, first reported by The Post in January 2006, would connect the historic 172-acre island to Pier 6 off Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn and to the Battery Marine Terminal in lower Manhattan. It would also give New Yorkers a more scenic option of commuting between Brooklyn and Manhattan.

The city-state Governors Island Preservation and Education Corp. is about a month away from getting long-awaited results of a technical and financial feasibility study of the futuristic-looking gondola plan to be designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, and the results will ultimately determine the project's fate.


Currently, the only way to Governors Island is by ferry and water taxi.

Doctoroff was joined yesterday at the White hall Ferry Ter minal by Gov. Spitzer, Mayor Bloomberg and other top officials in announcing that a team led by Netherlands-based West 8 was selected to transform the former military base into one of the world's greatest open spaces.

The $200 million city-state project will include a 40-acre park on the south end, a 2.2-mile promenade encircling the island and smaller parks in the historic north end.

West 8 group's unique plan includes letting the public use 3,000 wooden bikes that they could ride along a looping pathway to experience breathtaking views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor.

They also want to create an amphitheater overlooking the Statue of Liberty, a botanical forest with magnificent sculptures, plant new 3,000 trees on the island, and use recycled materials to create artificial hills for the one-of-a-kind panoramic views.

The materials will come from former military buildings on the south end that will be demolished next year to make way for the park, which is expected to be complete in 2013.

Adriaan Geuze, founder of West 8, said the company's Dutch background made including bicycles in the plan a no-brainer.

"I am from Holland, where bicycles are an important part of street life, and everybody bikes," he said. "You could never walk the entire island, but the bikes will help get people to experience more of the island and go anywhere they want to."


Bloomberg said he was particularly impressed by the bike theme, joking "it's a great idea; you don't have to worry about them being stolen" because "you can't take them anyplace" off the island.

Spitzer called the project "a once-in-a-century opportunity" to tap the island's enormous potential.
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Last edited by NYguy; Dec 20, 2007 at 2:04 PM.
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  #33  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2007, 6:49 PM
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Quite frankly, I find this very, very ugly.
Are they going to build this Oogly pile of ugliness?
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  #34  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2007, 10:36 PM
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^ The gondola plan hasn't been finalized yet.


http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/12/2...ernors-island/

City’s First Bike Share Planned for Governors Island



It ain't the Velib, but yesterday it was announced that Dutch team West 8 would design a 40-acre park for Governors Island, which will include a fleet of 3,000 wooden bicycles free for use by island visitors.

The Post, which says the Governors Island Gondola could also become reality, had a somewhat dispiriting quote from Mayor Bloomberg on the bike share feature, particularly when juxtaposed with designer Adriaan Geuze's comments.


Quote:
Adriaan Geuze, founder of West 8, said the company's Dutch background made including bicycles in the plan a no-brainer.

"I am from Holland, where bicycles are an important part of street life, and everybody bikes," he said. "You could never walk the entire island, but the bikes will help get people to experience more of the island and go anywhere they want to."

Bloomberg said he was particularly impressed by the bike theme, joking "it's a great idea; you don't have to worry about them being stolen" because "you can't take them anyplace" off the island.

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A Landscape’s Isolation Is Turned Into a Virtue

By NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF
December 20, 2007


The winning design for a 40-acre park that would unfold across the southern half of Governors Island is not the kind of grand public-works project the city once championed. But in an age when developers regularly usurp the government’s planning role, it reflects the kind of imaginative, civic-minded thinking that can restore our faith in city and state leaders.

The park’s informal landscape of undulating hills and voluptuous marshes is a refreshing departure from the crass commercialism that infects so many public projects today. At the same time, the designers have avoided tired period elements like cobblestone paths and bishop’s crook lampposts.

Although still in the early design stages, it could well become the most inspired public park built here in generations.

It’s hard to imagine a more gorgeous site, and the design team — Diller Scofidio & Renfro, Rogers Marvel Architects, West 8, Quennell Rothschild & Partners and SMWM — wisely capitalized on its advantages.

The 172-acre Governors Island in New York Harbor is now framed by the vanishing shipping cranes and warehouses of the Brooklyn waterfront on one side, and the Statue of Liberty on the other. Roughly a half-mile to the north is the dense cluster of Wall Street towers, Manhattan’s answer to the entrance of the Grand Canal in Venice.

City officials have worried that the island’s isolation might prevent it from drawing enough visitors to make it economically self-sustaining.

Yet the design makes the island’s isolation a virtue. Divided into four major sectors, the plan is anchored by a great lawn, a gently rolling carpet of grass that could be used for informal cultural events, with the harbor as a backdrop. A tree-lined promenade will trace the edge of the island so visitors can take in the stunning views.

The design’s most seductive feature, however, is an intriguing mix of natural and created landscapes. The architects envision a lush saltwater marsh at the island’s southern tip, an effort to recapture the natural beauty that was partly lost when the Coast Guard built housing after assuming control of the island in 1966.

As the promenade approaches the marsh, it morphs into a network of sinuous pedestrian bridges that loop over a fairy tale landscape of shrubs, grasses and willow trees. Visitors will feel as if they were suddenly hovering between the rough harbor waters and more stable ground.

To the north, in the center of the park, an artificial “mountain range” will be created from the rubble of the demolished barracks. Cutting diagonally across the island, the steep hills will create a skyline of sorts visible from the city,
and frame vistas of the Statue of Liberty and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

The architects envision, in a later phase, more hills, which conceivably could house museums or commercial spaces buried deep in their cores.

Leslie Koch, the president of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, says the project could unfold in several stages. A free bicycle program could be in place by next summer, encouraging New Yorkers to familiarize themselves with the island and its haunting beauty. A final design and environmental review won’t be ready until the end of 2009, and the project may take five years to complete.

Yet this is an instance in which slow, incremental steps offer comfort. Given that the money for large-scale public development dried up long ago, the current strategy in most American cities today with projects of this scale is essentially to hand them over to developers and watch what happens.

The Governors Island plan, by comparison, is humble in scale but big on ambition. What is more, by developing the island bit by bit, the city is enabling the public to appreciate what it has gained, which could help prevent overdevelopment.

How refreshing to see government not only take back some responsibility for the public realm, but also to do so with such care.
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  #35  
Old Posted Jul 28, 2008, 2:49 PM
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http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wi...,6998726.story

Art proposals sought for NY's Governors Island

July 14, 2008

NEW YORK - Officials are asking for proposals for art studios, exhibition space and a temporary entertainment and dining tent at Governors Island off lower Manhattan.

Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation President Leslie Koch says the requests for proposals should focus on "the role the island can play in the culture of New York City." The proposals would cover five years, starting in 2009.

The island is located half a mile off the tip of lower Manhattan.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/14/ar....html?ref=arts

Governors Island Invites Entertainment Proposals

By JACQUES STEINBERG; Compiled by JULIE BLOOM
July 14, 2008

The Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation on Monday will invite proposals for an entertainment and dining operation and for art studios and exhibition space on the island, just off the tip of Manhattan. The entertainment and dining element is to be in a temporary structure like a large tent, the corporation said, in a parking lot near the Governors Island ferry landing. The performance space is expected to seat 500 to 800. The artists’ studio and exhibition program will be placed in Building 110, an 1870 structure near the ferry landing. The program will not allow any residential use. The proposals would cover five years, starting in 2009, though renewals are possible. Leslie Koch, president of the corporation, said these submissions, called requests for proposals, reflect a focus on the arts, “the role the island can play in the culture of New York City.”
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Old Posted Oct 11, 2008, 5:18 PM
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Ushering In Open Space on Governors Island


Michael Appleton for The New York Times

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, right, attended the start of demolition work to make way for new park space on Governors Island.

By MARTIN ESPINOZA
Published: October 10, 2008


In New York, where demolition and construction occur at a furious pace, often amid the cries of competing interests, hardly a peep was heard on Friday afternoon when a giant steel claw began to tear through a set of unremarkable three-story buildings on Governors Island.


Michael Appleton for The New York Times

Steve and Theresa Petersen used to live in the Coast Guard complex being torn down, and came from Michigan to watch.



A couple dozen spectators quietly cheered the beginning of a project that will turn eight acres of the island into park space by next year. But Theresa Petersen, who drove all the way from Michigan with her husband, Steve, gazed at the destruction occurring before her eyes and began to shed tears.

“We were the first people to live there after they were built,” said Mr. Petersen, holding a video camera. They lived in a four-bedroom apartment with their three children in one of the buildings when Mr. Peterson was stationed on Governors Island as a chief warrant officer with the United States Coast Guard.

The 10 buildings that began to come down on Friday made up Liberty Village, housing built in 1988 for Coast Guard officers. The Coast Guard stopped using the island in 1996, and since the last residents left the next year, the buildings have been vacant. The federal government transferred the site to the state and city of New York in 2003, at which time more than 20 acres on the north end of the island were turned over to the National Park Service. This area includes Fort Jay and Castle Williams.

The rest of the 172-acre island, including a 92-acre historic landmark district to the north, is run by the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation and includes 16 acres of recreational areas and a one-mile esplanade for jogging and walking.

The buildings of Liberty Village will be replaced by a picnic area, and the project will for the first time open up the island’s entire 2.2-mile perimeter to bicyclists and pedestrians.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said that the city expected more than 125,000 people to have visited the island by the time the island’s season, which begins in May, ends on Sunday, some of them drawn by one of the waterfall installations by the artist Olafur Eliasson, on the island’s north end. In contrast, he said, only half that number of people visited the island in 2007.

Barbara Blackwood, a 65-year-old Astoria resident, said she visits the island once a week. The retired chambermaid used a walker to slowly make her way down the island from the ferry terminal to see her first demolition. She said she is eager to see the entire island converted for recreational use. “It’s open to the public, and you can see all these houses — things that were built in 1812. My God,” she said, stopping to take a breath.

Mr. Bloomberg said that by the time the island reopens next spring, new amenities will include a seasonal entertainment and dining venue on the north end of the island. The site will also have artists studios and space for art exhibitions, he said. Other plans for the island include a new home for the 425-student New York Harbor School, a public high school in Bushwick, Brooklyn, that focuses on marine science and technology.

Despite her sorrow, Mrs. Petersen said she was glad that the apartments where she once lived would be turned into a picnic area.

Mrs. Petersen watched as a huge excavator, fitted with a powerful grapple on the end of its black boom, shredded the blue roof gable and white porch where she often visited friends and other families almost 20 years ago. Her former building is scheduled to be demolished soon.

The Petersens said those few years living on Governors Island were, for them, the “ideal way to experience New York City.” They had a commissary, a bowling alley, a golf course, a Burger King, a movie theater and a school that went up to sixth grade. Meanwhile, the world-famous novelty of Manhattan’s urban frenzy was a mere minutes away by ferry.

The building they were watching come down, in grinding twists of metal and loud cracks of posts and plywood, was where a friend of their daughter had lived. They said they had not been back since 1991, when Mr. Petersen was transferred to Michigan.

“It’s just very sad to see it happen,” Mrs. Petersen said.



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Lower Manhattan Cultural Council to Run Artists’ Space on Governors Island



Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times
Governors Island, above, will be home to a year-round artists’ studio and exhibition space


By ROBIN POGREBIN
Published: October 19, 2008

The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council has been selected to run an artists’ studio and exhibition space on Governors Island that will include a year-round artist residency and weekend events.

The arts programming is expected to begin next spring in 14,000 square feet of space on the ground floor of a building on the island’s north shore. Building 110 is the “first building you see when you arrive” by ferry from Manhattan, said Leslie Koch, president of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation.

The selection of the council is the latest effort to transform the 172-acre island in New York Harbor into a destination that is an integral part of city life.

The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council is perhaps best known for its work on rejuvenating the arts downtown after the terrorist attacks of 2001. But it also has extensive experience with studio programs, having brought artists into donated spaces around the city, beginning in 1997 with its World Views program at the World Trade Center.

Ms. Koch said the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, established in 2003 to oversee the redevelopment, saw the arts as crucial to melding the island into the city’s dense urban culture.

“We’re learning from other neighborhoods in New York, where artists come first,” Ms. Koch said.

Last December a team of architects was selected to design a 40-acre park on the island’s southern half: the New York firms Diller Scofidio & Renfro, Rogers Marvel Architects, Quennell Rothschild & Partners, SMWM of San Francisco and the Dutch firm West 8. A master plan for the park is to be released in the spring.

Construction is also under way on a building for the New York Harbor School, a Bushwick, Brooklyn, public high school that will be the first permanent tenant on the island. It is expected to open there in the fall of 2010.

To solicit proposals for the island’s arts programming, the corporation said, it notified every arts organization that receives funding from the New York State Council on the Arts and from the city’s department of cultural affairs, Ms. Koch said. She declined to name the other applicants.

Maggie Boepple, president of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, said the island location would provide artistic inspiration. “It’s an extraordinary island,” she said. “The ability to step on a ferry and go to the middle of New York and have this relatively quiet place is going to produce some interesting work.”

The artists will keep bankers’ hours on the island: Monday to Friday, 9 to 5. (No overnight stays are permitted.) But during the island’s “public access” season — from the end of May to mid-October — artists will also be in their studios from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

During this year’s public-access season, which ended on Oct. 12, Governors Island received a record 128,000 visitors.

“As we look at Governors Island development over time, the first phase has to build on the success we’re already having with visitors,” Ms. Koch said.

Providing weekend cultural activity for the public is part of the cultural council’s mission at Governors Island. Events will include master classes, open rehearsals, workshops and open-air performances. “There has to be a program of exhibition and site-specific work and open studios,” Ms. Koch said.

The building is to have 30 artist studios and three rehearsal studios, Ms. Boepple said. The council plans to have up to three performing-artist, dance or theater ensembles and up to 20 visual artists in the studios at one time. Residencies will last three weeks in the public-access season and three months the rest of the year. Artists will be selected by a panel of experts. The $1.5 million cost of restoring the program’s space is to be covered by the corporation. The cultural council will pay no rent for the space, but will be responsible for annual operating expenses like heat, insurance and electricity, estimated at $250,000.

“We believe very passionately that the arts are critical to our success, that we provide a unique setting for artists to interpret,” Ms. Koch said.


Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
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http://eater.com/archives/2009/02/wa...ors_island.php

SHOCKERS: First Manhattan Water Taxi Beach Location on Governors Island

Tuesday, February 24, 2009, by Amanda


Satellite image of where the beach will be


Governors Island, the peaceful oasis and giant park located off the southern tip of Manhattan, is about to change forever. New York Water Taxi has just announced that one of the two Manhattan beaches they plan on launching this summer will be located on the island, a city property that has only been open to the public for the last few years.

But this won't be any old WTB.

In addition to the restaurant aspect of the beach (which will "focus on sustainability"), there will be beach volleyball, basketball courts, and a stage for concerts. Lovers of the island the way it is may not be so thrilled about the invasion of drunken carousing; while those wishing for a WTB on the island of Manhattan may be dismayed by the distance. But, in the end it will be a good way to introduce new crowds to the area. Stay tuned for more info on the second Manhattan location. The full press release:

Brooklyn, NY February 24 – Harbor Experience Companies (HEC), formed after New York Water Taxi acquired Circle Line Downtown, will build on the popularity of its Beach in Long Island City, and create a new Water Taxi Beach on Governors Island this summer. For the residents of lower Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn it will be a beach in their own backyard.

Water Taxi Beach/Governors Island will be a laid back, on the waterfront, beach experience of sun, fun, food and music; with tons of sand, beach volleyball, a café and outdoor grill, a stage for live performances and basketball courts. No swimming allowed. The food will focus on sustainability and the Beach will host birthday parties, family celebrations and corporate events.

Offering spectacular views of the Brooklyn and Manhattan skylines and the East River Bridges; Water Taxi Beach/Governors Island will be accessible from Lower Manhattan on the Governors Island Ferry departing from the Battery Maritime Building and by New York Water Taxi from Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

Working with the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC) HEC will reuse a former parking lot adjacent to the Governors Island Ferry landing at the north end of the Island to create the new beach.

Tom Fox President & CEO of Harbor Experience Companies said “Close to home recreation opportunities are increasingly important to the residents of lower Manhattan, and Downtown Brooklyn, and new close to home recreation opportunities are important to the 20 million metro area residents in these tight financial times.”

“Governors Island is truly becoming a destination and resource for New Yorkers and others to enjoy,” said GIPEC president Leslie Koch. “Water Taxi Beach is a wonderful addition to the Island’s amenities, providing new and exciting opportunities for entertainment, eating and drinking. It is a great step forward in the Island’s development.”

Updates on WTB/GI can be found at www.harborexperience.com beginning in May.




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Old Posted Feb 25, 2009, 2:35 AM
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think they could have removed the toilets from the photograph first?
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Old Posted Feb 25, 2009, 4:43 AM
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Lol
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