Friday, October 29, 2010

LW! girls go ghoul ... and Andrew, too!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Upcoming Events for your Calendar!

Music at Christ & St. Stephen's Church begins its 2010-2011 Season
Hear music at this Landmark church (designated in 1990 as part of the Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District.
Click here for more information.

Creating a West Side Landmark: Thursday 10/28/2010 at 6:00PM 
Learn the history of the NYC American Youth Hostel (a NYC Individual Landmark built in 1883 as the Association Residence for Respectable Aged Indigent Females) located at 891 Amsterdam Avenue between 103rd and 104th Streets. Admission is Free. For more information, call 212-666-9774.

Roberta Gratz and The Battle for Gotham: Wednesday 11/10/2010 at 7:00PM
Join famed urbanists and authors Roberta Brandes Gratz ad Richard Sennett as they discuss the competing legacies of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs in contemporary New York City.  This talk is sponsored by The Nation and The New School.  Admission is free; no tickets or reservations required.

Click here for more information.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The building formerly known as Tavern on the Green ...

Make note: when referencing the building once home to the iconic Central Park-sited dining establishment Tavern on the Green restaurant, you must now add the descriptor "the building formerly known as" beforehand.  Or "the old", "used to be", "once was".  Anything in the past tense will suffice.  

Today marks the re-opening of the (former) Tavern on the Green building.  Transformed from that of an iconic dining destination, the Central Park building, located just inside the park at West 67th Street, is now a Visitor Center and impromptu dining destination.

Where once the Crystal Room twinkled now park visitors gather to nibble on hip food-truck fare (on opening day, ice cream from Van Leeuwen, turkish tacos by Pera, the much-hyped Rickshaw Dumpling truck, and Ladle of Love).  For more on how we got here, head to A Walk in the Park blog.

Photos from our lunchtime walkabout:

Entrance nearest Central Park West at 67th Street.
Outside of new gift shop area in Visitor's Center.
Interior of Visitor's Center gift shop.
Food trucks provide nibbles for park goers and passers-by.
New benches and plantings.
View of dining patio.
Former Tavern on the Green, as seen from the Sheep Meadow.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

UPDATE from the FIELD :: Boathouse bar review complete; design improved!

As reported by Mary N.

Following up on our October 1 blog post ...

This past Tuesday morning, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) met to review for the second time an application regarding the replacement of the existing bar and modification of the terrace at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park.  This Public Meeting session (meaning no public testimony was permitted) comes after the September 28th Public Hearing review of this multi-part project.  For a refresher on LW's testimony from September, click here.

We are pleased to report that the proposal underwent changes since its first presentation to the LPC, and for the better!  The project architect, taking the Commission's suggestions to heart, introduced a darker color scheme and more wood to their design (previously, metal and glass reigned supreme).  Although the design itself was kept basically intact, darker, more natural-looking materials and colors were presented at this Public Meeting. 

One of the most troubling aspects of the project at the LPC's September 28th Public Hearing was the proposed raising of the existing decking.  As one of the Commissioners noted at that time, Frederick Law Olmsted was a "master of illusion", manipulating the landscape and structures in the park to create experiences that were not true to life.  Ie: making the Lake seem larger than it is by way of manipulating vistas, etc.  Raising the terrace would have brought the location out of balance with the overall illusion intended for a visitor to the Lake and Boathouse.  The project architect responded to this point by withdrawing that aspect of the proposal.  The decking will remain at its present height!

Overall, the Commission commended the new design, pointing out that the new color scheme made the bar read more as a pergola, not as a copy of the Boathouse or an extension of the Boathouse itself.  The Commission found the new proposal to be an improvement upon the original proposal and approval was granted.

LW! and its design review committee are thrilled to have been part of the community dialogue on this project.  We believe the proposal for the bar at the Loeb Boathouse has positively improved through the review process and will be eager to re-visit the bar upon the project's completion. 

For more on LW!'s position on this project, read our statement from the Sept. 28th Public Hearing.  For information on how you can participate in our design review committee, email us our committee coordinator,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

UPDATE :: LW! staff gets first peak at iPhone app

First came the funding campaign ...  

On August 17, 2010, LANDMARK WEST! announced the launch of its Kickstarter online funding campaign to raise monies for the first ever iPhone walking tour app of the Upper West Side.  For 35 fun, maraca-filled days, we shared our project far and wide, along the way inspiring over 50 people to back our project.  $3,285 later, the campaign has been a tremendous success!

Now, let's build this app!

Today, LANDMARK WEST! staff is excited to report that our iPhone app developer will be unveiling to us the first round of designs and schematics for this one-of-a-kind West Side iPhone tool.  From there, we'll work through the kinks, think through more content and functionality questions, and continue on!

Things are moving along!  Stay tuned as the app project develops!  You can get updates both here and on our Kickstarter project page (just click on the "Updates" tab!).  For more on this and other LANDMARK WEST! projects, check out our Twitter feed and our Facebook page.

Friday, October 1, 2010

UPDATE from the FIELD :: Downtown chic at Central Park's Loeb Boathouse? No, thank you.

As reported by Cristiana P.

Boat launch and outdoor bar at the Loeb Boathouse. 
Far left, white columns of the Boathouse; to the immediate
right, existing outdoor bar to be replaced.
Picture it: You're enjoying a beverage on the outdoor patio of the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park.  The calm reflection of the Lake; the soundless paddling of boats; the crisp rustling of leaves ... and a less-than-timid duck hops aboard the decking to join you for a brewskie.  The industry of the city couldn't be further from your mind.  That's Central Park living up to its character: rus in urbe.  That is, a bit of country rusticity in the heart of the urban city.

On Tuesday, a proposal was heard by the Landmarks Preservation Commission 
(LPC) at Public Hearing that would compromise the aesthetic of the Central 
Park landscape, and the selection of buildings located inside (ie: the Loeb Boathouse pavilion, where the proposal is sited).

LW!'s Certificate of Appropriateness (C of A) design review committee weighed in on this project.  The short of it: replace the existing bar with a new structure in glass and metal, relocate the bar closer to the Boathouse proper, swath it in a coat of bright-white paint ... and top it all off with an illuminated display podium for the liquor bottles.  Rustic, no?  And there's more: the proposal calls for raising the level of the patio area, drawing visitors further away from their interaction with nature. 

Our C of A Committtee strongly urged the LPC to deny the applicationClick here to read our testimony, and let us know what you think!  Our colleagues at the Historic Districts Council also presented testimony on this project (their statement available via their website)
.  The public review was also reported on by NY