Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Replace Curbside Parking with Curbside Parks

PARK(ing) Day is an annual, worldwide event that invites city dwellers everywhere to transform metered parking spots into temporary parks for the public good.  In  the 21st century PARK(ing) Day started in San Francisco in 2005.

Parking day occurs for one day a year. But long before this in the first half of the 20th century Parking day was an everyday experience.

 Alternative Uses for Curbside Parking Space, Circa 1941

In this photograph from 1941 we see children gathering in a parking spot, a pushcart in the parking spot to their immediate right and on the sidewalk chairs where  adults would gather to chat. As Park(ing) Day has shown  there is no God-given right for internal combustion engine vehicles to be the only objects that can occupy a parking spot. PARK(ing) Day's curbside parks show that this can be done for a day a year. Park Chelsea intends to show this can be done for 365 days a year.

As the New York City Department of Transportation has converted roadways into seating plazas, we can convert curbside parking spots into curbside parks with REAL grass, flowers. hummingbirds, fireflies,  butterflies, seating  and other park amenities.

By trading several curbside parking spots on each block of Chelsea  for curbside parks, Park Chelsea   intends to go far beyond NYC Plan 2030 goal of placing a park within a 10 minute walk of every resident  of New York and reach a goal of a curbside park within a two to three minutes walk of every resident of Chelsea.

 The Chelsea Garden Club consists of gardens created by as a side effect of trading car roadway for bike paths.

   Shown above Sen. Tom Duane, here with Phyllis Waisman and Missy Adams at Luis's pit on 25th and Ninth, has championed the pit gardens and got us the green light to plant in the bike-lane tree pits

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Declaration that No Affordable Housing will be harmed in the creation of Park Chelsea

Upon informing Affordable housing activist Gloria Sukenick that I was in the process of creating Park Chelsea she immediately and forcefully let me know that she oppose what I was doing. I then let her know that no affordable housing would be harmed in the creation of Park Chelsea and in doing so she went from opposing the project to joining it as our affordable birdhouse coordinator.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Great Wall of Chelsea

Currently the publicly accessible portion of the high line ends on W. 30th St. unlike the beginning of the high line in the meatpacking district which is a human inhabited neighborhood, the West 30th terminus of the high line is an industrial area, 

to the east on West 30th is the Morgan Post Office, 
to the west on West 30th are sanitation Department facilities.
To the north on 10th Ave is the Long Island Railroad/Hudson yards

The Great Wall of Chelsea

 Surrounding the Hudson yards is a cement curtain that we will refer to as "the Great Wall of Chelsea". It is a dark gray wall with the words Hudson yards, Related management, and Metropolitan Transit Authority, continually repeated around the wall.

As part of Park Chelsea we would like the function of this wall to be changed from merely a cement boundary that encompasses the Hudson yards into a series of artistic murals that will be painted by our local art community.

as an example of what can be done here is a mural at PS 11

by turning this wall into a series of murals what will occur is that when viewers of the Highline exit at 30th street rather than being left in the middle of an industrial zone they will be able to continue their walking/viewing experience by following the path of the Great Wall of Chelsea art to where it reaches 34th St ..

 A mural painted on the wall of IS 44 Columbus Ave and 77th St

At 34th St The Great Wall Chelsea Art will continue to 11th Ave. In the future this will also connect to the new 7th Ave subway extension station at 34th St and 11th Ave.

Park Chelsea  has talked with local artists and MTA employees about turning the Great Wall of Chelsea Art into a canvas for our local artist and the idea has been favorably received so far. 

 "These are collages I did of Chelsea.  If you get permission to have this
wall painted I could copy these on to the wall...."
-Florence Cohen, Chelsea Resident

  Art Bridge a model for the Great Wall of Chelsea Art

In a city constantly under construction (with much of it stalled as a result of the unfortunate downturn in the economy) sidewalk bridging is everywhere. Very rarely, if ever, is the sight of a new shed going up seen as a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Although essential for waterproofing and repair work, sheds visually pollute neighborhoods, blocking light and obstructing walkways while nevertheless forcing residents and passersby alike to accept them as a less-than-ideal part of City Life.

In the late Fall of 2008, having had enough of the nearly 500 linear feet of bridging wrapping around his building, London Terrace resident and ArtBridge Founder, Rodney Durso, decided to do something about it. After the building management gave him the green light, he launched a competition that called for art from local emerging artists to cover the scaffolding, effectively turning a building under construction into an Art Destination.

It worked. Over 500 people attended the exhibition’s Opening Night and the community welcomed the installation. It beautified the streetscape, brought local, national and international media coverage to London Terrace Gardens, and reinforced the sense that the building did care about the quality of life of its tenants.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Park Chelsea's "Hospitality Seats" at Penn Souith Flea Market a Success

Park Chelsea's "a seat on every street campaign"  kicked off with its first "Hospitality Seats" outreach at the Penn South fleamarket between 26th St. and eighth and 9th Ave on June 4.

Stars of stage and screen Raggedy Andy and Raggedy Ann  took time off from their busy schedule to greet Penn South residents in need of the comfort of the Park Chelsea hospitality seats

20th St Park: "Quinn assures park advocates a solution will be found"

"After addressing Community Board 4 public meetings, garnering petitions and letters of support from neighbors, schools and businesses, having meetings with local officials and their staffs — and holding a well-attended rally — the Friends of 20th Street Park have finally received the big boost of support they were hoping for. In her strongest words to date, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has pledged to work aggressively to find a solution to bring both a park and affordable housing to the east Chelsea neighborhood she represents."

Full story:

Monday, June 6, 2011

Street Fairs 2011

Park Chelsea Street Fairs 2011

Sunday, June 12
Canon CF Cystic Fibrosis Event, on 18th Street,
between 5th and 6th Avenues,
212 741 0401

Saturday June 25th
6th Avenue Summerfest
              (on 6th Avenue from 23rd - 33rd Street) 
Call             (212) 809-4900       for more info.

Saturday, JULY 9 2011
on 6th Avenue from 23rd to 14th Street
phone (646) 230-0489

Saturday, JULY 30 2011
on 8th Avenue from 14th to 23rd Street
phone (646) 230-0489

Oct 1
Korean Day Block Party, on 32nd Street, between 5th Avenue and Broadway, on Saturday
718 482 1127   212 239 7337

Saturday October 1st
    Union Square Autumn Fair
              (on Broadway from 17th - 23rd Street)
Call             (212) 809-4900       for more info.

Saturday October 22nd
     The Lower Sixth Avenue Fair
              (on 6th Avenue from 14th - 23rd St.)
 Call             (212) 809-4900       for more info.

Union Square Broadway Festival
Sunday, OCTOBER 30 2011
on Union Square/Broadway from 17th to 23rd Street
phone (646) 230-0489

Friday, June 3, 2011

Chelsea's Sky Parks

Sky Parks

The Highline Park
The Highline is Chelsea's most well known Sky Park. but Chelsea has also has a number of other Sky Parks in buildings not open to the public.


Morgan mail processing facility Green Roof, 9th ave at 29th St.

A green roof is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane. if you add seating and other amenities to a green roof you get a Sky Park.  In 2009 Chelseas' Morgan postal facility on 29th St and 9th Ave installed New York City's first green roof which also just so happens to  function as a Sky Park.
USPS Morgan Processing Facility - EKLA
U.S. Postal Service Morgan Processing Facility Green Roof
Image Credit: Sigal Ben Shmuel, EKLA.

The U.S. Postal Service celebrated another example of its environmental leadership as it dedicated its first and New York City’s largest green roof high atop the Morgan mail processing facility.
At nearly 2.5 acres, and safely perched seven stories above the city, the Morgan green roof offers a spectacular panoramic view of midtown Manhattan and the northern New Jersey shore. Its 14 orange-hued Ipe Brazilian wood benches are made from lumber certified sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council. Native plants and trees include Calamagrostis, a lush, maintenance-free grass.
Elizabeth J Kennedy, ASLA
Damian Holmes of World Landscape Architect interviewed Elizabeth J Kennedy, Principal of EKLA about the US Postal Morgan Processing Facility Green Roof to get more of insight into the project.

WLA: Do you think your green roof project is the tipping point for green roofs or are they now seen as essential in city living?
Elizabeth: The project is a tipping point in terms of its actual size – big roof areas provide the opportunity to differently inspire the imagination. Typically, to justify the added cost of this type of installation, a green roof should be “useful,” sufficiently (and significantly) offsetting stormwater runoff, or mitigating heat island effect, or adding to the R value of insulation to reduce heating and cooling costs, to eventually offset the investment; in another context a roof of this size could be a productive urban farm – an idea that is no longer far-fetched in the general public’s mind. Except for farming idea, the Morgan P&D Center project was conceived in part to do all those things; however, in its vastness it is also poetic.

WLA: Are you currently designing any other green roof projects?
Elizabeth: This was one of seven projects commissioned in the past two years, including two for hospitals under modernization, and two providing open space for affordable housing; each one has been entirely different from the others. The 2+ acre roof of Morgan P&D Center is the largest in our portfolio; when completed, the green roofs of the WE ACT Environmental Justice Center, will be the smallest in size, at 350 square feet.
USPS Morgan Processing Facility - EKLA
Planting on U.S. Postal Service Morgan Processing Facility Green Roof
Image Credit: Sigal Ben Shmuel, EKLA.

USPS Morgan Processing Facility - <a href=
Seating/Work space – U.S. Postal Service Morgan Processing Facility Green Roof
Image Credit: Sigal Ben Shmuel, EKLA.

USPS Morgan Processing Facility - EKLA
Sigal Ben ShmuelEKLA project technical coordinator for U.S. Postal Service Morgan Processing Facility Green Roof Image Credit: EKLA

Chelsea Residence Sky Park 206 West 24th Street

...To encourage these benefits, incentives are sometimes offered. The developer of Manhattan's Chelsea Residence will receive a check for $55,000 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for using green roofs, thermally efficient insulation and energy-efficient windows, according to Richard Vitto, the project's architect.

Incentives are necessary since, in the short run, green roofs are more expensive to construct than standard-issue roofing. "You have to convince policymakers that green roofs deliver tangible benefits to the public that justify the investment," says Peck.

Those who experience green roofs are easier to convince--any new patch of greenery gets raves from urban dwellers enveloped by concrete and steel. The two green roofs on the Chelsea Residence, including a vegetable plot maintained by the tenants, are intended to make up for the complete lack of open space in the area. "Part of the reason you create green roofs is that they're good for the environment," says Vitto, "but it's the human aspect people get excited about." Other projects on the Earth Pledge roster include low-income apartment houses in the green-deficient South Bronx and Harlem.

Concludes Peck, "It's astounding how many benefits you can generate with green roofs. You can create a sense of community, keep people off the streets, provide social assistance and help the ecology."

see also Sky Parks-Part 2