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Monthly Archives: June 2012

New York City’s waterfront is booming

New York City’s waterfront is booming

Think of the waterfront as New York City’s sixth borough.

At least the city’s government is − dubbing it so for the amount of planning and energy going in to revamping the Big Apple’s waterfront, said Arthur Platt, an architect and one of the guides on Classic Harbor Line Cruise’s Architectural Tour.

The tour, which lasts about three hours, is given three times a week and circles the island. It gives a sense of how quickly the city’s waterfront is changing — and helps give a new perspective on the city.

“I feel like it’s a very interesting way to catch up with all the development in different neighborhoods in a very short time,” said Meta Brunzema, an architect and founding director of the Friends of Hudson River Park, who served as a guest tour guide.

About 50 years out of the deindustrialization of the waterfront, changes have occurred at a slower pace than on land — but they are gaining steam, Brunzema said. Large lots occupied by sanitation or railyards have made spaces harder to develop, but very desirable.

“Ferry services want the space, people want it, and ecologists want to protect it,” she said. “What we really see is constant conflict resolution at work. It is very much a zone in transition at all times.”

The Daily News went on the tour. Here are our favorite shots from a city’s waterfront in transition:

Starchitecture in far West Chelsea: Shown in top image. Big names in architecture have glitzed up this section of the waterfront on the far West Side. At the far left, luxury condominium 100 11th Ave. is seen, created by French architect Jean Nouvel. Nouvel used different-size panes of glass at varying angles to pick up the light differently and create the multicolored glass effect. Moving right is the IAC Headquarters, designed by Frank Gehry. The bent glass resembles sails on a ship. In the background, the Empire State Building stands tall.

Statue of Liberty: The pedestal is closed to visitors through the end of 2012, but people can still come to Liberty Island. The New York City icon is best seen from the water.

Pier 57: After a wooden version of Pier 57 burned to the ground, it was reconstructed in the early 1950s as a state-of-the-art pier atop concrete caissons rather than wood pilings, said Brunzema. The building was designed in a 1930s Art Deco style and has served as a dock for ocean liners, a bus depot and even as a holding pen for people arrested during the 2004 Republican National Convention. Now, plans are in the works for developer Youngwoo & Associates to turn it into a complex with space for markets, restaurants and other businesses.

Click here to view it on the Daily News Website!

Boys of Summer

Boys of Summer Photo Shoot

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MV Manhattan

MV Manhattan

Melding styles is something that daring designers do. Getting it right can make one a legend, but the risks attached to failure are great in a business where you’re only as good as your last design. This is why so few naval architects and boat builders, like their couturier counterparts, are truly daring, and why should they be in times like the present when cash seems to be more abundant than imagination. Play it safe offerings embalm the classics at one end of the market while ever more ostentation and gimmickry supply the other end. Once in a while inspiration does break through – unpredictably, innovatively, daringly. In marine design it is rare because naval architecture is by definition more evolutionary than revolutionary. But there’s no mistaking when it occurs, the instinctive awareness that one is looking at a design that is somehow familiar but decidedly new, where it all works together in the right way and with the visceral certainty there will be emulators. MV Manhattan is such an occurrence and for now, there is only one, a working girl in New York harbor created by the Scarano Boat Building Company. Like her namesake, Manhattan embodies grace, charm, power and seduction in one beautiful package. Marilyn would approve.

A Trio of Design Concepts

MV Manhattan subtly combines elements of three design styles from the 1920s. Dominant among them is her Commuter heritage. The fast, waterborne limousines of the Roaring 20s sped to downtown docks in cities like Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, New York and San Francisco while their captains of industry owners dressed and breakfasted at leisure. Manhattan’s plumb stem, narrow beam and tumble home transom are all topside reminders of her dominant genes. Below the waterline, the flat run and twin 34” x 36” five-bladed props powered by a pair of turbocharged diesels (John Deere 6125 AFM 526 HP at 2100 RPM) through 2.54:1 reduction gears (Twin Disc MG5114 SC) easily put a bone in her teeth. Manhattan achieves 22 knots with ease. This classy dame will loiter for admirers but is fast on the getaway when she wants or needs to be. In the trade it’s called giddy-up and Manhattan has plenty to get her morning commuters to work in a style to which they, like their forebears, are most certain to become accustomed. The morning commute across the Hudson includes complimentary coffee service, bagels, muffins and seasonal fruit juice, Bloody Marys, and Mimosas, complimentary newspapers and fresh flowers. If going to work we must, this is the way to get there!

Notably, the first Commuters were not yachts by the standard of their time. Originally, yacht-like luxury was subordinated to speed, since true lavishness was reserved for sedate, floating mansions inhabited by people who never needed to hurry. But big wallets, huge egos and natural competitiveness were no less drivers of innovation eight decades ago than they are today. In time, greater elegance, comfort and capacity also accompanied speed as the role of Commuters expanded from pure transportation to entertainment as well. The Commuters evolved into the Commuter Yacht. With enough mahogany bright work and white enamel to require sun shades on a cloudy day and inside capacity for 50 guests (80 total including outside seating) MV Manhattan personifies the height of Commuter Yacht development, but with modern comforts.

Manhattan’s décor is elegant understatement, starting with plush cushioned seating for the climate-controlled main saloon accented by innovations like large opening skylights to maximize use of natural light to accentuate the beauty of natural woods and to provide vertical viewing from inside the cabin. Hand-woven throw rugs highlight the teak deck.

Every detail aboard Manhattan whispers personal warmth, from the fully stocked bar to full-size marine heads below decks. The galley (not pictured) is immaculate and efficient. Ambiance and style aboard Manhattan are more akin to a private club than to larger size dinner yachts or excursion boats.

Finally, there’s Manhattan’s semi-enclosed pilot house that harkens back to the open bridge destroyers and sub-chasers of World War I. Open at the aft end, it enables a level of communication and intimacy between the captain and passengers in the cabin behind him that was replaced years ago on larger craft by intervening decks, junior officers and “Do Not Enter” signs. One has to have skippered a yacht like Manhattan (this writer has) to understand the respect, interest and admiration passengers have for what the captain does – for many passengers this is a more novel experience than viewing the sights. It’s kudos for captain and crew when all goes right, it’s live entertainment when it doesn’t. Subconscious awareness makes every cruise a more personal and memorable shared adventure.

Manhattan blends saltiness and elegance. Eighty years ago she might have chased submarines or rum-runners or been a bootlegger herself!

It is not hard to picture Marilyn Monroe offering her playful comparison of yachts and destroyers in Some Like it Hot as she steps aboard Manhattan (the yacht in the famous movie was Caledonia II). Tony Curtis’ reply to Marilyn’s remark is also memorable. Playing the part of an oil-baron’s son, he says:

“Oh, it’s just regulation size, we have three [yachts] like this.”

We are not all Marilyn Monroe or Tony Curtis but thanks to MV Manhattan we don’t have to be to experience the glamour of a bygone era and the excitement of a modern day designer / builder betting on his instincts and coming up aces. If Al Capone were still with us today, he’d probably send flowers!

New York City Cruises

New York City Cruises

It’s summer, which means that along with the overbearing heat, the streets of New York City are teeming with people. While I usually don’t mind bumping shoulders with strangers, sometimes we all need a break from the chaos. Instead of holing up at home or in your hotel room, let me let you in on a little secret: local cruises.

Classic Harbor Line, a local boating company that features sailing, boat tours and private charters, allows for a mini vacation with their special interest day cruises. The vessels depart from downtown Chelsea Piers and sail on the Hudson River.

Classic Harbor Line gives you numerous options. Offerings range from having top scholars speak about the history and future of the NYC waterfront to foodie experiences of past Morimoto sushi & sake fights. Other options include the AIA (American Institute of Architects) NYC Architecture Tours. With this event, you sail down the Hudson as the NYC skyline sprawls around you in a 360 degree panorama. All the while, members of the AIA tell you how it came to be.

There’s a cruise to spark every interest. Check out the Jazz Cruise, the Spanish Wine Pairing, and Flamenco Guitar. These are just some examples, but you can enjoy anything from wine tasting, beer and cheese pairings, brunches, sunset dinners, jazz shows and more.

Beginning on May 23, the new America 2.0 is ready for boarding. It’s an 11-foot eco-friendly schooner and one of the leading boats for Op Sail 2012.

Here’s an idea. With Independence Day around the corner, why not hop onboard? Classic Harbor Line has all it takes for a spectacular Fourth of July evening. You can get aboard the Schooner Adirondack or the Yacht Catskill. You’ll sip champagne and watch the beautiful fireworks display over the NYC skyline, all in the company of Lady Liberty.


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