Monday, November 24, 2008

Astroland is Being DISMANTLED!

photo from Curbed

So I guess this part of Coney Island isn't being saved? Curbed reports that the rides are being packed into shipping containers, and there are rumors that the rides are going to some amusement park in Australia. It's a sad day for Coney Island.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Photo Post: Grant's Mosaic Benches Restored

I have always loved these mosaic benches that sit around Grant's Tomb at 122nd Street and Riverside Drive. Now they're even prettier (and safer!) thanks to a restoration done by CITYarts, a public art-loving non-profit organization based in New York City. I stopped by there today to take some pictures to encourage you all to take a stroll over and have a cup of hot cocoa on these beautiful and surprisingly comfortable benches. Plus, Grant's Tomb is delightfully neo-Classical, so you should check that out, too.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pretty Building Appreciation Photo

Corner of Grant Street & Elizabeth Street
photo taken on November 16, 2008

"Restaurant" Review: The Brooklyn "Diner"

During my Architectural Appetite hiatus, I went to the Brooklyn Diner for the first time. It's been a few weeks, but it seems the resentment I hold towards this establishment has not waned.

The Brooklyn Diner, as my father once described it, is the "Disney World" of diners. It has two locations in Manhattan, one being situated right near Carnegie Hall and then other in Times Square (relatively new). So yes, the locations suggest that this place really is for tourists -- specifically out-of-towners who have never been to a diner before and are intrigued by that nostalgia connected to 1950's diners that were popular in Brooklyn. Thus, the Brooklyn Diner.

From the exterior, it genuinely looks like a diner. But don't be fooled! The first thing that was an immediate warning sign when I walked in was the tablecloths. White tablecloths. No diner in their right mind would put white tablecloths under their greasy food and overflowing beverages. Then when I got the menu, there were no breakfast items listed. What? Really? Is there any point to me being here? And to top it off, pretty much everything on the menu is over $15 and most of the items are even over $20. And is it worth it? NO! They don't even have those little white after-dinner mints at the door when you're done with your meal.

In conclusion, I revoke this restaurant's right to call itself a diner. I also revoke its right to associate itself with the borough of Brooklyn. So for now, they will have to change their signage to "Untitled" until someone comes up with a better name to describe this deceitful, overpriced eatery.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I.M. Pei's Silver Towers Complex Landmarked

The first post-war urban renewal superblock development in New York City to be landmarked! OK, so personally I find this complex to be a bit of an eyesore, even though it looks very angelic and glow-y with the light shining on it the way it does in the above picture (taken from However! Landmarking is not only about aesthetics, and this group of buildings represents a historic time in New York City and the US's history. Plus, the architect (I.M. Pei) is superfamous and a "master" of high modernist architecture. Perhaps his most familiar work is the Louvre Pyramid.

Part of designating the complex also included landmarking this enormous Picasso sculpture (picture also taken from

NYU, who owns the area, had been hoping to build a 40-story tower in the open space of the complex. Hopefully the language used in the landmark designation report (which will talk about the importance of open space) will make this construction very unlikely (haha, NYU!).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More Coney Island Stuff (Am I Obsessed? Maybe.)

The Municipal Art Society put together a group of professionals/visionaries to brainstorm ideas for the future of Coney Island. They met last week and presented its ideas to the public last night at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. One of the images released from their plans is this:

Apparently robots are going to take over Coney Island. Robots and scary things that kind of look like half-aliens/half-elephant/half-what-is-that-thing-coming-out-of-its-side-and-is-that-a-yellow-eyeball?

The tall, twisty rides on the left side of the image look horrifying. Anyone who is afraid of clowns isn't going to come within two miles of Coney and anyone who isn't afraid of clowns will become so after visiting this place.

I did like this image of a new N train:

I am most excited about the idea for an EXPRESS train to Coney Island (perhaps from Times Square?). With this being the closest beach for New Yorkers by way of public transportation, there needs to be a faster and less patience-trying way of getting there. More Coney updates to come soon, I'm sure. Oh, and I'll try to pick other topics to talk about, as well.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Coney Island Visions

Center for an Urban Future came out with this 22-page document that interviews all types of creative New Yorkers about the future of Coney Island. Almost every interviewee offers innovative ideas on how to improve the area. It's a lot of fun to read and will certainly spark your imagination for everything that Coney could be. Hopefully some ideas will actually take shape in the future.

I realize I've been on a bit of an Architectural Appetite hiatus, but hopefully things will calm down soon and I'll get back to complaining, swooning, eating, and drinking copious amounts of coffee soon.