Bethlehem Rising

Bethlehem Rising

bethlehem LAM

As lighting designer Herve Descottes’ car barreled down Interstate 78 toward Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, he arranged for flights from New York to L.A., then to Paris and Istanbul. Bethlehem, amidst the list of world capitals on his agenda, struck a decidedly incongruous note.

Descottes was on his way to Bethlehem Steel’s defunct plant in eastern Pennsylvania. The city’s legendary steel holds together the Golden Gate Bridge and the Empire State Building. After the company went bankrupt in 1997, the city was required to radically rethink its purpose... 

 

Chicago's Emerald Necklace

Chicago's Emerald Necklace

Among the many promises coming from the new Emanuel administration is one to the make elevated Bloomingdale Trail a reality. The mayor has promised full support for Chicago’s Bike Plan and that includes completing the 2.65-mile trail by the end of the first term. The bike transportation—as well as pedestrian—aspect of the trail may help it qualify for monies with the reauthorization of the 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, Transportation Equity Act (SAFETEA), the federal transportation bill.

Cap-ital Improvements

Cap-ital Improvements

Amtrak and developer Akridge unveiled plans for an ambitious development atop tracks leading into Union Station in Washington, D.C. The 3-million-square-foot project promises to unite the neighborhoods of Capitol Hill and NoMa, a former industrial area transformed into a leafy residential neighborhood.

Right-Sizing Retail

Right-Sizing Retail

To drive up Broadway in New York is to stream past armies of smiling muliculti faces projecting the images of self-satisfied cell phone users, happy drugstore customers, and shoppers on a tear. And that’s not even the people on the sidewalk; it’s the larger-than-life advertisements featured in the chain-store windows proliferating where once neighborhood hardware stores, boutiques, and grocers were the norm.

Backyard Front and Center

Backyard Front and Center

Soon the public will be able to set foot on a small island in the Schuylkill River that has kept watch over Philadelphia’s Boat House Row for more than half a century. The island, which didn’t exist until a buildup of sediment from a dam created the formation, is just one component of a larger park design behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art, overseen by Susan Weiler of OLIN. Access to the island will replace public land lost to parking when the museum’s expansion plans (designed by Frank Gehry) are realized. OLIN’s new project will act as a gateway between the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which runs from City Hall to the museum, and the adjacent Fairmount Park.

Catching Up

With all eyes fixed on everything coming up roses on the West Side’s High Line, City Planning has been concentrating on the East. The long-term goal of connecting the lushly-landscaped promenades and bike paths of the West Side to the heavily trafficked spaghetti of the East Side moved a step closer with the opening on July 14 of the section from Pier 11 at Wall Street to Pier 15 at South Street Seaport. “After 9/11 we said that the most important thing for lower Manhattan is rebuilding and the transformation of the East River,” said City Planning commissioner Amanda Burden. The plans for the park are being developed with the New York City Economic Development Corporation and will ultimately extend up to Pier 35 just north of Manhattan Bridge.

Pleasant Hill Revisited

Bill Brinkman moved into the caretaker's house in Pleasant Hill Park after the Japanese surrendered to MacArthur in '45. He was a paratrooper in the 11th Airborne over New Guinea and the Philippines before he served on land in the honor guard, around the time the Japanese signed documents of surrender aboard the USS Missouri. "We were there to make damn sure there was no hanky-panky," Brinkman recalled.