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Posts in Contemporary Era
Notes on the LaGuardia Community College Amazon Teach-In

Notes on the LaGuardia Community College Amazon Teach-In

By Molly Rosner

On November 13, 2018, Amazon announced that Long Island City would become the site for its new headquarters “HQ2” along with a site in Crystal City, Virginia. Since then, New Yorkers have greeted this announcement with both applause and outrage. Throughout the year, Amazon has received bids from cities and towns across the country trying to entice the trillion-dollar company to their area. But after the gimmicks and tax incentives have all been weighed, it feels clear that New York was always high on the list of places the company was considering.

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New York City Has the Country’s Most Elaborate Zoning Code. Why Isn’t It Protecting Us From Luxury Overgrowth?

New York City Has the Country’s Most Elaborate Zoning Code. Why Isn’t It Protecting Us From Luxury Overgrowth?

By Samuel Stein

Construction is booming in New York City, and, as the real-time construction map recently released by the New York City Department of Buildings shows, a lot of the new development is wildly out of context with the surrounding neighborhoods. While scale is not sacred, many of these buildings pose quite specific problems for their neighbors, as in the case of a proposed string of towers on Franklin Avenue that would cast looming shadows over the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. A luxury development whose size and shape would make a public garden obsolete is exactly the kind of development that city planners should be working overtime to prevent.

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The History of the Future: Contextualizing the Exhibition of the Fourth Regional Plan for the New York Metropolitan Region

The History of the Future: Contextualizing the Exhibition of the Fourth Regional Plan for the New York Metropolitan Region

By Kristian Taketomo

A basement in Greenwich Village may hold a sneak peek of what’s to come in the New York Metropolitan region. Until November 3rd, the ground floor at the Center for Architecture houses a free exhibition of the Regional Plan Association’s latest long-range strategic vision for the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut region, the Fourth Regional Plan.

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The Problem We All Live With: An Interview with Sarita Daftary-Steel

The Problem We All Live With: An Interview with Sarita Daftary-Steel

Today on the blog, editor Molly Rosner speaks to Sarita Daftary-Steel, founder of the East New York Oral History Project, an interview project documenting the experiences of people who lived in East New York during a decade of rapid change from 1960-70.

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Lindsay K. Campbell's City of Forests, City of Farms: Sustainability Planning for New York City’s Nature

Lindsay K. Campbell's City of Forests, City of Farms: Sustainability Planning for New York City’s Nature

Reviewed by Kubi Ackerman

In November of 2015, a tree planted in the Bronx was commemorated as the one millionth tree of the city’s MillionTreesNYC initiative. The accompanying ceremony celebrated the culmination of this ambitious urban forestry project spearheaded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. A little more than two years later, the City Council passed what was described as the city’s first ever bill focused specifically on urban agriculture, characterized modestly as “a first step” aimed merely at collecting information on urban agriculture organizations and businesses. Given the mainstreaming of environmental issues in New York City, which are inclusive of both urban forestry and urban agriculture, why was the former enthusiastically embraced at the top levels of municipal governance while the latter is still now only very slowly receiving the attention of policymakers? This is the central question of Lindsay Campbell’s book, City of Forests, City of Farms: Sustainability Planning for New York’s Nature, which juxtaposes and contrasts these two distinct but interrelated conceptions of nature in the city that rose to prominence in the Bloomberg Era. In so doing, Campbell provides insight on the complex interplay between politics and biological and social ecologies, and raises critical questions as to who ultimately benefits from sustainability initiatives.

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Remembrance of Things Not Yet Past: A Report from “Difficult Histories / Public Spaces: The Challenge of Monuments in NYC and the Nation”

Remembrance of Things Not Yet Past: A Report from “Difficult Histories / Public Spaces: The Challenge of Monuments in NYC and the Nation”

By Arinn Amer

A year after white nationalists descended on Charlottesville, Virginia in a deadly riot they framed as a protest against the planned removal of a bronze rendering of Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park, monuments loom large in our national consciousness. With new memorials and markers raising awareness of America’ dark history of racial terror and hundreds of Confederate flags and generals retreating from public view even as thousands more remain firmly entrenched, the incredible power of the stories we tell about the past in shared physical space has never been more apparent.

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Schlep in the City: Little Guyana

Schlep in the City: Little Guyana

By Christiana Remarck

Growing up as a Guyanese-American, born from two Guyanese immigrants living in New York, at least once a month my family and I would make a trip to a place now called Little Guyana. It’s a small enclave in Richmond Hill, Queens from 104th to 130th street on Liberty Ave. Whether we were going for some produce for a traditional, Guyanese recipe or a new saree for a Hindu wedding, I believe it would have been impossible to preserve our culture in New York City without the establishments that were set up in this community. Guyanese people themselves are highly diversified from ethnicity to religion making some needs specific, while other needs are universal to Guyanese as a whole. This essay will highlight some staples of Guyanese culture that enable every Guyanese person to set up a home away from home within the confines of New York City. It will explore some of the most sought out spots on Liberty Avenue that a Guyanese living anywhere in New York City would visit when making a trip to Richmond Hill, whether for food, clothing, or religious goods.

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Brooklyn Is Expanding: Introductory Notes on a Global Borough

Brooklyn Is Expanding: Introductory Notes on a Global Borough

By Benjamin H. Shepard and Mark J. Noonan, with notes from Greg Smithsimon

This book concerns tides: tides of people, tides of development, tides of industry, tides of power, and tides of resistance. Brooklyn, once a city, then a borough, and now a brand, illustrates the tensions that arise between the local and the global in a given place. The ebb and flow of these dynamics can be witnessed on the street as well as in the many seminal books and films set in Brooklyn and concerned with its unique status as both a distinctive place and an ever-evolving imaginative space evoking a wide range of associations and emotions.

This post is an excerpt from the authors' new Brooklyn Tides: The Fall and Rise of a Global Borough, courtesy of Transcript-Verlag.

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Schlep in the City: Walking Broadway

Schlep in the City: Walking Broadway

By Katie Uva

New York City can be overwhelming in its vastness — more than 300 square miles, more than 8.5 million people, and so many distinct neighborhoods and languages spoken here that the number of neighborhoods and languages aren’t even fully agreed upon. New York City’s streets are the nervous system binding this far flung place and giant population together and their idiosyncrasies seem fitting for this metropolis — ​Edgar Street and Mill Lane in Manhattan vie for shortest street, while my childhood in Queens was punctuated by persistent confusion about whether I lived on 68th Road, Drive, or Avenue. Each borough has a Main Street, and Waverly Place has the distinction of being the only street in New York that actually crosses itself.

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Cartooning the City: Roz Chast and Julia Wertz

Cartooning the City: Roz Chast and Julia Wertz

Reviewed by Martin Lund

When I was asked by Gotham to review Roz Chast’s Going into Town: A Love Letter to New Yorkand Julie Wertz’s Tenements, Towers & Trash: An Unconventional Illustrated History of New York City, I had no idea what to expect. Both writer-illustrators are known for tackling a wide variety of topics, albeit most commonly personal subjects. Both Chast and Wertz work in styles of art and storytelling that are readily identifiable, even as their work always delivers something new. With this in mind, all I knew for certain when I said yes to the request to review was that I would be getting two books of graphic arts that dealt with New York City, and that I would be able to tell who had done which book. Anything else, it seemed to me, was anybody’s guess. How the two would relate to each other was similarly up for grabs; they could be boringly similar or wildly different.

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