Just days after the New York Daily News proclaimed that “Staten Island wants to be the new Brooklyn,” 20 intrepid Untapped Cities readers met at the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island at 10 am on a Saturday for a Behind the Scenes NYC Tour of the borough’s north shore developments with the NYCEDC. It’s not lost on residents, community leaders and small businesses on this traditionally forgotten boroughthat Staten Island could be the new frontier. Combine rising rents in other boroughs with substantial city investment and redevelopments plans for Staten Island (plus space), and you’ve got the makings of a new destination, those involved hope.
Slide the City will arrive to Summer Streets this month. Photo via Slide City website
This Summer we’ve had a plethora of exciting art installations in all five boroughs. Playful, colorful, interactive, life-like, thoughtful and thought-provoking. We’ve been treated to art in public spaces and parks that have never had art before. Here’s what’s new in August, along with other installations in the city that are still up this month:
South Ferry, Liberty Island, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, and Jersey City on a Soviet-era map dating back to 1982. Image via Wired
With its final days almost 25 years passed (though historians disagree on the exact date), the Cold War-era tension between the United States and the former Soviet Union has passed into faded memory for those who were alive to witness it, and remain completely alien to everyone else. Never before had two superpowers capable of destroying the world with their masses of weapons been so close to pulling the trigger. Students as young as kindergarteners in school were trained to hide under their desks at the hint of attack. Nowadays, we fear lone gunmen instead of nuclear bombs, but the shape of the world during the Cold War was always hard to see, even now.
The Soviet mapmakers who created upwards of 1.1 million maps of the world, sometimes in street-level detail, held a different view. Wired recently published a collection of the found maps dating back to the 1980s. Apart from the unsettling detail with which some of these maps depict civilian areas of New York, Washington, D.C., and many more areas of military interest, they portray world power seeking the Google Maps-level perspective on the entire world almost 30 years early. What they intended to use this information for, one need only guess at.
Photo via National Lighthouse Museum
The National Lighthouse Museum, just a few minutes walk from the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island will have its grand opening on August 7th, as recently reported by The New York Times. But what may be most fascinating to our readers, beyond the new museum, which had a soft launch last year and is already open to visitors is the history behind the site, a former quarantine station, and the abandoned buildings that can still be seen. In fact, the National Lighthouse Museum is the smallest building in the complex, in a foundry that once was part of the U.S. Light-House Establishment.
Image via WNYC
In anticipation of July 17th, the first anniversary of the death of Eric Garner at the hands of a police officer in Staten Island, WNYC has set up a unique way for people to voice their thoughts about the tragedy. The public radio station, collaborating with SHoP, an architecture firm, has bought an old vintage payphone on eBay and set it up in Staten Island to record the voices of passersby. They call it The Talk Box.
Rendering of New Stapleton Waterfront on Staten Island
On July 25th, we’ll be hosting our next tour in the Behind the Scenes NYC Tour Series with the NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). Our previous visits have included special access into the Brooklyn Kings Theatre, the Brooklyn Army Terminal and the Hunts Point Produce Terminal in the Bronx, and we’re heading to another borough this month: Staten Island.
This in-depth tour will begin at the St. George Ferry Terminal, where NYCEDC’s Munro Johnson, Vice President of Development for Staten Island, will speak about the St. George Waterfront developments, then we’ll take the Staten Island Railroad two stops down to Stapleton. Among the stops in Stapleton will be the New Stapleton Waterfront development project with Ironstate Development, who will speak on the construction progress of the decommissioned U.S. Naval base, to be turned into a mixed-use development and public waterfront esplanade.