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New York City Moving Beyond Manhattan

Citing several recent projects, Alan G. Brake argues that New York City is developing an urban identity that no longer transmits every experience through the lens of Manhattan.
August 2, 2016, 1pm PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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As Manhattan becomes, more than ever, a center for global capital, the rest of New York City is primed to develop along alternative paths. Alan G. Brake says this is a good thing, and centers his observations on one particular project. "The Hills on Governors Island, designed by the Dutch landscape architects West 8, have turned a previously pancake-flat stretch of land into a transformative platform for perceiving New York in a new way: a city that is rapidly evolving beyond a Manhattan-centric identity."

Visitors to The Hills enjoy panoramas of the city that cannot be had so freely in Manhattan itself. "Views like this are rarely available to average New Yorkers, and tourists are charged large sums for jaw-dropping views from the city's viewing platforms at One World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, and Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center."

Brake makes the claim that "Mayor Bill de Blasio has not shown himself to be particularly interested or well-versed in planning and design, but he has slowly revealed a new understanding of the city as a regional entity connected by water." 

To that end, the piece discusses de Blasio's Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX) and five-borough ferry project as examples of the trend. "Both the BQX and the ferry expansion project give people more transportation choices, and acknowledge that the Manhattan-centric subway system is not enough to serve contemporary patterns of living and working, where many New Yorkers travel from one outer borough to another without ever coming into Manhattan."

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Published on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 in Dezeen
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