Little Island, developed by Barry Diller, with an amphitheater and dramatic views, opens on Hudson River Park. Opponents battled it for years.
I won’t dawdle over the mess that followed the island’s announcement. A real estate titan who had bones to pick with the Hudson River Park Trust supported a series of legal challenges. At one point, seeing no end in sight to the court fights, Diller backed out. A deal brokered by New York’s governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, ultimately rescued the project and also delivered public commitments to enhance protections for wildlife habitats and improve other parts of the four-mile-long, 550-acre Hudson River Park.
English garden follies — not least because Little Island can remind you more of a private estate than a city park. It’s clearly going to cost a king’s ransom to maintain, a burden the Hudson River Park Trust (which is to say the public) would have to bear absent other arrangements.
Fortunately, Diller has promised that his family foundation will pick up the tab for the next 20 years. That’s not forever, but it includes programming costs, Diller told me — until the programming (mostly free, not a moneymaker) can find nonprofit funding to “stand on its own.” He estimates he may end up spending $380 million all in — no doubt the largest private gift to a public park in the city’s history, maybe in the planet’s.
The other day I climbed to the topmost point on the island, a grassy crow’s nest with a 360 panorama. A lovely path shaded by dogwoods and redbuds, perfumed by woodland azaleas, snaked up the hillside. The views shifted from city to river, garden to grassland.
Heatherwick’s columns peek through a hill here or there, but you don’t really focus on them once you’re on the island, save for the great arch of giant tulip bulbs at the entrance, which required a year of tweaking to get the curves just right and to accommodate soil for Nielsen’s trees on top.
concerts, dance and children’s programs are planned to get underway this summer. Trish Santini, Little Island’s executive director, told me that her staff has been working closely with community organizations to ensure free and inexpensive tickets get into the hands of underserved groups and neighborhood schoolchildren. A second stage, called the Glade, at the base of a sloping lawn, tucked into the southeast corner of the park and framed by crape myrtle and birch trees, is custom made for kids and educational events. The main plaza, where you can grab a bite to eat and sit at cafe tables under canvas umbrellas, doubles as a third venue.
It’s on the route between the two gangways that link the island to Manhattan — and a stone’s throw from the High Line — so it’s sure to be mobbed. Santini also said the island will do timed reservations to prevent overcrowding. Little Island will need it, I expect. Two-plus acres is half the size of a city block.
sculpture by David Hammons, donated by the Whitney Museum of American Art to Hudson River Park, which traces in steel the outlines of bygone Pier 52.
North of Little Island, Pier 57 — where Google is leasing new quarters — will soon open community spaces, a food court and its roof deck to the public (City Winery is already up and running there). Piers 76 and 97 are also getting makeovers.
agreed with opponents who challenged reports by authorities over whether the project would inhibit the mating habits of juvenile striped bass.
This time environmental agencies determined that Little Island would cause no harm to fish, and the strategy didn’t work.
requirements for wheelchair accessibility are a design opportunity not a burden. I climbed back up the hill to the crow’s nest, and there she still was.
Huddled against a sunny morning gale, the mother duck was tending her eggs.
The ducklings, I learned, just hatched this week. They’ve started paddling in the river.
Maps by Scott Reinhard. Produced by Alicia DeSantis, Jolie Ruben and Tala Safie.
MEXICO CITY — The capital had been bracing for the disaster for years.
Ever since it opened nearly a decade ago, the newest Mexico City subway line — a heralded expansion of the second largest subway system in the Americas — had been plagued with structural weaknesses that led engineers to warn of potential accidents. Yet other than a brief, partial shutdown of the line in 2014, the warnings went unheeded by successive governments.
On Monday night, the mounting problems turned fatal: A subway train on the Golden Line plunged about 50 feet after an overpass collapsed underneath it, killing at least 24 people and injuring dozens more.
The accident — and the government’s failure to act sooner to fix known problems with the line — immediately set off a political firestorm for three of the most powerful people in Mexico: the president and the two people widely believed to be front-runners to succeed him as leaders of the governing party and possibly, the country.
told reporters through sobs. “I can’t find him anywhere.”
Hours later, her 13-year-old son, Brandon Giovani Hernández Tapia, was still missing.
told reporters gathered at the crash site on Tuesday. “The metro wasn’t built on its own — this flaw has been there for a long time and no one did anything.”
A total of 79 injured people had been taken to hospitals, three of whom later died, according to Claudia Sheinbaum, the mayor of Mexico City. Among those hospitalized were three minors.
Mexico City’s water problems and its subway system, a key mode of transportation for the sprawling capital’s population of nearly 22 million.
In the aftermath of Monday’s disaster, two of Mr. López Obrador’s closest allies came under immediate scrutiny: Ms. Sheinbaum, the capital’s mayor, and Marcelo Ebrard, the foreign minister who was mayor when the new subway line opened. Both are presumed to be top contenders to run for the presidency when Mr. López Obrador, limited to one term, steps down in 2024.
The new line, which serves the working-class neighborhoods in the capital’s southeast, was built by Mr. Ebrard, who was mayor of Mexico from 2006 to 2012. He was accused by critics of rushing to finish construction before his term concluded in an effort to bolster his political legacy. Troubles emerged immediately.
In just the first month after the line was inaugurated, there were 60 mechanical failures on trains or on tracks, according to local media. Trains had to slow down over elevated stretches of track, because engineers feared derailments. About a year later, the city was forced to temporarily shut down part of the $2 billion line for repairs.
transport authorities reported “a structural fault” in one of the metro line’s supporting columns, which had affected its ability to support heavy weight.
In 2018, senators from the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party called for Mexico City authorities to inform Congress about irregularities in the funding of the subway line’s expansion. In an official party document, the opposition lawmakers called the Golden Line a “symbol of corruption and the misuse of public resources that prevailed during that administration.”
The lawmakers cited a congressional inquiry into the faulty line which found that “the modifications to the basic engineering, to the original layout with the change of underground stations to elevated stations, severely affected the technical operating conditions” of the subway line.
Residents living near the scene of the accident said government workers had fixed the column shortly after the earthquake. But they expressed doubt about the quality of the reconstruction, after seeing how many shutdowns and maintenance issues the line had over the years.
Hernando Manon, 42, was walking home from work Monday night when he felt a tremor and heard a loud crash a few hundred yards up the street.
“There was a rumbling and then sparks. The lights went out, and we didn’t know what happened. Then we heard the sirens,” Mr. Manon said, standing just a few hundred yards from the site of the accident. “As we approached, we realized that the subway had collapsed.”
Families rushed to the scene, he said, hoping to find their loved ones and yelling at the police demanding to be let through the cordon they had erected around the wreckage.
2018-2030 Master Plan for the subway system detailed major backlogs to the maintenance of tracks and trains and warned that trains could be derailed on the Golden Line unless major repairs were undertaken. It is unclear whether those needed repairs were ever carried out.
Since becoming mayor of the capital in 2018, Ms. Sheinbaum, who is closely aligned with the president’s pursuit of austerity, has presided over cuts to spending on the subway system.
For a year, the city did not appoint a director of infrastructure maintenance for the subway system. Ms. Sheinbaum only filled the role last week.
two subway trains collided in Mexico City. Then in January, a fire ripped through the subway’s headquarters in downtown Mexico City, killing a police officer and sending 30 others to hospital.
At a news conference on Tuesday, both Ms. Sheinbaum and Mr. Ebrard faced harsh questioning from reporters. Publicly, at least, the two political heavyweights presented a united front.
“We are in agreement to get to the bottom of this and work together to find the truth and know what caused this incident,” Ms. Sheinbaum said.
“If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear,” Mr. Ebrard said. “Like anyone else, I am subject to whatever the authorities determine, but even more so as a high-level official, as someone who promoted the construction of the line.”
A subway train derailed on Monday night in Mexico City after a concrete overpass partially collapsed, the government said, leading to reports of scores of injuries and scenes of tangled wires, twisted metal and tilted train cars that had fallen off an overpass.
The derailment occurred on Line 12 of the subway system at the Olivos Station in southeast Mexico City, Mexico’s civil protection agency said in a post on Twitter. The accident sent emergency teams scrambling to the scene and prompted a warning on Twitter from the Mexico City Metro, officially called Sistema de Transporte Colectivo, to avoid the area.
Videos of the derailment released by the government showed at least one orange-and-yellow one subway car hanging from an overpass.
reported that the crash occurred about 10:25 p.m. and left at least 50 people injured. Officials did not immediately release any reports of casualties.
said on Twitter that she was rushing to the scene.
The subway system in Mexico City, the country’s sprawling capital, handles more than four million passengers a day. It is the second-largest in the Americas, after the one in New York City.
TOKYO — Daisuke Hayakawa is the coach of Japan’s Olympic skateboarding team, which is likely to dominate the sport when it makes its debut at this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo. But that does not mean he would dare set his skateboard down on a city sidewalk.
He may be a rebel in Japan, but he has manners.
“Skateboarding became one of the sports at the Olympics, but the image of skateboarding in Japan is that it’s an activity for unruly kids,” he said.
So as evening fell on a warm summer day last year, Hayakawa, 45, carried his board in the crook of his wrist. He left home in central Tokyo and took the subway to Kanegafuchi Station, a half-hour train ride north of downtown, and walked about 15 minutes toward the Sumida River.
The streets and sidewalks were mostly empty. Yet his skateboard still never touched the ground.
relegated to the unkempt shadows of Japanese society — far more hidden and distrusted than in other places around the globe.
Expectations are high. Hayakawa expects Japan to capture at least six of the sport’s 12 medals, including multiple golds.
It is sure to be a strange but exciting time for Hayakawa and others of an older generation, the grown-up misfits most deeply connected to the culture of skateboarding in Japan.
“For my old friends, we want to show that what we did was not wrong,” Hayakawa said. “For the newcomers, who come to skateboarding because of the Olympics, I explain that our culture is cool. We are why they are competing.”
After an hour or so under the viaduct, the red sun swallowed by a distant skyline just starting to sparkle, Hayakawa glowed with sweat. He flipped his skateboard back into his hands and retreated all the way to the station. Then he rode the next train home, carrying his own set of wheels under his arm.
“People gradually see skateboarding as a sport,” Hayakawa said. “But most people will not understand that the counterculture side is the real skateboarding.”
Kantaro Suzuki contributed reporting.
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