25 January 2010

Sparkle for the new semester

Spring semester officially begins today. Progress posts will be forthcoming.

Cheers to some sparkle was found on the barbed wire around one of the lots on Sterling and Franklin.


06 January 2010

The Chicago Underpass

taken from flickr eight double











 


















Over break, I have begun searching my hometown for methods that communities may combat blight. Underpasses are often neglected. Urine smells, stains, garbage, and pigeon droppings often litter these spaces. Of recent, moves have been made to counter their banality. For instance, while some may see a salt stain, the religious faithful see Mary  - in a white shroud - beneath the Fullerton viaduct underneath the I-94 Kennedy Expressway. Since 2005, believers have sustained a homemade shrine adorning the wall with religious imagery and flowers. Day and night, followers come by the site to enliven this wall.
















The Bryn Mawr and Foster viaducts beneath Lake Shore Drive commissioned the Chicago Public Art Group to create murals depicting the neighborhood history. These mosaic murals use brightly colored tiles and some mirror like pieces to catch passers attention. Pedestrians and bikers may find this friendly but a driver may find a glare bomb awaiting on a sunny day. High Pressure Sodium lights currently disservice these murals at night, rendering them yellow. Yet the intent to use these walls as community gates provide a welcome gesture for the cars and people entering.

















Lastly, a third area looks at the Irving Park viaduct beneath the Kennedy Expressway. CDOT has lit the area and double fenced it to deter vagrants from taking shelter. Chain link is used inside, while wrought iron and brick "nicens" the intent. A brightly lit sidewalk and dual fencing protects the pedestrian from the dark recesses.

I begin to ask the basic questions for these interventions: who made it, who should be attracted/deterred, and why is something lit in a certain way? In conclusion, vacancies can be treated as an invitation or barrier that can shape one's experience of passage.

05 January 2010

815 FRANKLIN AVENUE at Eastern Parkway

























 Construction has been off and on again over the past 2 years at this site. Since October, viewing windows have been installed allowing pedestrians see the "progress" being made outside the subway station. 














Eli Mazon, states that he plans to build a large: mixed-use project including condominium apartments and retail space on the first floor.

Tax class: all others
Tax block/lot: 1259/1
Lot frontage: 98 feet
Lot depth: 123 feet
Irregularly shaped lot: yes
Building frontage: feet
Building depth: 123
Irregularly shaped building: no
Zoning codes from NYC Department of City Planning: R7-1

785 FRANKLIN AVENUE


























My favorite jamaican jerk was served here but closed down right after thanksgiving.

Tax class: apartments with 7-10 units
Tax block/lot: 1252/9
Number of units (condos, etc). in the building: 7
Number of residential units (condos, etc). in the building: 5
Lot frontage: 27 feet
Lot depth: 90 feet
Irregularly shaped lot: no
Building frontage: 27 feet
Building depth: 90 feet
Irregularly shaped building: no
The number of stories for the building: 3
The number of buildings on the property: 1
The year the building was built: 1931
Zoning codes from NYC Department of City Planning: R6

781 FRANKLIN AVE


































Name awaits change.

Tax class: apartments with 4-6 units
Tax block/lot: 1252/10
Number of units (condos, etc). in the building: 6
Number of residential units (condos, etc). in the building: 5
Lot frontage: 27 feet
Lot depth: 90 feet
Irregularly shaped lot: no
Building frontage: 27 feet
Building depth: 90 feet
Irregularly shaped building: no
The number of stories for the building: 3
The number of buildings on the property: 1
The year the building was built: 1931
Zoning codes from NYC Department of City Planning: R6

766 FRANKLIN AVENUE

 
Tax class: apartments with 4-6 units
Tax block/lot: 1178/44
Number of units (condos, etc). in the building: 5
Number of residential units (condos, etc). in the building: 4
Lot frontage: 20 feet
Lot depth: 100 feet
Irregularly shaped lot: yes
Building frontage: 20 feet
Building depth: 100 feet
Irregularly shaped building: no
Additional: garage
The number of stories for the building: 3
The number of buildings on the property: 1
The year the building was built: 1915
Zoning codes from NYC Department of City Planning: R7-1 


The storefront here is destined to become Dutch Boy Burgers, opened by Franklin Park's Matt Roff. The blue tarp went down last month leaving a kraft papered windowfront in view.

Happy 2010

Cheers to the holiday season and here's to hoping that 2010 will open opportunities for all. In many cases, one wonders whether vacancies contribute to blight or are just opportunities that have yet to be realized. My social objective - to create cohesive spaces that would promote community interaction along the avenue in the evening. Stay tuned.