Archive for June, 2010

Field Trip Friday: Shanghai and the 2010 World Expo

View of window-washers from the top of the WFC building (in front of Pearl Tower)

One of OHNY’s interns, Kathleen, spent the winter in Shanghai, the host city of the 2010 World Expo. This is the first time the World Expo (previously called World’s Fairs) will be held in a ‘developing’ country. The theme of the Expo is ‘“Better City, Better Life”: Representing the common wish of the whole humankind for a better living in future urban environments.’ No place is more acutely aware of urban obstacles and issues than China where 48% of the population already lives in urban areas—Shanghai being the largest.

China Pavilion Model (photograph taken inside the Urban Planning Museum)

With around 20 million residents, the bulk of Shanghai’s construction has been centered around housing and the development of financial/commercial centers. The Shanghai cityscape is constantly changing; construction propels residential towers and office buildings into reality on a regular basis. In 2008, the  Shanghai World Financial Center joined SOM’s Jin Mao Tower and the city’s signature Oriental Pearl Tower.  By the end of 2014 the city hopes to also add Gensler’s Shanghai Tower to the Pudong skyline. When completed, the Shanghai Tower will be second only to the Burj Khalifa as the largest building in the world. With such so much construction and global attention, the city has a vested interest in improving its urban practices and creating a ‘harmonious society’ (hexie shehui). According to the official site,, there are five sub-themes:

1.Blending of diverse cultures in the city
2.Economic prosperity in the city
3.Innovations of science and technology in the city
4.Remodeling of communities in the city
5.Improving interactions between urban and rural areas

The Expo seeks to encourage cross-cultural discussion on improving sustainable urban practices whilst presenting an impressive display of international pavilions. The China Pavilion, themed “Chinese wisdom in urban development,” is equipped with sustainable technologies such as solar panels, a natural ventilation system, and uses collected rainwater.

Haibao-Nanjing Lu

The mascot, Haibao, is a blue figure modeled after the Chinese character ‘ren’ meaning people. Here he is prominently displayed on Nanjing Lu, Shanghai’s famous shopping street.

The Expo Site from Lupu Bridge observation deck

The committee projects 70 million visitors will visit the Expo, a 5.28 km site along the Huangpu River, during the six month event (May 1 – October 31, 2010).

Near Xintiandi area in Shanghai

The Expo has been cited as a key factor in many of the city’s recent projects. Often though, grand-scale redevelopment projects are implemented at the expense of Shanghai’s older neighborhoods, including Shikumen-style houses–a style unique to Shanghai.

Huaihai Lu

As a whole, the city has made efforts to improve green space, provide adequate housing to its growing population, and to expand public transportation. If you’re headed to Shanghai don’t miss seeing this historic event! Take a few hours to wander through one of the largest World’s Fairs of all time, stop by the pavilions during the day or at night. For a complete list of pavilions with times and information click here.


Field Trip Friday: Eastern Market in Washington, DC

This week’s Field Trip Friday is brought to you by Kathleen, an intern at OHNY, who recently explored the Eastern Market in Washington, DC. The market re-opened on June 26, 2009 after an electrical fire destroyed much of the inside in 2007. First established by President Thomas Jefferson in 1805, as a part of L’Enfant’s city plan, the Market was designed by German-born architect, Adolf Cluss, and constructed in 1873. Additions were made by Snowden Ashford in 1907 and the market was declared a D.C. Historic Landmark in 1964. After the fire, Robert Silman Associates, Quinn Evans Architects and the Department of Real Estate services oversaw the $22 million renovation.  The renovated market received an Engineering Excellence Award in 2009 for its ‘modern energy efficiency technologies’.

Main Entrance to Eastern Market with photograph of the architect


The Farmer's Line

Today the market remains one of the oldest public fresh food markets and the bustling site of weekend activities—drawing families, neighbors and tourists to the vendor-lined streets. Vendors line the entrance to the building and set up shop. Fresh watermelon, delicious chocolate eclairs and handmade soaps are some of the items for sale. Saturday and Sunday are all about the farmers—the market expands to include the Farmer’s Line, a part of the weekend outdoor food market.  Links to indoor and outdoor merchant profiles are listed on the Eastern Market website.

Hand-crafted bird from the outdoor market

Also on weekends, musicians set up stands around the many cafes and restaurants, whilst prospective buyers discuss products and prices for anything from floral arrangements to handicrafts, antiques, fresh produce and meat, clothing and furniture.

Butcher's stand inside the market


Sunday afternoon at Eastern Market

Eastern Market is separated into two main halls. The South Hall is reserved for the daily market, but locals and residents are able to utilize the North Hall for public and private gatherings. Weddings, meetings and dances are a few events on the North Hall’s agenda.

Field Trip Friday: Hidden Harbor Tour

OHNY’s program coordinator, Hae-In, recently took a boat tour run by the Working Harbor Committee. Departing from Pier 16 at South Street Seaport aboard the Zephyr, the tour takes you from the Brooklyn waterfront to Port Elizabeth, New Jersey. On the way the boat passes by Staten Island and the tugboat companies, oil docks, and marine repair facilities in Kill Van Kull, as well as Governor’s Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Red Hook Channel, image courtesy of Bernard Ente

Although Manhattan’s waterfront used to be a major shipping port, container ships now dock in New Jersey, Staten Island and Brooklyn, due to the size and capacity of modern container ships, which now carry much larger loads and need more space to unload.

New York harbor with Statue of Liberty, image courtesy of Bernard Ente

Kill Van Kull is the narrow waterway between Staten Island and Bayonne and is also the industrial center of today’s working harbor. All the container ships headed for Newark Bay pass through this area and it is home to several tugboat companies and repair facilities, including Moran and Reinauer.

Moran tugboats

Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal, located on the Newark Bay, serves as the principal container ship facility for goods entering and leaving the metropolitan and Northeast area. The two components, Port Newark and the Elizabeth Marine Terminal (or “Port Elizabeth”), work side by side and are capable of handling the new, wider ships. With dozens of cranes and tractor trailers, they run a very efficient and clean cargo transportation system.

Port Elizabeth, image courtesy of Bernard Ente

During this year’s 8th Annual OHNY Weekend, Bernard Ente will be leading a walking tour along the historic Kill Van Kull waterfront on the north shore of Staten Island to explore one of the busiest shipping channels in New York Harbor. Look for it in October!

I'm on a boat!


Field Trip Friday: Ace Hotel

Given its proximity to our office, OHNY recently stopped by the Ace Hotel New York, the 12-story hotel in Manhattan’s Flatiron neighborhood, near Madison Square Park.

Ace Hotel door

With 260 rooms, the Ace Hotel New York has a unique, hip(ster) feel, which is in line with their other hotels in Palm Springs, Seattle and Portland. Formerly the Breslin Hotel, the historic property has a rich history and can count Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen as past residents.


The Ace Hotel worked with New York firm Roman & Williams, who designed the hotel’s interiors. Their style mixes modern and vintage, creating an atmosphere that is “a little bohemian and a little sophisticated.” (The same team also designed the interiors of The Standard Hotel.)  The lobby feels like an old school university library, with dark wood, bookshelves and cushioned chairs, but there is also a photo booth and bar in the back.


Featuring a very different aesthetic than most midtown hotels, the Ace has a lived-in, intimate appeal and incorporates history and details from the neighborhood’s Garment District location.

Hotel signage

This also extends to their stylish rooms, which include guitars, funky artwork and turntables with a selection of records. The hotel also has free wi-fi, a gym and is pet-friendly.

Ace Hotel
20 West 29th Street, New York, NY
Get Subway and Bus Directions from HopStop



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