The Island at the Center of the World may have lost some of its luster recently, as the city’s profligate bankers squandered the nation’s wealth in pursuit of watches, jets, and beachfront property. But the ‘hood will soon get a new architectural bauble to help restore that glow.
Last night at MOMA, the friendship between the Netherlands and New York was celebrated with blue Curacao cocktails, as the two toasted a snazzy new pavilion soon to be built in Battery Park by the renowned Dutch architect Ben van Berkel.
Van Berkel and his firm, UNStudio, are the brains behind the Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart, the Mobius House outside Amsterdam, and an 18-story flagship store in Tokyo for Louis Vuitton. He designed the intriguing “black and bendy” luxury condo Five Franklin Place in Tribeca–a project that is now said to be in default on its acquisition loan. But that’s a story for another gloomy day.
Today we’re toasting the fact that the Dutch are so eager to keep relations between the two countries warm and fuzzy that they ponied up “a major grant” for the project. Good thing the project wasn’t counting on income taxes from bonuses paid to the aforementioned bankers.
The New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion will be a hub for food, information, and general gaiety for the 70,000 daily commuters and 2 million annual tourists who roam the area. (“Plein,” we’re told, is Dutch for ‘stone-paved civic platform.’)
Expect much more Dutch-themed news this year as Manhattan and The Netherlands ramp up their festivities pegged to the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s arrival in New York harbor.
Image courtesy of UNStudio