Saturday, January 28, 2012
In September I visited Boston to talk with people in the city and at MIT about GreenCityStreets. Lots of interesting discussion and ideas to follow up on in 2012. I had some time to go down memory lane, and walked through the Public Garden on a beautiful fall day.
When the weather was good I used to walk home from Northeastern through the Public Garden to my apartment in the North End. It was a great way to unwind from my Masters Thesis research. My route took me through the Fenway, people watching on Newbury Street in the Back Bay, then through the Public Garden, crossing the street into The Commons, then past the Park Street MBTA station, through Government Center, by Haymarket, then under the Central Artery to Salem Street.
The Public Garden was always a highlight in early spring and summer. Green lawns with lots of flowers, generally the Swan Boats were stowed away for the night, and a cool breeze. All my Boston Public Garden photos on Flickr.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
In September I travelled to Amsterdam for the PICNIC 2011 Festival. The event is like a big fair and this year it was held at the old shipbuilding area called NDSM Wharf, a ten-minute ferry ride from Amsterdam's Central Railway Station. A variety of different structures including temporary buildings, old containers, tents, an old ferry boat, were used for the sessions and presentations.
PICNIC was a great opportunity to meet people thinking about the intersection between design, city planning, internet, history, art ... lots of energy and very creative ideas. Among my favorite presentations were those by Adam Greenfield, Ben Hammersley, and Charles Landry (links are to videos of the presentations).
On Friday I attended a session sponsored by the European Creative Business Network. We split up into teams and developed ideas for venture capital funding. Our team of four developed the concept for an on-line game that would be played via mobile devices ... and we won the first prize: 5,000 Euro to develop the idea in more detail! We're working on it.
The photo below is of us taking the ferry back to Central Station after dinner one night, note that it's a roll-on/roll-off ferry for bicycles and mopeds ... extremely convenient and easy to use.
I'm already looking forward to PICNIC 2012! All my PICNIC 2011 Festival photos (many of which are of the Amsterdam Harbour) on flickr.
Friday, January 20, 2012
I always try to find time to visit the NY City Transit museum when I visit New York. One of the things I love are the historic advertisements that are in the old subway cars parked in the museum. This is a particularly fun one I think. The accompanying text says "Bet you do better in a hat!" and states that "84 out of 100 women prefer men who wear hats."
While at the museum I bought the book Helvetica and the New York Subway System: The True (Maybe) Story by Paul Shaw. I finished reading it before Christmas and it's really interesting - you'll never look at a NYC Subway sign the same way again! (Here's a link to a similar article he wrote on the internet - Paul Shaw, The (Mostly) True Story of Helvetica and the NY City Subway).
And, one final photo of a mosaic from the Cortlandt Street IRT Subway Station (also in the Transit Museum collection). All my photos of the NYC Transit Museum on Flickr.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
As we were driving by a railway station in the Berner Oberland (Switzerland) we saw a steam engine being prepared for a trip. I screamed that we had to stop and go back. We got to the station in time to see a wedding party boarding the steam train for an excursion.
I just had to write a song about the experience. It's on YouTube: Steam Train Wedding.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Vienna's annual Tram Day celebration was held at the Tram Museum this past September. It's always a great party with lots to see and do. This year was great because the Tram Museum was open for free! Lots of historic vehicles and exhibits on some of the new things Vienna's public transport company (Wiener Linien) is doing to improve service.
There was information on everything from the Wiener Linien's social networking strategy to rebuilding track. With entertainment for the whole family - on at least two different stages! - and lots to eat and drink it was a great day.
I especially liked the historic advertisement about why the conductor cannot open the door once it has been closed (below) - it even rhymes! All my Vienna Tram Day photos (2009 and 2011) on flickr.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
I visited New York in September for a series of meetings with OpenPlans about organizing a Transportation Camp in Washington DC during the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in January 2012. While there I was able to visit the High Line, an old aerial railway line that ran along the west side of Manhattan. The rail line has been converted to a walkway and is probably one of the most successful urban design projects from the last decade.
New York Magazine asked to use one of my photos in an article they were doing about tourist photos of New York, but unfortunately, I could not name all the people in the photo (there were about a hundred) so they didn't use it.
If you go to New York be sure to take a walk on the High Line. All my NY High Line photos on Flickr.
I finally walked over the Vienna Zollamtssteg Bridge. I've taken the U-Bahn that goes under the bridge many times - you can see the U-Bahn train in the photo - but never walked over the bridge.
The bridges go over the Vienna River, a small river that runs through much of the city although it's covered in many places.
The bridge is famous in the movie Before Sunrise. The two main characters Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy meet two actors on the bridge who make fun of their American-ness (although, of course, she is French) and invite them to a performance later that night. (As I recall!) It's one of the many great scenes in the movie.
The bridge uses some of the common design elements in many Vienna public works such as the railing along the river.
All my photos of the Zollamtssteg Bridge on Flickr.