29 May 2013

Thinking Big: Four Visions of a New Penn Station

The Municipal Art Society of NYC asked four design firms to "Draw BIG" and  Reimagine the ideal Pennsylvania Station and Madison Square Garden.

The proposals by Diller Scofidio & RenfroSHoP ArchitectsSkidmore, Owings & Merrill and H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture were introduced on May 29th. All plans expect the new station to include high-speed rail.
H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture
H3 HARDY COLLABORATION ARCHITECTURE Moves the entire complex to the West Side waterfront at 34th Street, creates an elevated bike and pedestrian promenade and turns Pier 76 into a new 16-acre park. 
Diller Scofidio & Renfro
DILLER SCOFIDIO & RENFRO Moves Madison Square Garden across Eighth Avenue next to the James A. Farley Post Office building; Penn Station becomes a multilevel public space with amenities like a spa and a theater. 
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
SKIDMORE, OWINGS & MERRILL Moves Madison Square Garden off site and expands the station to four city blocks from two. Above ground: green space four times the size of Bryant Park; housing twice the size of Tudor City; more offices than Rockefeller Center; and more cultural spaces than Lincoln Center. 
SHoP ARCHITECTS Expands the existing site with a lightweight concrete structure that is meant to evoke the old Penn Station and seeks to make the station a social meeting spot. 

When’s the last time you heard someone say... Let’s meet for a drink at Penn Station? People say that about Grand Central all the time.
Submitted by: Michael G. Soriano, AIA Ref: NYT

21 May 2013

"Stigma Stompers”

May is mental health awareness month and Cornerstone is getting involved! Receptionist for the firm, Angelina Baker, organized a team for the annual 5k NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mercer County walk. NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raise awareness and build a community for hope for all of those in need. NAMI is the foundation for hundreds of NAMI State Organizations, NAMI Affiliates and volunteer leaders who work in local communities across the country to raise awareness and provide essential and free education, advocacy and support group programs. Angelina’s team, “The Stigma Stompers” raised a total of $945 and had 12 people join her in walking to promote mental health awareness. Mercer County had over 850 people who proudly gathered to walk. Together, the Mercer county teams raised over S110,000. Mental Illness affects 1 in 4 or nearly 60 million Americans each year. Cornerstone offers endless support to anyone diagnosed with a mental illness and caretakers in the mental health care system.

Submitted by: Angelina Baker Ref: NAMI

10 May 2013

One World Trade Center - One Proud Day for America!

Cheers erupted as the spire topped One World Trade Center on Friday morning May 10, 2013. A crane lifted the last of a 408-foot tall spire on top of the "Freedom Tower", a capstone to an emotional 12-year effort to replace the twin towers destroyed by terrorists. The 18-piece silver spire tops out the tower at a symbolic 1,776 feet, a nod to the year America signed the Declaration of Independence. The new building is just north of the original towers, now the hallowed ground known as Ground Zero. "This really is a symbolic moment because this building really represents the resiliency of this country,” said Port Authority Vice Chair Scott Rechler. “These people, the thousands of men and women who have worked here tirelessly, really as a tribute for the people that perished on 9/11 right on this site". The pinnacle was built with the city’s streets in mind. Its tip holds a beacon with 288 50-watt LED lights that will allow it be seen up to 50 miles away on a clear day. Once operational, the spire will serve as a world-class broadcast antenna. It also makes the building the tallest in the Western Hemisphere.

Submitted by: Michael G. Soriano, AIA Ref: NBC

03 May 2013


Businesses Can Now Apply for Sandy Recovery Grants of up to $50,000. Beginning on Wednesday May 1st, businesses can apply for Superstorm Sandy recovery grants of up to $50,000 at the website of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA). Small businesses and nonprofits struck by the storm are eligible for the grants that can be used toward working capital or new construction.

Grant Program Overview: 
  • Small businesses and non-profits may apply for grants and forgivable loans of up to $50,000. Businesses with multiple locations in New Jersey may receive more than one grant, totaling no more than $250,000. 
  • The entity must be considered a "small business" as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and have more than $25,000 but less than $5 million in gross operating revenues. 
  • Applicants must show each location sustained at least $5,000 in damages. 
  • Grants are eligible for working capital (operating expenses), inventory, equipment, machinery, fixtures, furnishings and construction. 
  • Priority will be given to applicants located in the nine most impacted counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union. 
  • Grants will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. 
The $260 million Stronger New Jersey Business Grant Program is one of the initiatives approved by the NJEDA. It also approved $25 million to fund a tourism marketing campaign to assist Superstorm Sandy-impacted communities and promote the state's tourism assets; and $12 million for securing a firm to operate the grant program under the supervision of the Office of Recovery.

The grant program is part of the state's $1.8 billion plan to spend federal Community Development Block Grant disaster assistance funds. The plan was approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the EDA approved the first initiatives of that program.

Submitted by: Michael G. Soriano, AIA Ref: NJEDA