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From the Empire State Building to Central Park to the remaining structures from the two World’s Fairs in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, New York City has thousands of impressive public works. But what about all the grand plans that never came to fruition?

A group of experts will discuss construction plans that were left on the cutting room floor during a special event, “Never Built Live: Architects and Planners on their Unrealized Work,” at Queens Museum on Sunday, Feb. 4, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

In total, twelve architects, planners, and historians are set to talk. Literary historian Cheryl J. Fish will discuss June Jordan’s contribution to Buckminster Fuller’s Harlem Skyrise. Architect Frederick Noyes will expound on his father Eliot’s Westinghouse Pavilion for the 1964 World’s Fair. Christen Johansen from Ennead Architects will talk about his father John Johansen’s Leapfrog City. All the while, exhibition co-curator Sam Lubell and architecture critic Alexandra Lange will be masters of ceremonies.

From 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., ARTBOOK | D.A.P. will host a signing for Never Built New York, a book published by Metropolis Books that catalogues many of these projects and underlines development challenges in the Big Apple.

The Feb. 4 event is part of Never Built New York, an exhibition which will be on display at Queens Museum until Feb. 18. Using blueprints, original drawings, newly commissioned models, renderings, and 3D visualizations spanning 150 years, this show spotlights more than 70 abandoned projects, including airports, bridges, domes, skyscrapers, and of course the Upper West Side football stadium.

Attendees can marvel at a 13-foot-tall model of Steven Holl’s Parallax Towers (1990), a composition of skyscrapers with horizontal elevators that would have risen out of the Hudson River. They can also peruse John Rink’s massive 1858 plan to turn what is now Central Park into a twin to the Gardens of Versailles in France and ponder the model of William Zeckendorf’s Midtown Airport, which would have stretched roughly from 30th Street to 70th Street on Manhattan’s West Side.

Returning to the Feb. 4 program, other scheduled participants include Dan Wood, principal at WORKac; Winka Dubbeldam, principal at Archi-Tectonics; Ian Volner, author of Michael Graves: Design For Life; Jennifer Gray from the Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library; Moses Gates, director for community planning & design at the Regional Plan Association; Jaron Lubin, principal at Safdie Architects; Juan Porral, partner at Grimshaw Architects; and Andrea Lamberti, partner at Rafael Viñoly Architects.

Editor’s note: Never Built New York is temporary, but scuttled megaprojects appear to be a permanent part of life in New York City. Just this last fall, plans to create a $130 million floating park in the Hudson River off Greenwich Village were scrapped. At about the same time, Lincoln Center walked away from a $500 million plan to build a home for the New York Philharmonic. Even Queens Museum’s home, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, is the site for a failed proposal to build a Major League Soccer stadium in 2013.

Images: Queens Museum

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Katrina Howard Fairley February 02, 2018 / 12:54PM
The Dome over Manhattan shown at the top of this post was by architect and engineer Thomas C. Howard of Synergetics, Inc. It was originally displayed in an exhibition at the Museum of Arts in 1959. After the show ended Mr. Howard gave it to Buckminster Fuller. It was later discovered in Buckminster Fuller's archives and wrongly credited to him as are most of TC Howard's dome buildings. Fuller was not an architect and did not design any actual dome building.
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