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Curbed Awards '10: The Year in Parks & Recreation

It's time to make up a bunch of awards and hand them out to the most deserving people, places and things in the real estate, architecture, and neighborhood universes of New York City. Yep, it's time for the Seventh Annual Curbed Awards! Today's topic: parks and urban planning!

Biggest High Line Phase II Teases of the Year

3) Hey look, it's the Viewing Spur!
2) Hey look, it's the Woodland Flyover!!
1) Hey look, it's the Great Lawn!!!

Shitshow of the Year

Here's one Washington Square Park contractor's take on the long-delayed second stage of the park's renovation: "They are destroying this job. ... George spec out the wrong color granite I had to put in a 270,000 change order so I can get paid for the right color. ... I can’t keep my mouth shut no more they are looking to default me to cover all the internal problems in parks.” Aaaaand scene.

This Year's Newest, Craziest Governors Island Rendering

This poor child is so confused by all the different Governors Island park designs over the years that he put his jersey on backwards! Hopefully he figures it out before 2011's batch of renderings.

Strangest Park Pop-Up


Pop-ups, meet Judaism. Some might call it an unholy union, but a bunch of big-name architects and critics called it Sukkah City, an exhibition in Union Square of 12 sukkahs, temporary shelters built to observe the Jewish festival of Sukkot. We watched them go up, and the finished products were auctioned for charity.

Park Accessory That Needs to Happen Right Now

Why is this floating pool design, +Pool, better than all floating pools that have come before? It's four pools in one, duh, which would add 9,000 square feet of water to the East River. Er, enclosed water, that is. We haven't given up hope of seeing this one in summer 2011. No, really, we haven't.

Most Bizarre Schemes of the Year
Honoring the park proposals we couldn't make up if we tried.

3) Let's stick the country's largest Ferris wheel on Governors Island! Status: Shelved.
2) Let's put a new playground on the Upper East Side...for senior citizens! Status: Progressing!
1) Let's top a landmark ruin with a golden pyramid! Status: Denied.


Best Staircases to Heaven or Other Places to Be Determined


3) The still-unfinished staircase at the East River Promenade. According to the design team at SHoP, it's actually "an amphitheater type seating area that allows you to get down closer to the water."
2) Getting you closer to the sky, or at least to Phase II of the High Line, the staircase at 23rd Street.
1) It's made from recycled granite and magnets that attract couples seeking scenic wedding photos. It's the staircase at Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 1.

Best Revived Park Controversy

We kind of forgot about the whole turning-the-Union-Square-Pavilion-into-a-restaurant thing, that is, until a designer put out some fresh renderings of what the future restaurant might look like. It reignited the debate about using public land for a private business, but most of all it made the historic pavilion look like a golf course clubhouse. Jeeves, fetch my nine iron!

Best, Most Lush Bribe

To smooth over the bumps in the road of the school's plan to build a new athletic facility in Inwood, Columbia University brought in Field Operations (of High Line fame) to design a new waterfront park on the northern tip of Manhattan. Residents still protested, at least for a while, but not a bad throw-in, eh?

The Won't Somebody Think of the Children? Deadliest Deathraps of the Year

3) No complaints yet about the $4 million Imagination Playground, but with all those weapons at the ready, it's only a matter of time.
2) All it took was a few busted faces and some seared flesh for Brooklyn Bride Park's Pier 1's metal domes to be covered, then removed.
1) When two bumped heads resulted in weeks of fretting over Battery Park City's Tire Swing Park, including some swing studies(!), one community board member finally issued this definitive statement: "We're pansies." He was slapped at vociferously.
· All Curbed Awards 2010 posts [Curbed]