Thursday, August 14, 2014

Some new homes for Venus

In a post on his blog on Monday, and to the consternation of many local residents, John Isaacs argued against a literal restoration of Hudson's Seventh Street Park. He suggested that the beloved Venus statue, which used to live at the park's center, be sited on an existing triangular traffic island at the nearby intersection of State, Greene, and Columbia Streets. I'm not sure he was entirely serious in making this suggestion, as the traffic island is meager, to be kind. But as I recently suggested a larger plaza at this very location, I thought I would take another look at this area as well as another possibility that has been on my mind for some time.

First of all, here's my recent idea for the enlarged plaza. It resulted from closing off a portion Columbia Street currently used for eastbound traffic and extending the small triangular island southward (more details here). At the time, I wasn't thinking of the plaza as a location for Venus, but perhaps enlarged it has a chance of working. (The island is currently the home of an Olympic monument; I don't know where this would go.) 
Independently of this, I've been wanting to look into expanding the St. Charles Hotel as a way of improving the approach into the city from Green Street. Hotels can work well with front doors on more than one side, so the St. Charles could could present fronts to both the 7th Street Park and Green Street. The scheme below suggests a new hotel wing (perhaps containing function rooms) and atrium fronting on the park. (Horror of horrors: I've removed three existing undistinguished buildings to accommodate the hotel expansion.) The atrium also gathers in the view corridor from Green Street. I trust that one can look past the simplicity of the drawings to imagine what could be:
With the hotel having a stronger presence on the 7th Street Park, another potential location for Venus is suggested: on the park, but shifted to lie on axis with the hotel entrance. This would get the park plan away from its historical symmetry, which does not work well given the train line that slices through it, as well as some other factors:
You can click on the images for a closer look, but don't take my park design too literally as it calls for a more nuanced analysis than I can provide here. I'll try to take a closer look at it soon.

5 comments:

  1. The last I knew there were two entrances to the St Charles Hotel...One from the intersection of Green and Columbia and one on Park Place. I have entered from the side door in the past. There is a sign on Green indicating the entrance from Green. jlm

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    1. As I recall, the entrance facing Park Place/Seventh Street Park is blocked, and a sign directs visitors to an undignified side door, which yes, technically faces Green Street. But my point is not to have a mere door facing Green Street, but an architectural mass of significant enough size to have a legitimate civic presence—as the terminus to the Green Street axis and as a stronger edge to the Seventh Street Park.

      Re this latter point, as you face the front of the hotel, on the right storefront there's a breakfast room for hotel guests. It would be nice if this were an actual restaurant that opened to the sidewalk and served the general public as well as the hotel.

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  2. Why does The Olympic Torch even need to be moved...?

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    1. Maybe it doesn't... an enlarged/improved triangular plaza likely would lack a suitable atmosphere for Venus, even if we could somehow replace the gas station (can't remember if it's BP or Hess) with a decent building.

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  3. This reminds me of my proposal to more than one former mayor -- to deal with traffic in and out of the city and a potentially disastrous meeting of opposing traffic where Green Street and Fairview cross. Oncoming traffic from the East meets outbound traffic head on there; with heavy trucks coming into Hudson facing stationary traffic at the turn signal. The stationary traffic has to hope that the truck drivers make the swerve; if they don't, it's a head on collison.

    One easy solution would be to make Green Street one-way (inbound, East to West) starting at the old toll building, where there is a split. Outbound goes East on Columbia St and Columbia Turnpike . . . not quite as easy with the Columbia St/Turmpike, but would help at Green & Fairview.

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