design edit

A Montauk Motel Renovation, Portable Stadium Seating for Open Streets, and More Finds

Photo: Brian W. Ferry, Diana Budds, Courtesy of A+A+A, Kamila Harris

The objects, designers, news, and events worth knowing about.

Home Studios’ Refresh of Daunt’s Albatross in Montauk

Photo: Brian W. Ferry

Since 1977, the Daunt family has happily run Daunt’s Albatross, a roadside motel in Montauk. It’s been well used, and well loved, but recently, all agreed, the insides of the rooms — with musty carpets, wall-mounted headboards, and wood paneling — needed to be renovated. Leo Daunt, the third-generation proprietor of the motel, hired Home Studios — the Brooklyn architecture firm behind the restaurants Fausto and the Spaniard, and the bar Elsa — to gut renovate the rooms, which can now be booked for the 2022 season. While no trace of the old rooms remains, the update respects the motel’s mid-century roots. The new rooms have flagstone floors, exposed-wood ceilings, 1950s bathroom tile, and custom wood furniture. The outside of the motel got a fresh coat of white paint, too.

Street Furniture That Riffs on the Stoop

Clockwise from left: Photo: Kamila HarrisPhoto: Kamila HarrisPhoto: Kamila Harris
From top: Photo: Kamila HarrisPhoto: Kamila HarrisPhoto: Kamila Harris

After two years, Open Streets have become more people-friendly thanks to design interventions like a carpetlike mural down the median of Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights (painted by the Department of Transportation) and a temporary playscape, napping corner, and public-seating structure in Hudson Square (sponsored by the business improvement district). This month, the architecture firm Rockwell Group brings another innovation to the beloved program: outdoor furniture through a project called Stoop NYC. Developed pro bono for the DOT, Stoop NYC includes moveable stadium-style seating that also stores tables and chairs. The stoops have a few plants on top and a sliding barrier that blocks traffic. It’s the latest pandemic betterment project from the firm, which brought the city modular streeteries after indoor dining was banned and outdoor stages and theaters when Broadway and performance venues were shuttered. Artist Deborah Wasserman painted the stoops with a scene inspired by Jackson Heights, where Stoop NYC debuted (and where one of the city’s most successful open streets is). Hopefully the portable seats find their way to more neighborhoods, because while the open streets are great, there’s often nowhere to sit. Stoop NYC solves this problem.

Natural Caribbean’s Mobile Stand by A+A+A

Photos: Camille Esquivel.
Photos: Camille Esquivel.

We’ve seen lots of experimental architecture on the streets thanks to the Open Restaurants program, and now this spirit of inventiveness is extending to street vendors. The design firm A+A+A created a new stand for Natural Caribbean street vendor Rodrick Brown, who sells fresh coconuts and jackfruit as well as sugarcane juice on the corner of Flatbush and Caton Avenues. He’s gotten in trouble with the city for not moving his stand overnight, so the architects designed a mobile space he can take apart and store at closing time. It’s part of the redeveloped Flatbush Caton Market, which reopened in a new mixed-use building earlier this year. Instead of being stationed on the sidewalk, Natural Caribbean now has a permanent, legal spot on a public plaza outside the market. The new stand is made up of four parts: two bright-yellow storage “back of house” sections that hold Brown’s tools, supplies, and small appliances (and have fold-out work surfaces); a metal bin in front of the stall where customers can choose what they want; and a green “front of house” serving station where Brown prepares the fruit or juice while chatting with his regulars. Each part is sized so that he can move them on his own inside the market, where he stores them at the end of each day.

The Brooklyn Museum’s Renovated Sculpture Garden

Photo: Matthew Williams

The Brooklyn Museum’s entrance is a constant hive of activity: people sitting on the steps, kids playing on the grass, and street vendors and performers hawking their wares. Now, the institution hopes to bring that same energy to its backyard sculpture garden, which was recently renovated by Elizabeth Roberts Architecture. The renovated space is simple, with built-in stadium seating on the edges, tables and chairs in the middle, and new trees planted on the perimeter that block out the surrounding parking lot. The museum plans to use it for art classes, performances, and happy hours.

A 1960s, Pre-Roe Flyer for an Abortion Consultation

Photos: Diana Budds.
Photos: Diana Budds.

In 1967, before Roe established legal abortion, an underground network of over 1,400 clergy members across the country, known as the Clergy Consultation Service, helped women access abortion. The group formed at the Judson Memorial Church, just south of Washington Square Park, under the leadership of the church’s radical minister, Howard Moody. Moody believed women should have access to reputable abortion services, so he and the church’s administrator, Arlene Carmen, created a directory of trustworthy doctors. Carmen vetted the doctors by posing as a woman seeking an abortion to see if they were respectful, if the facilities were clean and well equipped, and if the charges were fair. Most of the Judson Memorial Church’s archive is now part of NYU and is sealed to protect the privacy of the women who used the service, but a few pieces of ephemera are still at the church, such as this flyer the CCS distributed in the 1960s. It clearly wasn’t professionally designed and looks like it was written on a typewriter with a larger headline made from a Futura-font letter-transfer sheet. There’s no record of who made it, either. But the flyer communicated the service simply and directly — when someone called the number, they heard a message with the names and phone numbers of rabbis and ministers who could direct them to doctors. It’s a fascinating piece of design related to an important moment in history. And now that Roe has been overturned, many women will need a modern version.

A Montauk Motel Renovation, Improved Coconut Stand, and More