Daily digest: The Billionaires’ Row homeless shelter is back on, a portal appears in Vilnius, Lithuania, and more

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Daily digest: The Billionaires’ Row homeless shelter is back on, a portal appears in Vilnius, Lithuania, and more

While not a true wormhole, the digital portal provides a two-way window to Lublin, Poland, 375 miles away (Courtesy Go Vilnius)

Welcome back to the start of another work week (if you’re in the United States and fresh off of a long Memorial Day weekend, that is). There’s plenty of art, architecture, and urbanism news to catch up on, and AN has rounded it all up to get readers back into the swing of things.

Here’s what you need to know today:

Digital “portals” are now linking Vilnius, Lithuania, and Lublin, Poland

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is keeping international travel to a minimum for the time being, so the timing couldn’t be more perfect for the city of Vilnius, Lithuania, to install a digital “window” to Lublin, Poland. Reportedly under development for five years by engineers at Vilnius Gediminas Technical University and only recently installed at the city’s train station, cameras and screens embedded in the circular doorway (mirrored 375 miles away in Lublin) allow for live two-way views, rain or shine. The project’s organizers (who explicitly drew reference from the Portal games in their branding) plan on bringing similar portals to more cities in the future.

H/t to The Verge

The Biden administration wants to raise National Endowment for the Arts funding to highest ever

Last Friday, the Biden administration revealed its $6 trillion budget for fiscal year 2022, which included a surprising boost to federal funding for the arts and culture. The typical trend is to float cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)—the Trump administration had wanted to remove the agency altogether—but, if the proposed budget passes as-is and $201 million is allocated to the NEA, it would be the most money the agency has received since its founding in 1965.

H/t to The Art Newspaper

Tariffs on Canadian lumber imports could rise yet again

The United States Department of Commerce is looking into raising tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber, even as timber prices continue to hit record highs and have begun to negatively impact the housing market. Examining the prices of Canadian lumber through 2019, the Department has looked into whether such products were “dumped” (or exported at a loss to undercut domestic lumber prices) and come to the conclusion that tariffs on such products should be doubled from 9 percent to 18 percent.

A court decision clears the way for a Billionaires’ Row homeless shelter

Opponents of plans to build a homeless shelter in the former Park Savoy Hotel on West 58th Street in Manhattan have reportedly lost their bid before the New York Court of Appeals. A group called the West 58th Street Coalition brought a lawsuit before New York City in 2018 to stop the men’s shelter from being realized directly behind the ultra-pricey One57 tower on Billionaires’ Row (West 57th Street), but now that the suit has reached the end of the road and can’t be escalated further, residents have been openly airing their grievances in the Post.

H/t to Bloomberg

Peter Marino’s Southampton Arts Center opens to the public

First announced all the way back in 2018 but delayed by the COVID pandemic, Peter Marino’s museum and art foundation in Southampton, New York, will finally open for the summer. Marino purchased the Victorian Gothic Rogers Memorial Library, formerly a Parrish Art Museum annex, in 2018 with plans to renovate the 125-year old building into the new home of the Peter Marino Art Foundation. With help from the neighboring Southampton Arts Center next door, that work is finally complete, and the building will host cultural events throughout the rest of the year and showcase Marino’s extensive personal collection.

H/t to New York Post

The 101 Freeway wildlife crossing gets a $25 million boost

Plans to build the world’s largest wildlife crossing in Southern California have reportedly gotten a major fundraising boost. The Liberty Canyon wildlife crossing, which would bridge over a section of the ten-lane Route 101 in the Santa Monica Mountains, has received a $25 million grant from Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation. That puts the project total at $44 million raised so far, and puts the campaign to create a 210-foot-long bridge for endangered cougars, rabbits, coyotes, bobcats, and other indigenous animals one step closer to breaking ground.

H/t to ABC7