Friday, November 22, 2013
We Were There—St. Mo
There's a higher-res version here. Surprisingly, I can' t find an online recording of John Sterling calling the final game. As he sometimes says, Yankee radio announcer Sterling has seen every major league game Rivera has pitched.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
New York, New England, New Marlborough
ONE of the many great things about New York City is that it's easy to get from New York to many great places. We tend to head northeast to New England.
The Berkshire mountains in Western Massachusetts are distinctly not in New York, even though many New Yorkers visit the Berkshires. There are many beautiful ways to drive there, none of which require getting on an interstate highway. You can make the trip in 2 hours, or you can make it take all day. There are also trains to Dutchess County, New York, and people are working on a reviving the old rail line, which still has daily freight trains.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
#Bloomberg Administration London Envy Softens—City Planning Withdraws East Midtown Upzoning
"Key members of the Council said on Tuesday that the proposal — to rezone a 73-block area into a district of sleek glass towers that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said would make New York competitive with London and other world-class cities—" New York Times: End of Proposal to Raise Skyline on the East Side
Friday, November 08, 2013
East Midtown Upzoning—My Community Board Testimony
The New York CIty Council's vote on Mayor Bloomberg's proposed upzoning for East Midtown will probably be taken on November 13th or 14th. To download the text of my testimony to Community Board 5, click here. If you have any influence on the New York City Council, please help slow down this hurried, lame-duck plan.
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
Two types of architecture: good, and the other kind
THE ARCHITECTURE CRITIC for New York magazine wrote about the work of Robert A.M. Stern in an article entitled Unfashionably Fashionable. I commented:
"There are two kinds of music," Duke Ellington famously said. "Good music, and the other kind."
When I had Bob Stern as a teacher, the architectural academy and the architectural establishment were equally open-minded. Bob Stern, Peter Eisenman, Léon Krier, Michael Graves, Richard Meier and many others formed a disparate and friendly group that agreed with Duke Ellington, accepting many things (and each other), as long as they were good.
Today, we have ideologues controlling much of "the discourse" in the academy and the establishment. In musical terms, they are saying that everyone must work in the tradition of Philip Glass: Classical music, Hip Hop, bebop, jazz, folk, rock, indie rock, pop...are all verboten. They're more close minded than the Tea Party.
Is this about to change? Things like the New York article or one in the magazine of the American Institute of Architects by Aaron Betsky in which Betsky calls the traditional work of former Stern employee Tom Kligerman "breathtaking in its sophistication and beauty," suggest that maybe they are. The magazine has probably never published Kligerman's work, and has certainly never praised it before.
Worth noting: like most people other than architects, the readers of New York are not ideological about traditional or modern design. You particularly see this in New York in the hangouts of the young and the hip, where you find traditional design, modern design, and places that comfortably combine both. Craftsmanship and natural materials, both conspicuously missing in the work of most Starchitects and New York's gleaming tall towers, have been strong trends for years.
Friday, November 01, 2013
Citi Bike: We love you, but...
Reports that the parent company of Citi Bike is having major financial problems may explain all the glitches in the New York system, which mainly come from insufficient resources to redistribute and fix the bikes. Through the miracle of Twitter, I connected with a reporter who is writing about this, and sent her the following notes:
I've used bike share in London, Barcelona, Madison, Boston, Fort Worth, Salt Lake, DC, Miami, West Palm Beach and perhaps other places I don't remember. I have never seen the redistribution problems I see here. In London, you frequently see flatbed trucks driving around the city redistributing bikes. In New York, I've seen one small van, once.
I regularly try to use the station at 57th Street and Broadway. My success rate finding a working bike there in the morning is perhaps 10%. At my office, the three nearest stations are at Mercer and Bleecker, in front of the Puck Building, and next to the Lafayette Café, on Great Jones Street. It is quite common to find that all three are full in the morning, and the stations at Mercer and Bleecker can be full at other times too.
Yesterday I waited 5 to 10 minutes for someone to show up at the station on 44th Street at Fifth Avenue so I could return a bike. In front of Eataly at Madision Square is often full. Etc., etc. etc. I have never had either of these problems—full stations and empty stations—in other cities.
There is a dock at Mercer and Bleecker that has been broken for at least 3 weeks (and I know about lifting the bike when the dock doesn't work). The stations I use where there are no working bikes always have multiple broken stations or broken bikes locked in the stations.
Lots of the bikes have trouble with second gear (you fix that by gently nudging the shifter). Some have brake problems. Many have seat adjustment problems: either the tightener doesn't work, or the seat can't be moved. This all speaks of insufficient allocation of resources to keep the system working well. Because the bikes are all in a database, the redistribution of bikes is actually quite easy, if there were trucks and manpower to do it.
Friday, October 25, 2013
Arc et Senans
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
On the Second Anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, the face of Global Capitalism, brought to you by the Sheik of Dubai, Chinese Communism, Starchitects, and the billionaires who broke the world economy in 2008
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Quote of the Day
This book could change the way people see the streets in their towns and cities. And it could help those towns and cities make streets for people, rather than their cars.
Saturday, September 14, 2013
From a good article about a high school teacher: The Quote of the Day
The Levittown of my youth, and of Volpe’s early years teaching there, was the quintessential American suburb before the rise of video games, cable TV, the Internet. It had no Main Street or downtown, no culture, not a single thing of visual interest. As a teenager, I spent summer nights coasting around on my bicycle with friends, often well past midnight, miles in every direction. We told ourselves we were looking to meet girls, but I think we were trying to get somewhere that didn’t look like everywhere else. We were not coming back to this town, any of us, once we left.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
New York, New York: The East Side's Up & The Battery's Down
WHEN THE East Side IRT is running well, you can skip the number 6 downtown that pulls in just as you go through the turnstiles at 86th Street and go downstairs for a 4 or 5. Go to the back of the train, so you'll get a seat, and walk two cars down when you get out at Union Square.
When all is well, the number 6 that left before the one you passed up will pull in as you reach your boarding point,and when you get out at Bleecker Street or Astor Place your will be directly opposite the exit, with no steps wasted and no time lost waiting.
And when you thnk like this, you know you're a New Yorker.
Saturday, September 07, 2013
Does the NYPD Avoid Ticketing Illegal Parking in Bike Lanes?
THERE ARE sometimes so many delivery trucks, service trucks and limos parking in New York's bicycle lanes that it seems that way. And the NYPD is aggressive about ticketing cyclists (even hiding out of sight while watching the bike lanes) at the same time that one organization has worked out if a driver breaks the speed limit in Manhattan the odds are that he or she can go 37 years without getting a ticket.
This UPS truck could have parked in the spaces on the other side of the street, where there was actually a parked police car (blocked from view by the van). Any New Yorker knows that the New York City police are fast and efficient at giving expensive parking tickets that raise a lot of money. Car 54 Where Are You?
Wednesday, September 04, 2013
A great @CitiBikeNYC ride on a great day
Start @ the Puck Building, up Lafayette, left on 9th St (Wanamaker Place), bear left @ 6th Ave onto Christopher (center lane, use the walk light), bear right @ 7th Ave onto West 4th, right on Bank, right on Waverly Place, left on 11th, left on Bleecker, return to Citibike @ Mercer & Bleecker.
Distance: 2.6 miles
Monday, September 02, 2013
Quote of the Day
Outside of architecture school graduates, art school grads, and Art Basel fans over 65 years old, very few people are ideological Modernists.
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Unfortunately, this rings true
[MAYOR BLOOMBERG'S] legacy is one where only the voice of those with power matters, where someone like me starting out today has less of a chance than I once did to improve his/her life – Tony Glover
From the comments @ Poll Shows New Yorkers Are Deeply Conflicted Over Bloomberg’s Legacy