Monday, March 30, 2009
The Twentieth Century Is Over
THAT'S THE IMAGE that accompanied Nicolai Ouroussoff's article Reinventing America’s Cities: The Time Is Now. It's Le Corbusier Ville Radieuse from the Great Depression, updated with the latest in architectural gimmicks and stupid style. Has Ouroussoff learned nothing from the last 70 years?
This reminds me of the Budhead, who suffered from living in houses and apartments without rugs for scratching his back and head. He was always delighted when he found a good rug.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
15 Days To Go
before Moses brought Urban Removal
In Washington Square
Streetcars in the East Village
Under a New York oxymoron - the elevated subway
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Glass Schmass Redux
IN TODAY"S NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE, Jim Lewis writes, "New York is the capital of glass, the city of windows. Other cities get their gravitas from marble or stone." Lewis (who seems to be from Texas), has it backwards.
New York has long been a wonderful city of stone and masonry buildings but has recently gone through a spurt of glass tower development that makes some (like me) pull out sarcastic references to "Houston-on-Hudson.
Some of this unfortunate development has come in the name of "green building." But at a European real estate convention in Cannes last month, the former designer behind many of Norman Foster's glass towers, Ken Shuttleworth, said that glass walls were a thing of the past, because they are environmentally unsustainable. Despite all the LEED Platinum glass towers, this is what the experts like atelier ten have been telling us, and what other traditionalists like the Prince's Foundation and I have been documenting for years.
All the glass towers in New York, Houston, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Dubai are about style. But in architecture, as in so many other fields, it's time for change we can believe in. Peak oil and global warming are here to stay, and we have to stop fiddling while Rome burns. Or, to use a nominally more erudite Roman reference,
There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures. (Julius Caesar - IV.ii.269–276)
We don't have time for this anymore
The Brompton & the Lucida
What's So Good About This?
All the best blocks in New York
Cities Need Both Richness and Order
Egotecture to be branded as Ecotecture
The New World Order — Houston, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Dubai
Monday, March 09, 2009
WALL STREET SEEMS TO BE UPSET that people other than those who work on Wall Street are getting bailout money. Or is it that Obama will let Bush's tax cut for the top rate will be allowed to lapse, so that the rate goes back to what it used to be? Hoover Institute fellows opine on this every other day in papers around the country, and now it seems they think bailing out Bear Stearns and the like was a mistake, even though they were for it at the time.
Charlie Gasparino speaks for a lot of them when he says, "The Dow closed today at its lowest mark in 12 years, and now it's becoming clear even to Obama supporters on Wall Street that his reckless agenda will make a bad situation worse." Never mind that Obama was elected because the Dow was plunging after eight years of Bush 43 and 6 years of a Republican House and Senate.
Hypocritical Republican statements seem to bring out the best in Jon Stewart and the Daily Show staff. The video above is almost as good as their Presidential election coverage. If only Wall Street were as clever about cleaning up their mess.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
The Way We Live Now
IF I GET OUT OF THE SUBWAY at Brooklyn Bridge - City Hall on my way to the office, I pass a Starbucks about 200 feet after I leave the station. In the winter, when the leaves are down in City Hall Park, I can see another Starbucks on the other side of the narrow park, about 400 feet away.