Friday, August 23, 2013
Man Bites Dog - Nicolai Ouroussoff and I completely agree!
Like most fairy tales New York’s embrace of architecture has a dark side. If many of these shows pointed up our rich architectural past, they also served to remind us that the majority of today’s projects serve the interests of a small elite. And this trend is not likely to change any time soon. The slow death of the urban middle class, the rise of architecture as a marketing tool, the overweening influence of developers — all have helped to narrow architecture’s social reach just as it begins to recapture the public imagination. From this perspective the wave of gorgeous new buildings can be read as a mere cultural diversion.
To date, there is little sign that intelligent design will play a major role in any of those projects. On the contrary, every revision heightens our creeping awareness that when serious money is at stake, business will be as usual.
Nicolai Ouroussoff, "Manhattan’s Year of
Building Furiously," New York Times,
December 23, 2007
Saturday, August 17, 2013
All Hail Summer Streets & the NYC DOT!
THIS MORNING was the third and final Summer Street of 2013, when the city closes Park Avenue and Lafayette Street from Park Avenue and 72nd Street to City Hall (a little under 5 miles). Since Citibike has the Maginot Bike Line at 59th Street, I picked up a Citibike at 58th Street and Broadway, rode through Central Park to 72nd Street and then to Park Avenue—the Park Drive and connection to Park Avenue were also closed.
There were lots of people out enjoying the streets, which look very different when you don't have to stay out of the roadbed. Since 80% of Manhattanites don't own cars (and a large percentage of Manhattan tourists don't rent cars), it would be great to have even more of these days.(continued) The closed streets included the raised road that goes around Grand Central Terminal. I couldn't help noticing there that the Traffic Engineers couldn't resist putting out their beloved orange cones, just in case the people walking 3 miles per hour couldn't get the idea from the highway-scale yellow paint in the middle of the road that they were supposed to stay on their side. It's important to tell people where they may walk!
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Sometimes It's Good To Get Out Of The City(continued) I don't need to leave NYC, but I love the Berkshires. One of the great things is that it's convenient to NYC, but definitely New England rather than New York. And, unlike the Hamptons, the Jersey Shore or Rhode Island, there are many great ways to drive there (including leaving a car at Dover Plains, or picking up a Zipcar in White Plains).
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Monday, July 15, 2013
Quote of the Day (The New Coke Rule)
Western society has accepted as unquestionable a technological imperative that is quite as arbitrary as the most primitive taboo: not merely the duty to foster invention and constantly to create technological novelties, but equally the duty to surrender to these novelties unconditionally, just because they are offered, without respect to their human consequences.
Thursday, May 09, 2013
Norman Foster: Paris does not need skyscrapers.
The most beautiful cities of the future will be inspired by today's most sustainable cities. And it does not mean that build up. Paris, London and Copenhagen are these cities. Of course, Manhattan is a shining example in terms of energy consumed, the presence of high buildings is beneficial. Many people go to work on foot, others use public transport. Few people own a car. But Copenhagen, Paris, Munich and Berlin are all cities in which to walk, they are durable and offer a high quality of urban life. You need a good mix of uses and buildings. Consider Copenhagen and Detroit, with a population and a similar climate: the second is three times higher population density than the other and yet it consumes ten times more energy, mainly because of gasoline. Under these conditions, I do not see how Paris would need skyscrapers.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Ken Burns's JAZZ