Monday, December 27, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Westbeth is among the first examples of adaptive reuse of industrial buildings for artistic and residential use in the United States. It is a complex of 13 buildings in Manhattan's West Village. The complex was originally the site of Bell Laboratories (1868–1966), one of the world's most important industrial research centers and home to many inventions, including the vacuum tube, the condenser microphone, an early version of television,and the transistor. The complex was vacated in the middle 1960s, and remained empty until the Westbeth project started later in the decade. It created live-work spaces for 384 artists of all disciplines'; the project was the first public commission of Richard Meier, who later won the Pritzker Prize for architecture and is still a significant figure in modern architecture. Westbeth opened in 1970 for artists, dancers, musicians, actors, writers and film makers.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Someone posted here, laughing about the ugliness of the Mars Bar. So let me explain why this is such a loss, one of many, probably of many more to come. New York City used to be a city of small neighborhoods, each with its own color and interests and unique people. There was no other city in America like New York. It looked different, felt different, smelled different. You could only get some things in New York and nowhere else. It retained its architectural heritage while the rest of America was overrun with shopping malls, suburbs and McDonald's. But not New York. Since 2001, money, mostly European, has flowed into the City, and much of New York has been gentrified. Gone are most of the old neighborhoods, the small businesses, the things that made new York unique. Now we have the same crap they have everywhere else. Just crap, crummy stores, crummy restaurants, chain stores, and tourists who want to experience "Sex in the City," who think that is New York (When I was a kid I thought New York was "Taxi Driver," "Annie Hall" and "Serpico," and, it was). So we cherish every vestige of the New York that was. As it disappears we lose the beauty that was, that connection to the past, and we lose the America that once was as well. And the new New York is surely not better. It's cookie cutter, prefab, with blue glass buildings, drunken girls and boys on every bar filled block, overpriced shops, shops that cater to wastefulness, indulgence, and plain old crap . The moneyed types (the investors, the developers, the same people who destroyed the economy) almost demolished Tin Pan Alley, until Brook's Lost City began blogging. We lost Cheyenne Diner, Moondance Diner, Munson Diner, Fedora, the classic old theaters in Times Square, Luchows, on and on. New York's history is being replaced with blue glass, folding chairs in Times Square, a future that looks like anywhere, USA. So we mourn Mars Bar. And its beautiful ugliness.