Sunday, August 3, 2014

New York, New York

It looked like Cirque du Soliel, but it was the gold cleaners - or the gilders .  Who could tell at this distance?   But we could see the results...and the acrobatics.
And there were window washers suspended high above the sidewalk.   Surprising what you can see if you just look up.
Started me thinking about how many people - invisible people - it takes to support this vertical living - and office-ing.  Think about it.

And how precious the sweet parks are among the towers:
No matter how tiny or hemmed in by buildings.
When Eric lived here he complained that he never saw the horizon.  I think he did, it just wasn't what he expected.  No trees.  Or dirt.  
The horizon is man made - the tops and edges of buildings, some older and ornate, some spare and modern.  Dramatic but unfamiliar.  At least to children of the suburbs.

There was a time in NY you could build an extra-big building if you provided some public space on the ground.  

San Francisco is trying it now - you can go taller and wider if the ground floors are open and public.  We'll see...I don't think NY does this any more.  I love that we in SF are just now trying something NY abandoned years ago - It's part of our charm.

Le Corbusier tried it under a huge apartment building in Europe (and if I could remember the country I'd have put it here).  His vision was apartments raised off the ground, public space underneath.   It was not the stunning success he envisioned, the space under the building remained empty and sterile, and it didn't catch on.  Thank goodness.  

I prefer the elegant lobbies, apartments and offices.  I love the doormen, the beautifully dressed ladies rushing in and out just knowing they never have to worry about the door.  I love the office workers in the tall spare office lobbies skittering across the marble floors, all of them on their iphones.  I love that you can tell the worker bees from the masters of the universe by the way they walk.  I love watching people - can you tell?
And I love Central Park, that magic oasis in the middle of chaos that stretches from businesses to co-ops to Harlem. 
 To mangle a quote: "New York without Central Park would be Cleveland."  With apologies to Cleveland.  And to Paris, the subject of the original quote.  And to New York, even without the park it would be exhilarating.  No place like it on earth.


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