If you come to New York City, you can pay $100 million to live above the clouds. My friend calls it “The Bespin Penthouse.”
That’s 432 Park Avenue, the second-tallest building in New York City at present, and the tallest residential building in the world. It’s apartments all the way up, and the penthouse is actually higher up than the spire of the Empire State Building. The view is incredible, according to published photos–although on a day like this, I don’t imagine you see much except the clouds.
Liz and I made our first visit to the Museum of the City of New York this afternoon. It’s a great museum and I recommend it–we especially enjoyed the exhibits on protecting New York City landmarks and about the history of activism in New York City.
Shortly before heading into Manhattan for Erika’s book launch, I got to watch from my apartment window as a heavy storm rolled in over Manhattan. The photos below were taken over a period of less than three minutes; afterward we had maybe 1-5 minutes of very heavy rain (which fell mostly sideways) then a few minutes of drizzle, and then the rest of the night was calm.
It’s actually two (or maybe three) separate photos that Google helpfully, and without any prompting from me, made into a panorama. So thank you, benevolent electronic overlords. Continue Reading
Out for a walk one afternoon, and this building just grabbed me. The way it filled the entire frame with faceless identical units, the way it towers over the block despite being set back quite a bit, overwhelming you with its sheer scope. I guess that’s why they call this style brutalist*.
*Apparently it’s not–it has something to do with the French for concrete–but fuck it. This building is brutish.
Turns out this is an I. M. Pei building, Kips Bay Towers, which house more than 4,000 residents on three blocks of the East Side and which were part of the condo frenzy in the early 1980’s.
A friend remarked that, “behind each of those windows are people who will likely never meet each other.” That seems to me like a pretty good symbol of life in New York City, or any really big city.
It’s like a human honeycomb, and in each cell is a family or an individual with a whole universe that revolves around them, a complex web of relationships and goals, desires and failures that feel overwhelming even though they’re surrounded on all sides by people who couldn’t care less. Each cell bears the decor that is the physical accumulation of a lifetime lived, but when somebody dies that will all will be moved out, and the space cleared so the next person can fill that blank space with their life and their mementos.
The longer I look at this photo, the less important I feel. I begin to understand why this was the chosen architectural style of fascist governments.
“From the outside I am thinking / I’m a number, not a man
From the outside I am thinking / What were they thinking?”
– They Might Be Giants, “Albany (The Egg)“
A massive building fire destroyed three buildings in New York City’s East Village late this afternoon, including my favorite spot to get poutine–but that hardly seems important considering the number of people who were injured and put out of their homes. It took more than 200 firefighters to put out the blaze, and last I heard they were knocking all the buildings down rather than risk an uncontrolled collapse.
I happened to catch the sunset at just the right moment, as the rain clouds (which hung over us most of the day) cleared, leaving Manhattan awash in smoke from the fire and bathing the Empire State Building in visible sunbeams. I’ll refrain from waxing philosophical on this and just say it made for a nice photo. If you think there’s something more to it, feel free to say so in the comments.
at home sick on Wednesday and going pretty stir crazy, when I happened to notice the sunset had turned the sky a beautiful shade of yellow gold. I grabbed the camera to try and capture it–I’ve been trying to practice working with longer exposures recently–and while I didn’t quite capture the perfect yellow, I did get a few other photos of Manhattan and Long Island City that I’m pretty happy about.
As a note: I don’t make my photography (or any of my other original work) available under Creative Commons, but if you’d like to use it ask me and I will likely give you permission.