We Are All of Us Irrelevant

March 27, 2015 New York City Comments (1) 811

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)

 

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Photo: A rather dramatic NYC sunset

March 26, 2015 In The News, New York City Comments (0) 593

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.

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Winter has been hard on all of us.

March 26, 2015 New York City, Personal Comments (0) 367

This is the second such hole to show up quite suddenly outside of my apartment building, and I’m wondering if I should be concerned about the building’s foundation. What does one even call this? Pothole? Sinkhole? Abyss?

I looked in, and might have seen tiny claymation demons running around.

It’s been a long, hard winter in the Northeastern United States. If you live somewhere else, I envy you. And your traffic control devices.

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Tonight’s Manhattan Sunset

February 24, 2015 New York City Comments (0) 657

Red Sunset over Manhattan

Liz noticed this one first, and luckily I was quick enough with the camera to capture it. Anybody know what those clouds are called?

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This is one of those “How did my life lead me here?” moments.

February 17, 2015 New York City, Reviews Comments (0) 810

2015-02-16-13

I’ve been meaning to check out the Museum of Sex on Fifth Avenue for quite a while–it’s only a couple blocks south from my office, and I’ve walked past it on many a lunch break. I always suspected the “museum” was an ad-on to exploit some loophole and locate a sex shop in such a prime location, but it turns out I was wrong: It appears the sex shop is the afterthought, a means to help fund the museum. Continue Reading

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