“Architecture, of all the arts, is the one which acts the most slowly, but the most surely, on the soul.”
~ Ernest Dimnet
Can the crane lift the Chrysler building? No, it cannot. Can the crane remove the Chrysler building from view? Yes, it can.
Last December I wrote about waking up one foggy morning to discover the beginning of the end of the New York skyline view I've lived with and loved for 30 years. This is what I saw through my kitchen window that day.
Construction has moved along at a rapid clip in the last five months, revealing a building far worse than my wildest imaginings. The developers have dismissively turned the building's back to the community. They have replaced the beautiful skyline with a featureless, sand-colored monstrosity. If the building is to have a good side, it will face the river. And it gets better: This building is the first of five.
What puzzles me is, what will prospective tenants think about coming home to the visual equivalent of the servant's entrance every night? What will they tell their visitors? I can hear them now: "Just head toward the waterfront and look for the ugliest building you've ever seen. That's us!" Or perhaps the developers expect everyone to arrive by boat.
New York is not just the city that never sleeps. It is the city that never stops reinventing itself. But surely we can do better than this.
"The materials of city planning are sky, space, trees, steel and cement in that order and in that hierarchy."
~ Le Corbusier