The mother of all snowstorms

Upper east side, 2/12/2006 Palermo "Annunziata" at the Met

It was the best of times, even though, or possibly due to the fact that, life itself (as well as all the trains, boats and planes) was running at half speed. The only depressing note in this otherwise
strange world (strange in that it was almost identical to the feel of the Chronicles of Narnia movie) had nothing to do with the snow.

If you travel anywhere in this country, you had better rent a car or pay for a room in a hotel, because you are not going to be able to leave your bag anywhere else in the city. Forget trying to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Forget the quaint notions of “cloak rooms”, or “deposito bagagli”. These niceties have long since been eliminated due to the one in a million chance of someone putting a malevolent device inside a rolling suitcase. Maybe Bloomberg’s ultra-efficient 21st century New York could afford to put bomb-proof concrete baggage checks every 20 blocks or so up and down Manhattan, now that they have been systematically scoured from the important places of our culture (the places that tourists like me must visit, trundling roller bags over the snowdrifts that barricaded the corners of the Upper East Side almost as high as the fortified walls of Palermo).

Finally, I was able to find someone to take pity on me in my quest to see six paintings by Antonello da Messina. A Madison Avenue shopkeeper with a heart of gold whose identity will be withheld from the authorities reading this blog accepted my bag for 90 minutes so that I could share the mystical combination of quiet contemplation of a renaissance room in a quiet city with my son.

Archigram 2005

The High Line (Diller Scofidio + Renfro)

30 years in the making. Apparently the money and design (by New York architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro) have been found to create a new vision for reusing the elevated tracks on New York’s lower west side: The High Line.

Every city in America with an industrial past could use a little help like this.


Time Warner Center, New York, April 2005

New York, 3 weeks ago. When corporate greed meets Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, look out. This building (the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle) is from some angles a futurist dream, from others just a hulking mass overshadowing the kitschily lovable 1960’s ex-Huntington Hartford Museum of Art by Edward Durrell Stone (right foreground).

Apparently, David Childs’s rehack of the Daniel Liebeskind’s World Trade Center skyscraper has been sent packing by the NYPD. Is this a good or a bad thing? Maybe the good citizens, unenlightened as they are because of the draconian powers of the Port Authority, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and Larry Silverstein, will get another chance at a redesign, maybe even one that will let them see this huge development in drawings, before it is cast in terrorist-proof cladding. Hopefully Childs will consider the Freedom Tower from all angles and not aim for one dramatic shot from the Statue of Liberty.

Recent news does not bode well for the preservation of the Ed Stone building, either.