New York has never been much for cobblestone and colonnade, vistas seeping historical vernacular and cocooning inhabitants in fantasies of a past continuum. Famously amnesiac, its building stock chronically provisional, New York offers a past that comes at us in fits and starts–a sideways glimpse, a shimmering peripheral vision at best. Mostly, though, we rehash Read More
For a long-darkened building on Broadway, the Metro Theater still manages to incite sudden outbursts—impromptu manifestos, eager litanies of trivia, all but priestly intercessions—from its passersby. Stand too long gawking at its Deco lettering (one of its M’s was recently felled by a snowdrift), and strangers will materialize out of the passing crowd Read More
The Internet, for most of us, is a fairy-dusted invisible terrain, a current through which we drift in and out with seamless ease. A cloud, we call it. A Web. Whatever it is, the Internet is very light.
It is this lightness that’s difficult to square with the nuts-and-bolts hardware that powers our virtual worlds, Read More
As hundreds of Bernie Madoff’s personal belongings were auctioned off to bidders last week, the owners of the building that once housed the con artist’s Potemkin trading floors, the so-called Lipstick Building, were preparing to declare bankruptcy.
In midtown, the Sheraton Hotel ballroom was transformed into a kind of government-run garage sale, part garish treasure Read More
Even in a seemingly dismal age for the printed word, the Manhattan mediascape–all but littered with the shells of publishing enterprises come and gone–at least offers comfort in its constancy, a kind of rapid-cycling eternal flux. Most departed periodicals find themselves entombed in the dusty corners of archives, but a few manage to wedge themselves Read More
The long-murmured auguries of demolition on Surf Avenue had all but taken on the air of ritual, each new summer washing up like a predictable reprise–the last last annual send-off of Coney Island As We Knew It.
But the long, protracted standoff between developer Joe Sitt and city officials finally came to an end last Read More
It didn’t cause much of a stir, the pronouncement that the words branded across the front of 36 Cooper Square would have to go. Maybe because the building’s tenant roster now reads more like an assemblage of techies and new-media ecclesiae than old-school publishers, or maybe because the letters themselves, righteous block typeface, had accumulated Read More
In New York, the skyline sometimes recedes, but it never disappears entirely. Height, like money and power, is among the city’s eternally recurring preoccupations, a kind of suspended totem of commerce, the skyline’s residual tic. The skyline, after all, is not viscerally experienced so much as occasionally glimpsed and secreted away, stowed as eight million Read More
The rail yards on Manhattan’s far West Side, like the developers’ dreams and mayoral agendas they inspire, slouch wearily toward the Hudson. For a necropolis of transit systems past (the Hudson River Railroad, the New York Central, the High Line), the Hudson Yards offer up eternal-and seemingly eternally deferred-promise, the heady rush of Read More
It’s an unlikely sanctuary, the room filling quietly with worshippers. It might be a deserted trading floor or a hastily thrown-up sound stage—the industrial carpeting running wide and clean and a little unrelenting, the matted electric cords and walls that don’t quite reach the ceiling. There’s a sketchlike quality of impermanence that might be any Read More