Friday, June 08, 2012

Cities

trumptriumph.jpg
A sampling of Mr. Trump's New York City triumphs.

Too good to miss:

Thieves of light, built by barbarians …
Later this summer, 1 World Trade Center will top out at 1,776 feet. New York will again be proud to have the tallest building in the United States, a new landmark in the race for height. But is that really such a good thing? From the nativity of the skyscraper in the 1860s through its early adulthood in the 1900s, this kind of “progress” was more often denounced than embraced. …

In 1897 The Record and Guide, alarmed by a proposal for a building 2,000 feet high, protested that New York was open “to attack from the audacious real estate owner” who cared nothing about robbing light from the neighbors, adding, “All that is needed is a barbarian with sufficient money and lunacy.” The Chamber of Commerce, equally alarmed, supported legislation to severely restrict skyscrapers. ..

No one talks seriously about banning skyscrapers anymore; indeed congestion has been in recent decades praised, not derided. And so we have before us the prospect of a tower one-third of a mile high, that will be considered a monument of civic pride, a literal triumph out of tragedy. What people would have said in the 1880s and 1890s is barely a footnote.

Christopher Gray in the NY Times

I read this after a day in downtown Los Angeles where a few glimmering "skyscrapers" (many of them more hotels than office towers from their markings) loom over a tiny section of the city center. The buildings are too spread out to block the slightly gray-tinged sky. I remember 15 years ago flying over Los Angeles on a day of deep fog; only two towers peaked out from the city center. Would more protrude today? I don't know.

Yesterday I was using public transportation, then on foot -- an experiment that failed I think. Two hours each way from the airport at LAX to downtown is just too much time and hassle for tiny savings of money and good feelings about caring for the planet. There is indeed something to be said for congestion or at least something to be said against sprawl.

1 comment:

Classof65 said...

I think it's nearly impossible to live in Southern California without a car, although I haven't lived there for nearly 40 years...

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