Saturday, 13 July 2019

manhattanhenge

Because the concrete and steel canyons of New York City follow a grid that’s offset from true West by twenty-nine degrees, the sunset does not align with the summer and winter solstices but rather on dates spread out evenly around them, namely 31 May, 12 – 13 July and on 22 December, drifting slightly from year to year. Here is a picture courtesy of Space Weather from last evening taken from one of the best vantage points in the city, looking down 34th Street. Relatedly, when planning the layout of Milton Keynes in the early 1960s, developers consulted Greenwich Observatory to arrange the corridors of the town centre to frame the rising sun on Midsummer and sunset on Midwinter

Friday, 17 May 2019

jet set

The TWA hotel housed in an incredibly restored 1962 terminal designed by Eero Saarinen (previously) has just recently celebrated its grand opening and welcomes its first guests at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York. Given the convenience and immersive atmosphere that perfectly captures all the best of Mid-Century modern glamour, lodging seems rather reasonably priced and it costs nothing to visit and walk through the main terminal. Learn more at CityLab at the link above.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

wrong side of the tracks

We are finding ourselves quite a bit conflicted about the new development at Midtown Manhattan’s Hudson Yards in general as a gentrified, cordoned off play area for the well-heeled but are nonetheless impressed with the copper, multi-storeyed pavilion called the Vessel from the studios of Thomas Heatherwick (previously here and here)—whose criss-crossing stairwells and latticework of landings create quite an interesting viewing platform to survey the post-industrial neighbourhood and the tenants. It reminded us of the monumental eighth century stepwell of Chand Baori (nearly on the same scale but with an exterior outlook as well) in Rajasthan. Much more to explore at the links above.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

kansas is apt to see in new york a greedy city… it inclines to think that the big apple gets a disproportionate share of the national sap

In a bid to secure the affections of an internet retail giant who turned out to be more polyamorous than expected, New York City, in its proposal to the company, modified its letterhead to spell out the sweetheart deal with a special version of the city’s iconic logo—created for the board of tourism by Milton Glaser (previously) in 1977. The artist was not impressed with the adaptation, befuddled as we are by what that’s even supposed to mean other than the commodification and selling-short of Gotham.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

cooper square

Having faith that such decisions are not made lightly and hard choices have to be deliberated and considerations taken for the welfare of staff, but losing another journalistic institution—this time in the alternative weekly Village Voice, which was read all over the world and had inestimable cultural and musical influence over its six decade run—makes me wonder where are the true patrons (I suppose that might be willing to adopt a newspaper, especially the local ones that are disappearing at frightening rates to the severe detriment to community cohesion and engagement, until it can rehabilitate itself enough so its at least no longer loosing money.
This is made especially alarming at times when reporting itself is under assault with the legitimate news outlets characterised as the enemy of the people and subject to censorship while propagandists and panderers are lauded for their loyalty as patriots. I am reminded of the exchange between Charles Foster Kane and his banker and guardian Walter Parks Thatcher, to whom Kane replies when accused of squandering his personal fortunes on an insoluble venture, “You’re right, I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars next year. You know, Mister Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I’ll have to close this place in… sixty years.” Even adjusting for inflation and how the backing and business of reporting has been transformed by the internet and social media, I am still fairly confident that we are flush with enough funds to keep what’s worth keeping afloat.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

parish polity

Not realising that the historic church at the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway had such an extensive real estate endowment and remains one of the chief property-holders in Manhattan with a significant acreage and Hudson Square in its portfolio, we really enjoyed reading this well-researched article on New York City’s Trinity Church.
Originally Dutch-held farm land of New Amsterdam, the area was conferred to the English Crown in 1671 and chartered by Queen Anne in 1705 as a royal grant for the establishment of an Anglican church for the Episcopal Diocese. Though more enlightened and civic-minded presently, the church once had the reputation of a predatory slumlord and an engine of gentrification—with the later still being a perennial source of contention. When Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip visited in 1976, the vestrymen of the church paid off nearly three hundred years of rent in arrears in peppercorns.

Monday, 13 August 2018

departures and arrivals lounge

As Curbed reports, the restored 1962 Eero Saarinen’s iconic TWA Flight Centre—originally designed as the terminal for the Trans World Airline’s hub at the John F Kennedy International Airport of New York City—the “Grand Central Station of the Jet Age” to be revitalised under protective status (not all were so decorously spared) as a historic landmark (Saarinen also designed the Gateway Arch of Saint Louis, Missouri) as a conference space and hotel that reference the Mid-Century Modern trappings of its inception is, construction work continuing a pace since 2016, already accepting bookings for a projected opening date early next year. Check out more photographs of the interiors with retro furnishings, skyboxes and other amenities at the link up top.