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Archives: March 2005

More on Midcentury Preservation

Issues1.jpgYesterday’s New York Times ran an article by Robin Pogrebin, In Preservation Wars, A Focus on Midcentury. (Free registration required.) Here’s an excerpt:

Arguing that significant buildings are not getting their due, advocates of midcentury architecture are stepping up pressure on the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to hold full public hearings on proposals to raze two movie theaters on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Plans have been announced to convert Cinemas 1, 2 & 3, a 1962 International-style theater on Third Avenue across from Bloomingdale’s, into retail space. The Beekman, a 1952 late Streamline Moderne design at Second Avenue and 66th Street, is to be replaced by a breast and diagnostic imaging center run by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The theater is scheduled to be closed down this summer.

On another front, a lawsuit was filed against the city last week in New York State Supreme Court seeking to prevent reconstruction of 2 Columbus Circle into the Museum of Arts and Design. The marble-clad building with a “lollipop”-motif facade by Edward Durell Stone once housed Huntington Hartford’s Gallery of Modern Art. The landmarks commission has never held a public hearing on the future of the building, on which demolition is expected to begin in late May.

These two different battlefronts represent a larger argument on the part of preservationists that the commission has generally neglected postwar architecture and been unresponsive to their concerns about Modernist sites.

Modernist preservation had been on the brain lately, here and elsewhere:

Beekman Theater to Close? (Wired New York)

Morris Minor (Miss Representation)

Cinemas Facing Eviction & Demolition (Friends of Upper East Side Historic Districts)

Union Square’s Stairway to Nowhere Vanishes (Curbed)

Legal Wrangling Over “Lollipop” (NY Daily News)

Goodbye, Quirky 2 Columbus Circle (Gothamist)

Modernist Facades


A series of photos of Modernist Facades by photoblogger Adam Pantozzi. (Click the “prev” link from that page, or beware the scary elephant man).

(via Archidose).

Jeff Veen Speaks Sooth

Jeff Veen talks about his recent experience judging interactive designs for a competition, and takes Flash to task. Needless to say, he’s speaking my language:

Everything was designed as over-produced “click here for the next Flash movie” interaction. Which is to say, it wasn’t interactive at all. What I quickly realized was that the work I was seeing reflected designers refusing to let go of their perceived control…
Here are trends I noticed… Self-contained boxes of Flash that try to entertain while they fill the pipe full of multimedia. Splash screens. Hip techno beats playing while a metaphorical gas gauge fills. Sites spending 30 seconds on this before anything happens at all. Me reaching for the back button.

The entire entry, State-of-the-Art Interactivity?, is worth reading, as are the user comments.

(via Kottke)

This Just In: Curbed Sells Out Takes Ads

curbedlogo.jpgOK, not rrrrrrreally just in, but… Has Lock sold his soul to the devil?

No, just to the Real Estate section of the NY Times.

Not to worry, our intrepid founder assures us:

Curbed remains addicted to our editorial independence. Advertising is negotiated separately from the trough where we crank out this shit, a “church and state” separation found in most legit media. The coming of advertising to Curbed doesn’t change our ability to mock to our heart’s content, nor will we work with advertisers that attempt to influence our editorial coverage in any way.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned, but Curbed is my favorite blog, and I’m nearly certain that a lot of old-school real estate pubs have been learned a thing or two from reading it. It’s a great balance of snark and serious around a topic that most New Yorkers are utterly obesssed by. If advertising is going to fund more of the same, I’m for it.

Meta Meta MoCo

skyline.jpgMeta MoCo has a great round-up of design-related links. My favorite: Java art @

Street Art Roundtable

swoonmilkcrate.jpgOver on the Morning News, they’ve put together a Street Art Roundtable. The participants:

Michael De Feo, also known as the Flower Guy, recently published a children’s book, Alphabet City.

Patrick is part of the well-known street-art and design group Faile.

Swoon‘s cutout and block prints have appeared on walls all over New York City, among many other places all around the world.

Dan Witz has been making street art in New York City since the 1970s.

Wooster Collective, run by Marc and Sarah, spotlights street art around the world.

And a juicy quote from M. De Feo:

There’s an interesting contradiction to experiencing street art on the internet, and in books and magazines. Although, as media, they bring our work closer to an audience, they also distance the audience from the street art as well. The experience of being on the street and having the work engage you in a very personal way is an important element to taking in street art. Works on the street are not curated. You don’t know what’s coming and where it is going to be. The element of surprise is a wonderful part of encountering street art. That doesn’t really exist when you’re online.

House & Home Roundup, via AT

2005_3_24_luce.jpgIn the spirit of “Why reinvent the wheel?” I present to you Apartment Therapy’s House & Home Roundup. (House & Home being the Gray Lady’s Thursday Home Section.)

This week’s edition rates an 8 by ATs standard:

We don’t know, maybe it’s just a personal thing, but this week’s H&H just seems hot. True the scoring doesn’t add up super high, but that’s because of weakness in the green and garden areas, but the stories are all cool, beautifullly photographed and take you around the world.
Top credit goes to Architecture and Carchitecture, which despite a title that you can choke on, leads us deep into the upcoming California style of Jennifer Luce, who has the remarkable double billing of being a residential architect and an industrial architect for Nissan.

Paley Park: Private Public Space Done Right


Thanks to Lionel Lynch of HR&A, an urban planning consulting firm, for his quick response to my Private Public spaces post yesterday, wherein I wondered about the name and location of…Paley Park. (There’s a great summary of the space – follow that link!)

The fine people at the Project for Public Spaces (an organization I adore) describe Paley Park as a “great public space…which proves that in even a small space can serve both a popular meeting ground and a place for relaxation and calm. Slightly elevated from street level, the sidewalk blends with the park allowing for easy access from passer-by. The park’s 20-foot cascading waterfall… creates a backdrop of sound that causes the city noise to fade away.”

Also of note: the wire chairs I described yesterday are not just any old chairs, nope, they are white Bertoia chairs, unfixed. I wonder how often someone tries to pilfer one of those babies.

Has Francis Jumped the Shark?

redx5.jpgI was paging through a magazine the other day and came upon an ad for the Illy A Casa Espresso Membership Program (catchy name , huh?) Apparently, Illy has jumped on the continuity marketing bandwagon, a la subscription coffee stand-by Gevalia.

The FrancisFrancis! machine pictured here, their new X5 which utilizes what I find to be the mostly subpar pod technology, is part of your $250 introductory kit (a $680 value!)

I’ve posted about my dislike of the new FrancisFrancis! machine before. Aside from that, there’s the fact that my friend Antony remains loyal to model even though it’s broken and been sent back to the factory for repair three times now. (Hmm, kind of like my iBook, which is still out being fixed. How is a girl like me supposed to go without her laptop for 5 days and counting?! It’s dire.)

The whole pod machine thing is out of control. It reminds me of the flavored coffees that came in those little rectangular tins, way back when. (I am totally spacing on what the brand name was, and some frenzied googling has produced no good result. Halp!) Anyway, it’s this whole idea of idiot-proof “European flavor” that gets under my skin. So far the only potable pod coffee I’ve had has come from the Lavazza machine my friends David and Pierre have in their place out in East Hampton. (I confess the excitement of my anticipation of a visit to them there is nearly equally split between a desire to go to the beach and the promise of cup after cup of delicious espresso.)

Clickable Links in Flash? Be Still My Heart!

Not quite, but it’s a start, as Kottke mentions when linking to Stateful Linking to Rich Internet Applications