Monday, September 14, 2009

Growth is the only evidence of life*

ARE WE STILL ALLOWED TO MAKE CHANGES TO THE NYC SKYLINE, or is it just about perfect the way it is, so hands off? This is one of the questions considered by the New York City Planning Baord last week when it was asked to approve a new skyscraper that would have been as tall as the Empire State Building.

Their decision: Take 200 feet off the top. Message: We like the skyline the way it is, thank you very much.

Lamented the New York Times:
...the greater sadness here has to do with New York and how the city sees itself. Both the Empire State and Chrysler buildings, built during the Great Depression, were celebrated in their time as emblems of the city’s fortitude. The Freedom Tower, our era’s most notable contribution to the skyline, is a symbol of posturing and political expediency. And now a real alternative to it, one of the most enchanting skyscraper designs of recent memory, may well be lost because some people worry that nothing in our current age can measure up to the past. It is a mentality that, once it takes hold, risks transforming a living city into an urban mausoleum.
Of course, when I saw the concluding line I thought not of skyscrapers but of Jews and Judaism, v'hamaskil yidom

*John Henry Newman, Apologia pro vita sua, 1864
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