hi from nyc.
i was walking around thinking, to myself, ‘hm, what should i take pictures of? i mean, in terms of buildings. for people to see.’ and then i thought, self-involvedly, ‘why not take pictures of my apartment and studio?’ so i did. and here they are. well, some of them.
first, some history:
i’ve been in this building in little italy since 1992 (i’ve been on this block since 1990…). in 1995 i bought a small storage space in the building and hired an architect named nick durrie to design and build a home and studio for me. here were the issues:
- i didn’t have much money
- it had no skylights or plumbing
- nick didn’t have anywhere to live
so nick kind of designed and built the space while he was living in it as a construction site. and it’s very idiosyncratic and unique.
we had to remove a huge, beautiful beam from the ceiling, so he chopped it up and turned it into the stairs/ladder. we needed kitchen lights, so we went to chinatown and bought 2 lampshades for $10. we needed another ladder, so we walked to bond st and bought a ladder for $5 from a salvage place. and etc.
it was all done sort of spontaneously and inexpensively, but it turned out beautifully and it’s still where i stay when i’m in nyc (and it’s where i lived from 1995-2010). and it’s where i wrote and recorded ‘play’ and ‘18’ and ‘hotel’ and ‘last night’ and ‘wait for me’
and ‘destroyed’. so, as you might imagine, it’s a very special place for me. and even though i live in l.a now, this is still (like a horcrux), where a huge part of me resides.
p.s-i’m also including a photo of the new museum, as it currently has a boat hanging on it’s front and it’s across the street from me.
p.s-these’re not my finest photos, as my nice camera is in l.a..
p.p.s-i have really good security on the apartment, so don’t go getting any fancy ideas about breaking in when i’m not here…
i’m in nyc. and it goes without saying that nyc is chock full of amazing buildings. but here’s the issue: most of them have been photographed and documented a few trillion times.
so, i mean, i could go take a picture of the seagram’s building or the chrysler building, but i figure i’d rather search out something a little bit weirder. and today’s building is one of my favorite odd-ball buildings in nyc. it’s tribeca’s ‘synagogue for the arts’, as designed by William Breger (who was a student of Walter Gropius, the bauhaus bigwig).
decades ago i remember walking by it with a friend of mine and we had a pretty heated pro-con debate regarding the relative merits of this buildings. i was pro. he was con.
my pros were: it’s bizarre, it has no windows on the facade, it’s sculptural, it stands in stark relief to every other building in nyc (except the guggenheim) as it’s curvy and weird when almost all other nyc buildings are exclusively composed of right angles, it looks like an odd fluid wave, it kind of looks like a candle flame or a scroll, and etc.
his con was that he thought it was weird an ugly.
to this day he thinks it’s weird and ugly, and i think it’s one of the best buildings in nyc, especially as it hearkens back to a time in nyc when real estate was cheap and architects could be truly experimental (kind of like parts of l.a today). as new york increasingly becomes a very cohesive theme park for the very wealthy i like to visit buildings like this, as a reminder that nyc still has some awesome weirdness hiding out on it’s side streets.
ok, not sure if this is architecture.
or l.a. (actually i’m pretty sure it’s not l.a).
but it’s coney island and it’s the mermaid parade, and coney island and the mermaid parade are two of my favorite things, so i’m going to stretch the boundaries/criteria of architecture to include old amusement park rides and mermaids (both of which are sort of architectural, well, broadly speaking. or under the influence of peyote).
so today (saturday) i joined a bunch of luminaries (like darren aronofsky and his adorable nieces) to observe and judge (benignly) the mermaid parade. the sun was shining, the mermaids were shining, the old amusement park rides were shining.
generally things were very shiny.
and here are some pictures of/from coney island and the mermaid parade.
ok, i’m in nyc and i don’t have my big fancy camera and all i have is my cell phone, so here are some pictures taken with my cell phone and i do apologize for the lack of fancy-ness. but, in any case. the geographic (figurative and literal) center of downtown is washington square park. when i was growing up in/around nyc in the early 80’s my friends and i spent a lot of time in washington sq park: sitting by the fountain, watching girls, listening to the patter of the drug dealers (‘smoke, smoke, mescaline, smoke, smoke, weed, smoke, dust, smoke’), trying to look cool, hoping some passing girls would think we were cute, talking about records, etc etc etc.
washington square park in the early 80’s was amazing and menacing and bucolic all at the same time (in fact, all of the parks in manhattan in the early 80’s were amazing, menacing, and bucolic. union square was the scariest, in many ways, as it was where the meanest addicts hung out).
the 2 centers of washington sq park are the arch and the fountain. and yes, it seems absurd to post pictures of washington square arch, as it’s been photographed by about 14,000,000,000 tourists, but i’ve decided to put up some pictures as:
- it’s figured so prominently in the 35 years i’ve been living in or hanging out in nyc.
- it’s nice to look at.
- it’s 100 degrees today, and washington sq park seems especially germane when it’s 100 degrees(although washington sq park is at it’s best when it’s snowing. clearly it’s not snowing today. it’s just hot).
- marcel duchamp once climbed to the top of washington sq arch and proclaimed, drunkenly, that greenwich village was it’s own country.
to that end i’ve included a picture of the door in the side of the arch through which marcel duchamp and his pals supposedly entered the arch en route to the roof.
here’s the story.
i’ve also included a couple of pictures of the fountain, as it’s not everyday in nyc that people are so overcome by the heat that they just sit in the middle of fountain. the water is, well, um, not exactly what most people would consider ‘clean’ or ‘free of plague’.
but maybe sitting in bacteria laden water is good for people’s immune systems.
right before leaving for montreal i took a couple of simple ‘i’m looking south and now i’m looking north’ pictures from my fire escape.
‘fire escape’ is such a literal term.
what if spoons were called ‘food diggers’.
and windows were ‘house holes’.
‘fire escape’ was probably named by the person who named the orange and the fly.
ok, off to montreal, see you soon.
then el paso, also see you soon.