January 26, 2006

The Javits Center is one of my favorite pieces of New York architecture -- like Manhattan itself, it's so imposing and utilitarian. But I think people see it as representing an older, grittier NYC, a vision of Midtown West as an HQ for no-nonsense worker-bees to buckle down and get straight to whatever they're there for. That's changing now that developers are trying to gentrify every potentially desirable parcel of land, and the city is promoting some bullshit about "repurposing" the waterfront away from its storied industrial history and into a freshly landscaped mini-mall. That said, I've been looking at some designs for the new Javits center, and it's actually sorta pretty, even if it doesn't look anything like the New York I know. Which is the problem with all of this "NYC 2.0" stuff. It's all well and good, but it's devoid of character and might as well be any other anonymous-looking wealthy city in the U.S. or Canada -- Boston, Toronto, Denver. Why are cities so ashamed of their recent past? Will we be ashamed of this era in 30-40 years?


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