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Old June 1st, 2014, 10:15 AM   #581
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Umm, beatniks/hippies/hipsters are the antithesis of Western culture. The whole basis of their ideology is counter-cultural, thus rejecting the very stuff which made NYC, America, and ultimately Western civilization so great. You must be just as misinformed about how the world works as them.
Bohemianism was every bit as much counter-culture as beatniks, and the defining works of both movements are considered parts of the Western cultural canon.


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Demolishing residential buildings doesn't mean "killing the culture".
It might, since creative clusters like Montmartre, Montparnasse and SoHo depend heavily on the availability of affordable housing for struggling and emerging artists.
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Old June 1st, 2014, 12:36 PM   #582
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It might, since creative clusters like Montmartre, Montparnasse and SoHo depend heavily on the availability of affordable housing for struggling and emerging artists.
If affordable housing were the basic raw material of cultural innovative movements, Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo would be bustling with new scenes right now.
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Old June 1st, 2014, 12:53 PM   #583
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If affordable housing were the basic raw material of cultural innovative movements, Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo would be bustling with new scenes right now.
I'm not saying creative communitites spring up everywhere rent is cheap, I'm saying that I think the creative scenes in Montmartre, Montparnasse and SoHo wouldn't have existed without low rent tenements.

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Old June 1st, 2014, 02:46 PM   #584
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Lol, what an apocalyptic thread. Some people obviously have never been to New York, thus have no idea that the city is packed with beautiful, old pre-war buildings. Also, the majority of them is landmarked anyway. I really don't see what the fuss is all about.
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Old June 1st, 2014, 02:49 PM   #585
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Lol, what an apocalyptic thread. Some people obviously have never been to New York, thus have no idea that the city is packed with beautiful, old pre-war buildings. Also, the majority of them is landmarked anyway. I really don't see what the fuss is all about.
The fuss is that some of them (who don't even live there) would like to see those buildings destroyed for the sake of building a ******* highway. Right Surby?
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Old June 1st, 2014, 03:37 PM   #586
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Losing Pennsylvania St Station was a massive loss to NYC. Robert Moses has much to answer for...
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Old June 1st, 2014, 04:13 PM   #587
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexNYC View Post
Lol, what an apocalyptic thread. Some people obviously have never been to New York, thus have no idea that the city is packed with beautiful, old pre-war buildings. Also, the majority of them is landmarked anyway. I really don't see what the fuss is all about.
The mindset of the post-war modernist age is still prevalent. We can get rid of anything if it's in the way. Except for some "landmarked" buildings. Well we can, but it's not necessarily making our cities better. NYC should have learned that by now.

But as we can still observe, many true gems are still torn down in NYC and almost everywhere else for the same old-fashioned modernist crap. If they at least learned how to actually improve an area by adding something new, like architects/planners/investors did during soaring Art Deco...

So this thread has a broad legitimation not only for past and present, but especially for future generations who hopefully learn a thing or two from past failures.

Lessons like these:
- How to build Skyscrapers (Robert Adam)
- 10 Principles of Intelligent Urbanism
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Old June 1st, 2014, 05:25 PM   #588
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If affordable housing were the basic raw material of cultural innovative movements, Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo would be bustling with new scenes right now.
Actually, artists have been finding homes in these cities recently.
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Old June 1st, 2014, 07:41 PM   #589
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Ja, Detroit might very well become a center of gravity for new American culture.
There's a lot of activity indicating it's turning into a creative hub.

This wouldn't happen if it was a merely modernist town that looked equally drab.
Imagine a place like Phoenix going down the drain... *shudder* Pripyat 2.0.
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Old June 1st, 2014, 07:55 PM   #590
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There is a reason why "urban villages" attract talent, be it SoHo, Montmartre or Shoreditch. A place like Canary Wharf could never be creative.
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Old June 1st, 2014, 08:11 PM   #591
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But, but Notting Hill is...
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Old June 1st, 2014, 08:27 PM   #592
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People put too much faith into architecture (understandably, in the context of this forum), as if the "right" buildings in the right styles could spur human creativity and ingenuity to produce new cultural niche movements just like that.

What happened in New York, San Francisco, London, Sydney and several other "global" cities, in the 1970s and 1980s, were unique combinations of a (then) hollowed out real estate market, where many families had left due to poor services and demise of manufacturing and blue-collar jobs, but still retaining a strong presence of financial and professional classes whose high income trickled down into supporting the economic environment these people needed to live like that. It is rich people who usually can ultimately pay more for things like art works, concerts, exhibitions, theater shows, which in turn feeds a long chain of prime, second, aspiring and struggling art labor markets.

Back in the day, before Internet changed everything, there was also the issue of people wanting to live together so they could "network", collaborate and get in touch with other people thinking or working on the same things.

The architecture of buildings these people went on to live had little if any input in these movements. They just found out affordable buildings of acceptable quality, on areas middle class families had long departed, and moved there, as the lack of good schools, health care services and/or the seedy businesses that had taken over were not much of a deterrent in exchange for dirt-cheap rents they could pay on bartender wages.

It is irrelevant the age, style or design of the building stock in these areas. This dilapidated hollowed out neighborhoods just happened to be there.

Of course, this opinion of relatively irrelevance of architecture on cultural production is not going to fly well in a forum like this, which, again, is somehow understandable.
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Old June 1st, 2014, 08:38 PM   #593
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Quote:
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But as we can still observe, many true gems are still torn down in NYC and almost everywhere else for the same old-fashioned modernist crap. If they at least learned how to actually improve an area by adding something new, like architects/planners/investors did during soaring Art Deco...
Art Déco and its more weird cousin, expressionism, were heavily mocked and criticized back in the day when they were the latest fashionable thing. Late 19th Century neoclassical faced criticism as well.

I think any new style that becomes dominant will be criticized by some of its contemporary architecture thinkers. So, these days, glass boxes and post-modern amorphical buildings face a lot of criticism just because many of them are being built. Over time, things will settle down, some of them will be recognized as iconic, some as representatives, most as non-descriptive and some as eyesores.

Let's take a good example: before they went sadly down, the Twin Towers (WTC) had been somehow "rehabilitated" within the architecture community. Its construction was criticized for having demolished couple blocks of old housing in Lower Manhattan, then many defined it as "sterile and ugly", others thought the Empire State Building should have some sort of permanent right to be the tallest below CEntral Park, but by the mid-1990s people starting to like the sleek black towers on the skyline.

As for modernist buildings, I don't think any high-rise on true modernist style has been built in New York last 10 years or so. There was a flurry of international style buildings in the 1990s, but I'm not sure modernist ones have gone up.
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Old June 1st, 2014, 09:45 PM   #594
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
People put too much faith into architecture (understandably, in the context of this forum), as if the "right" buildings in the right styles could spur human creativity and ingenuity to produce new cultural niche movements just like that.

What happened in New York, San Francisco, London, Sydney and several other "global" cities, in the 1970s and 1980s, were unique combinations of a (then) hollowed out real estate market, where many families had left due to poor services and demise of manufacturing and blue-collar jobs, but still retaining a strong presence of financial and professional classes whose high income trickled down into supporting the economic environment these people needed to live like that. It is rich people who usually can ultimately pay more for things like art works, concerts, exhibitions, theater shows, which in turn feeds a long chain of prime, second, aspiring and struggling art labor markets.

Back in the day, before Internet changed everything, there was also the issue of people wanting to live together so they could "network", collaborate and get in touch with other people thinking or working on the same things.

The architecture of buildings these people went on to live had little if any input in these movements. They just found out affordable buildings of acceptable quality, on areas middle class families had long departed, and moved there, as the lack of good schools, health care services and/or the seedy businesses that had taken over were not much of a deterrent in exchange for dirt-cheap rents they could pay on bartender wages.

It is irrelevant the age, style or design of the building stock in these areas. This dilapidated hollowed out neighborhoods just happened to be there.

Of course, this opinion of relatively irrelevance of architecture on cultural production is not going to fly well in a forum like this, which, again, is somehow understandable.
The atmosphere and vibe of the area no doubt inspired these artist, and this is no doubt linked to what buildings and streets look like. The most important thing though was scale. Classical architecture, as opposed to utopian modernist town planning, is human scale and brings people together thus creating a "village" feel. Motoways, confusing housing estates and office blocks do the very opposite. However, artists can find just as much inspiration in a drab modernist or boring suburban environment as in an old inner city area, but I doubt the sense of community would have been equally successful had the old neighbourhood been swept away. Then there is the fact that i would have made absolutely no sense to demolish these places.
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Old June 2nd, 2014, 10:57 PM   #595
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The atmosphere and vibe of the area no doubt inspired these artist, and this is no doubt linked to what buildings and streets look like. The most important thing though was scale. Classical architecture, as opposed to utopian modernist town planning, is human scale and brings people together thus creating a "village" feel. Motoways, confusing housing estates and office blocks do the very opposite. However, artists can find just as much inspiration in a drab modernist or boring suburban environment as in an old inner city area, but I doubt the sense of community would have been equally successful had the old neighbourhood been swept away. Then there is the fact that i would have made absolutely no sense to demolish these places.
When the first 50s/60s tower blocks were going up, the people who built them were convinced the walkways would become "streets in the sky", with the same community feel as normal streets.

They didn't realise they'd become deeply impersonal.

In some respects you can't blame them too much. They had bold new visions, and few at the time were pointing out why they'd fail.

I think in 50 years since then though, we've worked it out, and their ideas have been hugely discredited as a result.

There's a massive difference between creating somewhere to live, and somewhere to have a life, and modernists were only concerned with the former.
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Old June 3rd, 2014, 04:06 PM   #596
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Actually quite a few people, among them the famous Jane Jacobs, were concerned that modernization would wreck our cities. And they were right. The utopian character of town planning at the time was part of a larger sentiment in society that the old world needed to die. This whole idea which first raised its ugly head during world war I was at first extremely destructive and fascist at heart. The very reason the war was welcomed can be explained by the fact that it was believed a "modern conflict" would eradicate the old world with its overcrowded cities, corrupt social structure and immorality. What many wanted was a clean table. This ideology survived the war and lived on in fascist and communist regimes. Even in democratic countries the state took an authoritative role, and radical and harsh structural change was widely supported, especially in certain circles.

As late as during the destructive bombardment of cities in WWII politicians, architects and city planners applauded the destruction of cities world wide as this destruction would pave the way for a better tomorrow. After the war the ideology of modernization was humanized and democratized, but it remained utopian in nature. One should keep in mind that what wrecked our cities after the war was not some momentarily whim of craze, but the culmination of an already long established idea. We should also remember that although this ideology originated in a culture in crisis and developed into something of a collective psychosis the humanized version of this movement brought about a lot of positive change. A sincere believe in social justice and equality meant that during the post-war era living standards rose massively and poverty declined sharply.

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Old June 14th, 2014, 03:06 AM   #597
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Comcast Seeking to Replace G.E.’s Initials Atop 30 Rock
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Comcast is known for its low-key corporate culture. At its 58-story headquarters, the tallest building in Philadelphia, a boxy glass crown gleams conspicuously but anonymously.

Yet now, as the mass media behemoth lobbies aggressively backstage for federal regulatory approval of its $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable, Comcast is seeking to raise its public profile in New York in vivid fashion.

The out-of-towner wants to plant its name atop one of the city’s signature skyscrapers.

Comcast, which last year bought General Electric’s remaining 49 percent stake in NBCUniversal, applied for a “certificate of appropriateness” from the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to replace G.E.’s 24-foot-high initials on 30 Rockefeller Plaza. G.E., now based in Fairfield, Conn., has long had a presence in New York.

Whether another name change will be embraced by the public is arguable. It’s been a quarter-century since the two glowing red letters were installed, yet many New Yorkers still refer to it as the RCA Building, after the company that founded the NBC network. The RCA name had capped the 70-story Manhattan landmark, which at 850 feet amounts to the city’s tallest billboard (the MetLife Building is considered second), for more than 50 years. When the original letters were first illuminated in 1937, they were hailed as the loftiest neon sign on the planet.

“The idea of changing it now to the Comcast Building,” said Carol H. Krinsky, a New York University art history professor and the author of “Rockefeller Center,” “strikes me the same way that the change to the G.E. Building name did: ‘I’m the new guy on the block and you are nothing anymore.’ ”

As proposed, more modest 12-foot-high light-emitting diode signs that spell Comcast in white uppercase letters would be installed on the broader north and south limestone exteriors, crowned by 10-foot-high NBC peacock logos. A 17-foot-high peacock would appear by itself on the western facade more or less facing Philadelphia. Measured in overall square feet, the new signs would be slightly more compact than the existing G.E. signs.

A new entrance and marquee would also be installed on Avenue of the Americas to promote “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” (Among the other shows produced there is “Saturday Night Live,” one of whose alumni, Senator Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, opposes Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable.)

“Nothing has been finalized yet,” Cameron Blanchard, a spokeswoman for NBCUniversal, said of the proposed renovations.

The new sign and marquee were approved on Thursday by the local community board. The preservation commission scheduled a hearing for Tuesday on Comcast’s request.

Built by Artkraft Strauss and outfitted with General Electric equipment, the original signs faced north, south and east and symbolized nearly a century of corporate history. In 1919, the Radio Corporation of America was formed by General Electric, which owned it until 1930. RCA and its NBC radio network were among the first tenants of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, just a few months after the stock market crashed in 1929.

“I haven’t heard anyone call it the G.E. Building except people who are new to New York City,” Professor Krinsky said. “The building is really, really the RCA Building, because the Radio Corporation of America saved Mr. Rockefeller’s financial neck by entering the project.”

The building was renamed for G.E. in 1988, two years after the company reacquired RCA. That same year, G.E. sold WNBC-AM, which left Rockefeller Center’s Radio City devoid of radio.

RCA’s original sans-serif initials, outlined in amber helium-filled tubes, endured until 1969, when a sleeker red neon version was introduced. Because Rockefeller Center was declared an official city landmark in 1985, General Electric’s request to replace the RCA rooftop sign provoked some resistance.

“The perfect solution would have Comcast management buy the rights to the RCA trademark, change the name of their company to RCA and return the original sign to the top of what always was, and always will be, the RCA Building,” said Daniel Okrent, author of “Great Fortune: The Epic of Rockefeller Center.”

Peg Breen, the president of the New York Landmarks Conservancy, said that since the sign had been changed before, the odds are that the commission will approve another change. “I just hope it’s a tasteful sign,” she said.

“If it’s the G.E. Building now and the owners want to change it to Comcast, O.K., I say with a sigh,” Professor Krinsky said, “because it’s still not going back to being the RCA Building.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/14/ny...t-30-rock.html
I'm all for replacing the old General Electric sign, as they no longer own NBC-Universal, but Comcast with the peacock logo is ridiculous! Either they should only use the font, or the NBC peacock on the skinny front facade of the building. The latter would look pretty bad-ass, like One Times Square used to be before ChiComs acquired the advertising rights. Everybody knows the peacock logo anyway...
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Old June 16th, 2014, 08:38 PM   #598
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I empathize with Professor Krinsky on that last remark.
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Old March 10th, 2015, 07:44 PM   #599
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NYC replaces more of its history with non-descript stuff.
It would be easy to save older facades at least, but obviously any will is lacking.

Show Folks Shoe Shop, one of the rare pre-war remainders of the Times Square, about to disappear.
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This new thing will go in place of the historic Show Folks Shoe Shop, a real gem in the middle of Times Square that hasn't been cleaned in a while and is covered with billboards except on the Forty-sixth Street side.



The NY Times had a story about it in 2008

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/10/re...scap.html?_r=0


In addition, the base of this "building" totally screws up the structure of the square.
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Old March 10th, 2015, 09:38 PM   #600
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Wrong building. We talked about what that oversized billboard and box is replacing, which is 701 Seventh Ave. Sadly, it's currently being demolished.

Frankly, I would have rather seen that low-rise former shoe store demolished instead.
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