December 2016


by Don Friedman on December 30, 2016

Packing, not long ago:


And that does it for the year. More on January 2nd.

Heavy Reading On Cities And Climate

December 29, 2016

The Empire State Building, being less wasteful of energy than it might appear, as photographed by Anthony Quintano: Cities are largely seen as profligate with energy and produce the majority of the world’s greenhouse gasses, but the issue is more complicated than that. Cities produce so much pollution because that’s where industry is and because in many […]

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Two More Obsessive Maps

December 28, 2016

First up, from the New York Times: Mapping the Shadows of New York City: Every Building, Every Block. Next, from Will Geary via Boing Boing a video map: Visualizing 24 hours of subway activity in New York City. (As a bonus, this link also includes a video map showing CitiBike use over 24 hours.) While these maps are […]

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Two “Best Of” Lists

December 27, 2016

1902’s winner under construction: The New York Times and Curbed have published their lists of the best architecture of 2016 in New York. I expect such lists to be dominated by new construction, so I was happy to see the restoration of the reading room at the New York Public Library and the conversion of […]

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December 24, 2016

A bundle of Christmas trees delivered off the dock and waiting on West Street, circa 1890. There’s not much difference in how people in Manhattan buy their trees today, except most of the groups I see are kept upright for sales display. The “Barclay Street Station” on the left was a freight pier run by […]

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End Of The Year List

December 23, 2016

But not my list, Curbed’s: 101 books about where and how we live. I’ve read most of them, but not all; buildings and cities are incredibly complex subjects that can be written about pretty much endlessly. There are some books here that I agree with, such as City of Quartz by Mike Davis, and there are some […]

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Undoing The Man-made

December 22, 2016

I was in Yonkers a few weeks back and I walked from the train station up the hill into the center of the downtown, I noticed that the big municipal parking lot was gone since my last visit, replaced by a stream. This is, to say the least, not a common occurrence. It turns out […]

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An Ornamental Extreme

December 21, 2016

My last photo out the office window*, I swear: That’s 75 Broad Street, finished in 1928 for ITT. It’s a middle-of-the-road skyscraper of its era, designed by talented architects who were not averse to ornamentation. As a matter of fact, they seem to have put some razor stubble near the top of this building. Here’s a […]

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A Common Mistake In Repair

December 20, 2016

There’s that view out the window again. (I’ve had the same view for seven years and I’m reveling in looking at something else.) The white strips of brick directly over some of the windows are a common form of facade repair: damaged steel lintels have been replaced, which requires that the brick above the lintels […]

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Sic Transit Gloria Urbis

December 19, 2016

The 1811 Commissioners’ Plan that established the numbered street grid of Manhattan north of Houston Street (click above for a larger version) has a lot of situational flaws. Had the city remained six stories high and lower, as it was in 1811, it might have worked well even with the flaws, but the density resulting […]

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