February 2019

Extremes On Site

by Don Friedman on February 28, 2019


It got as low as 1F (-17C) at Ticonderoga yesterday*, and I’ve had site visits at 102F (39C) during heat waves in New York City. That 101 degree spread (in Celsius, a 56 degree spread) is in some ways more difficult to deal with than other conditions on site (heights or filth, for example). But it can also be useful: any place there was a leak, we knew we would see ice. And you don’t have to worry about bugs in this weather.

* The background of the picture is the south end of Lake Champlain frozen solid.

When You’re Right, You’re Right

February 27, 2019

Signage seen in the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and it’s hard to argue. It’s probably worth noting that beneath its hideous 1970s renovation, the south wing dates to 1950 and was originally a kind of watered-down moderne.

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Naming Conventions

February 27, 2019

That’s the Union Traction Building in Indianapolis, according to the text on the photo. The building was constructed in 1904 and this picture is probably from 1907. The office building is Daniel Burnham’s usual handsome neoclassicism, but the interesting part of it is the shed behind. That was the largest interurban station ever built. Interurbans […]

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The Little Things

February 26, 2019

That’s the view out of a classroom window of an old NYC elementary school, pre-renovation. Why shouldn’t there be a miniature terra-cotta dragon crawling on the wall?

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Easy To Reach

February 26, 2019

My previous speculation about how the old Tappan Zee Bridge would be demolished was wrong. I had thought that the backarms of the cantilevers would be lifted off their piers and dissembled elsewhere. That was too subtle. The picture above, taken from a train, shows the actual process: one backarm has been dropped from its […]

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Winter Is Winding Down

February 25, 2019

I somehow missed this article in the Times last month: Think Snowstorms Are Rough Now? Check Out These Vintage New York Blizzards. Great stuff.

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A Data Point

February 25, 2019

That crack monitor was installed in the 1980s, something like 35 years ago, so it’s safe to assume that the crack in the plaster is at least that old. The monitor was epoxied into place, and it’s still holding on strong – I tried to move it any hand and couldn’t. So…what does it mean? […]

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Irreplaceable

February 24, 2019

I was up in the tower of a early-19C church last week. No lights and the part of the tower where I had the most to see had no windows. So a lot of my photos are flashlight-lit. (Click on the picture to expand it and see it more clearly.) It is, of course, possible […]

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It Depends On How You Look At It

February 23, 2019

At first glance, this article on how to reduce New York’s energy use seems fairly grim. But there are hidden bright spots. For example, if the cost of an optimal retrofit is twelve percent of a building’s value, that means that retrofitting is a lot less expensive than replacement. For example, if the problem is […]

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Pristine

February 22, 2019

I’ve put up so many photos of badly-weathered steel that is seems only fair to put up this one. You’ll need to click on it to expand it to see it properly. This is a roof spandrel beam on an office building downtown, uncovered for parapet reconstruction. There’s a column connection on the right and […]

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