Urban Planning

Book Review: Gotham Unbound

Gotham Unbound: The Ecological History of Greater New York by Ted Steinberg sounds, at first, like a bad joke: it’s a natural history of the New York City area, which is one of the most heavily modified landscapes in the world. We’re surrounded by all sorts of nature here, including aspects that are impervious to …

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Many Rms, No Vu

As I’m looking for more cool pictrues to comment on, a weird aspect of the old infrastructure of the port of New York jumped out at me: you couldn’t see the water anyplace there were modern piers. The older piers, the nineteenth-century version, were finger piers (that is, with the axis of the pier and …

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How Big Is Big?

It’s a funny question coming from someone who regularly writes about tall buildings and long bridges, but I think the photo above, of the west facade of Building A at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, justifies why I’m asking. At the beginning of the first (1977) Star Wars movie, there’s a moment where a large spaceship …

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Homage And Disappearance

A lot of people who have never been to New York have heard the name “Five Points.” The neighborhood’s fame faded in the second half of the twentieth century, as bigger and more unsettling slums became famous, but the commercial success of the movie The Gangs of New York – a fictional drama based on …

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