Talking about small cities and big cities, I can’t resist telling you about my flashtrip to the Big Apple, as I was going my way to Boston…
I spent one night and one morning in New York. I nested right down at a good friend’s place in Brooklyn, where a barbecue was being held to signal a brief Indian Summer. Carlos Roque is actually an artist whose work I quite enjoy: it has that definite urbanite feeling that you get only from American cities…
Carlos Roque, Ryder, 2008, Acrylic and markers on canvas, 110 x 154 cm
Last time I was in New York, the dust was still settling around Ground Zero, making it a rather ghostly town with shopwindows covered in white. There was a strange depressive feeling around. Projects were being stopped everywhere.
This time, it felt like Spring. And it should. Walking along the newly opened High Line certainly gives you a new perspective of the city. In fact, a woman nearing 60, a typical New Yorker, couldn’t stop herself from addressing me on the wooden deck just to share with someone how wonderful this place felt to her.
The traffic disappears, city noise from the nearby Meatpack district fades away (at least on a Sunday morning…) and walking through those powerfull monoliths at second-floor level can turn into a reminiscence of I Am Legend… As usual, one could say, reality mimicks fiction…
The other obligatory visit this time was Kazuo Seijima’s New Museum, which artist friends were discussing over dinner as a most disappointing and non-happening museum, specially after all the expectations that had been built up around it.
With the museum closed during the morning I could only appreciate its urban setting and its alien appearance in the typical New York street scene… And there it certainly worked for me as a cool, abstract version of yet again our current obsession for stacking.
Other than Hugh Maaskaant, New York was ultimately the inspiration for Rem Koolhaas’s take on program stacking, back when he wrote Delirious New York. Now, it is curious, if not ironic, that this concept should go all the way around the world of architecture, only to come back to its original hometown as a formal strategy for a single piece of program.
Across some streets, some little characters are still trying to figure out what this may really mean.