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Thread: Walking through the Lower East Side

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    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    Default Walking through the Lower East Side

    This thread will get ongoing photo updates and additions. I want to document this time of rapid change.




















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    ^chinatown encroaches


    ^Blue rises above the proles.


    ^The view, just down the street, from certain units in Blue, I guess.

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    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MidtownGuy View Post


    Sprawling fatso. Corpulent outcome of height limits. This building is seriously out of scale: that has everything to do with footprint and nothing whatever to do with height.

    This will destroy the fine grain and scale of the poor Lower East Side. And the irony of it is that the neighborhood thinks height limits are a good thing. As evidence like this to the contrary rolls in, cognitive dissonance will force them to the wrong conclusion that even greater height limitation is what's needed. In other words, they'll distort the observation ("this building is all wrong") to fit their mistaken theory ("tall buildings are bad").

    The theory will survive, the neighborhood will continue its passage down the drain, and the misunderstanding will live on in people's minds to defile yet another neighborhood.

    If you're committed to a delusion, no amount of evidence will shake that delusion. That's the meaning of cognitive dissonance.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance


    By contrast, a perfectly reasonable alternative for the neighborhood:

    Quote Originally Posted by MidtownGuy View Post
    ^ Infinitely more contextual, though not a brick is to be seen.

    .
    Last edited by ablarc; March 25th, 2007 at 07:07 PM.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by MidtownGuy View Post
    Amazing they would lavish so much ornament on what was essentially low-income housing. Will that day ever return?

    Wait a minute! ... wasn't that the robber baron era?

    Explanation?

    * * *


    Btw, especially looking forward to further installations of this particular chronicle, MidtownGuy. Your usual fine photography.

  6. #6

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    Great pics midtownguy, I look forward to the rest!

    And as always ablarc, love the commentary.

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    The Dude Abides
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    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc View Post
    Amazing they would lavish so much ornament on what was essentially low-income housing. Will that day ever return?

    Wait a minute! ... wasn't that the robber baron era?

    Explanation?
    The robber baron era never really ended. It just took on different names. See CEO/executive pay, dealmaker, tycoon, mogul, and captain-of-industry.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by pianoman11686 View Post
    The robber baron era never really ended. It just took on different names.
    Then how come we don't build nicely ornamented low-income housing any more?

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc View Post
    Amazing they would lavish so much ornament on what was essentially low-income housing. Will that day ever return?

    Wait a minute! ... wasn't that the robber baron era?

    Explanation?


    .
    Stock items.

    From the Historic Districts Council:
    Style was not much of a consideration for tenement builders or owners. Usually it was not about keeping up with what was in fashion, but using whatever cornices, lintels, and other elements that were readily available. Early tenements from the 1860's show some signs of the Italianate style, while those built in the 1870's sometimes display Neo-Grec design. A few new law tenements show influence of the Beaux-Arts style. Typically the architects had little or no formal training and were of no particular note. On occasion, a well-connected, upper class property owner would hire someone well-known such as Trowbridge and Livingston or the prominent architect and housing reformer Ernest Flagg.

  10. #10

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    ^ That explains why it cost not much, but it doesn't explain why the buildings were adorned to begin with. An unadorned building would have cost them less.

    Since their altruism couldn't have been motivated by the promise of higher rents, it must have just been civic pride.

    Whatever happened to that?

    Sam Chang, are you listening?

  11. #11

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    Maybe it was keeping up appearances. The money was made by what went on in the interior, construction costs being relatively insignificant in the 19th century.

    At any rate, do we know the history of those examples? LES housing falls into three time periods: Pre Law, Old Law, and New Law, and not everything was build for the poor.

    A more typical tenement for the poor was the museum at 97 Orchard St.

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    CIVIC PRIDE. You said the golden words right there!! They don't have ANY.
    These guys are already as rich as heck and they don't show any pride in this city. Can't take the money with ya on the way out. I think it's despicable, and every time I see another bad looking development, whose units will rent or sell for outrageous sums, I get more frustrated.

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    The Dude Abides
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    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc View Post
    Then how come we don't build nicely ornamented low-income housing any more?
    All the reasons given thus far are fine, but one major, more fundamental reason is missing: the influence of prevailing architectural trends.

    Ornamentation ceased to exist following the birth and acceptance of Modernism. Coincidental with people losing civic pride and becoming cheaper? I don't think so.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by pianoman11686 View Post
    ...one major, more fundamental reason is missing: the influence of prevailing architectural trends.

    Ornamentation ceased to exist following the birth and acceptance of Modernism.
    True enough, but puritanical Modernism was so boring that the ornamental impulse came back --except now the building's entire form is expected to be ornamental by the ideologues. So you end up with a collection of what Venturi called "ducks": buildings with complicated decorative shapes, like the Westin or the Bank of America or the Blue Condo.

    Personally, I'll be happy when ornament goes back where it belongs: adorning a rationally formed building. That's what the Beaux-Arts did so well, and so did Deco.

  15. #15

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    A thorough analysis of LES tenements:
    http://www.tenement.org/documents/Dolkart.pdf

    Some examples of architectural style:
    http://inet.dkv.columbia.edu/php/web...how_leshd.html

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