I was appropriately melancholy on the 5th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, thinking about how things have changed and how much damage has been done to us all by those maniacs in the caves of Afghanistan and the conference rooms of Washington, D.C. I have been speaking out against this madness since the beginning and it seems that finally the rest of this country is coming to its senses.
Meanwhile, it was a sunny lovely day (I call it ‘9/11 weather’ as it’s always like this on this day) and so I drew the buildings that are still left standing in my hometown.
I have watched this new Frank Gehry building go up on the West Side, bit by bit, every day on my way to work and am really falling in love with it. At first it seemed so un-New York, like many of the new cartoon-colored, glass boxes cropping up in the current building boom, but watching its undulating windows reflect the clouds is really stirring. The construction of the underlying concrete structure was fun to watch, seeming completely off kilter and doomed to collapse (apparently people regularly called in during that phase, to point out to the contractors that they were doing something horribly wrong). It also seemed like there were a lot of problems with the complex, twisted glass; panes were regularly swopped in and out.
Sometime I pass right under the building on the West Side drive but usually I admire it from 10th Ave. across the rusting elevated train tracks (soon to become a public park) and the umber tenements, a lovely juxtaposition of 19th, 20th, and 21st century New York.
Seventh Avenue was blasted through the West Village in the late ’50’s, cleaving buildings, leaving unusable little triangular lots, and wreaking all sorts of havoc across the organic twists of the old Indian paths. Streets go higgledy-piggledy and then stop abruptly. The only thing that got completely away from me is the scale of the truck on the left hand side which, to correct my screw-up and as a tribute to Lucinda Rogers, I made transparent-ish.