Walking to Manhattan

I noticed a camera lying around the house, and I wanted to try out the imaging features of my blogging software, so I decided to memorialize a walk down Flatbush Avenue over the bridge to Manhattan. It’s about an hour walk, and there’s lots of stuff on the way, so why not give it a whirl?

Here’s a New Deal-era building having to do with public health. It’s actually quite good, although this isn’t its best angle and the stuff added on top doesn’t help:

New Deal-era building

Things didn’t get better after the New Deal. Here are a couple of mid-70s Skidmore, Owings and Merrill buildings near Flatbush and Fulton that for some reason were supposed to revitalize the area, which had fallen on hard times:

Skidmore, Owings and Merrill

By the late 80s, when Metrotech was built, they realized they’d do better copying what had already been done. The recent building in the foreground copies the old Art Deco building in the background. The older building is a lot more refined, but a somewhat crude copy is better than nothing:


Case in point (seen from the beginning of the Manhattan Bridge):

Really monstrous

Really monstrous. It actually makes me physically ill. It might lead to suicides on the bridge if it weren’t so debilitating. It somehow makes everything seem hopeless.

3 thoughts on “Walking to Manhattan”

  1. High risers
    That neo-Deco shape is indeed nice juxtaposed against the older building. The SOM is truly awful. In addition to bringing along a lot of Bauhaus baggage about reducing human beings to efficient cogs in the socialist machine, buildings in the International Style were cheap to build and look it.

    That post-modernist (or whatever) tower looks cheap too. However after working in various office buildings over the years I am much more inclined to rate them by the felicity of their interior spaces rather than their overall effect as monuments in the urban landscape.

    • Knock ’em down
      What could Skidmore etc. have been thinking of? Professional standards I suppose, such as they were (and are). The buildings are unbelievably deadening at street level, and it was ridiculous putting them at a major urban intersection with lots of foot traffic. Another problem is that the surfaces don’t weather well and they haven’t been maintained. As to the new tower, the pointless asymmetries intentionally make it monstrous. It’s a greater crime than the SOM.


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