Cutting through the bullshit.

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Elves to save Manhattan!

In a humorous but disturbing piece in yesterday’s NY Times, Tom Wolfe chronicles the decline and fall of NY City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission and the cockiness the commission’s impotence has imparted to developers like Aby Rosen.

Apparently without realizing it, he has actually found the solution to the whole dilemma in reporting the sad fate of 2 Columbus Circle,

By this time last year unionized elves with air hammers had reduced 2 Columbus Circle’s white marble to rubble and set about gutting the interior.

It would seem that news of the Green Bans that saved so much of inner Sydney’s architectural heritage in the early 1970s has not yet reached the Big Apple.

Well, the time has come. It turns out that those unionized elves are the very ones who can keep the developers on the straight and narrow. Wikipedia provides a useful summary and some links to follow. You might also check out Jack Mundey’s Green bans and beyond (Angus & Robertson (1981) ISBN 0207143676), apparently out of print, and the inspiring documentary, Rocking the foundations. Although it doesn’t even come up on the otherwise useful IMDB, it is clearly available in VHS or DVD from Ronin Films, at the link provided.

And speaking of Sydney, to avoid any further confusion, when I write of ‘the Emerald City’, no, I don’t mean the one in either the fictional or actual Land of Oz. I have been following the convention apparently established by Andy Martin in 2003, which I probably picked up from Lind in 2004.

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