You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Urban Design’ category.

A visual/verbal commentary on a few days in New York City, where spring has come and spread its gorgeousness everywhere.

First on the list: The High Line, my favorite urban touchstone for seasonal drift. Two views looking south from 20th street—two months ago and this weekend:

Comparing urban flora and fauna in February and then again in April

And of course keeping it all in perspective—here’s what we have to look forward to in the next iteration:

The High Line in the summer of 2009

A few more visual remembrances:

Sand mandala painter in Union Square


My favorite spring tree, the Redbud, whose fecundity has blossoms that explode everywhere. This tree is so wildly expressive it almost makes me blush.


Draftmanship kept alive, at the Met Museum. He doesn’t move from that seat for hours.


A delightfully elemental and sensually lipped wooden bagel (donut for some). This is not its real name, just so you know. By Ross Rudel on exhibit at the Jack Shainman Gallery in Chelsea


The best quixotic wall message I’ve seen in some time: Is its intended reading Better History? Bitter History? Better Future? Bitter Future? I think the message is: e) all of the above.


I just returned from several days in New York. Some gallery shows and museums yes, but more than anything this was a set of days devoted to reconnected with old friends. Collen Burke. Eliot Lable. Mimi Kramer-Bryk and Bill Bryk.

One of the best moments: Walking the High Line in its late summer majesty of grasses and wildflowers, the city and the Hudson River in backdrop. I walked it at high noon and then again in the early morning, as soon as it opened. This is a zone of wild growing that feels magical at every hour.

High Line1w

Highline 5


Highline 6

High Line 2w

Bits and pieces of the protracted and complex story of how this elevated urban walk way came into being have come to me through various friends, and the High Line’s very existence is a kind of miracle all its own. But when you are there, you can’t help but envision the replication of this form of public access reclamation for every city.

And at another end of the same continuum of the “New York City in August” theme, this came in from my friend Andrew:

Those cooling water spouts in front of our friendly skyscraper are the perfect balm for these hot August days beside the sun scorched 9/11 site and always attract a share of tourists, whose children run shoeless and devoid of anger through the water and around the shiny sculpture, which the landlord’s website identifies as a “mirror-polished balloon flower.” I always thought it was a twisted body part.

Delmore Schwartz — who ended rather badly — obsessed about “the witness of the body” (as do I):

The heavy bear who goes with me,
A manifold honey to smear his face,
Clumsy and lumbering here and there,
The central ton of every place,
The hungry beating brutish one
In love with candy, anger, and sleep,
Crazy factotum, dishevelling all,
Climbs the building, kicks the football,
Boxes his brother in the hate-ridden city. . . .