Monthly Archives: November 2003

LES Cellphone Update

2003_11_sprint.jpg
New York City’s release of its cell phone survey, spotlighting places where mobile toters have experienced “mobile phone problems,” shows why Sprint PCS users on the Lower East Side bitch about their phones far less than most other Sprint PCS users we know. Indeed, the one “complaint” zone in the center of the LES seems oddly situated on top of… Capitale.
· City Releases Cell Phone Survey [gothamist]
· Number Portability Arrives [gizmodo]

Art of the Deal

With Red Sox nation buzzing this afternoon about a possible deal for Arizona ace Curt Schilling, who stops by to offer his thoughts on Sox message board Sons of Sam Horn? Why, former Wall Street tycoon, Moneyball supporting player and new Sox owner John W. Henry:

JohnWHenry: 7 pages [of posts] already. There is a saying in business, “Until it’s signed you don’t have a deal”… Amazing group here. We’re keeping busy too. Best Regards, John

Mark Cuban, eat your heart out. UPDATE: MOP notes, “That’s old school, like Sorkin posting on TVwithoutPity, or, the hallmark of the genre, when Courtney Love posted on a fan site drunken rages.” Good company, that.
· Schilling to Sox… [sons of sam horn]
· John W. Henry Quotes [turtletrader.com]
· John W Henry and Company Inc [jwh.com]

Lower East Side Linkage

· Finally: plans underway to rehabilitate “long-neglected” LES waterfront. [thevillager.com]
· What’s going to be built on the former open parking lot at Houston and Chrystie now encased in plywood walls? Why, this monstrosity! [chrystieplace. com via AK]
· Debate rages at community board meeting (and online) about a proposal for new low-income LES housing [everythingny & Co-Op Village]
· Choire on life, liberty and Lower East Side pitbulls. [choiresicha.com]

Baseball Update

Up late last night reading Roger Angell‘s annual baseball playoff reverie in the New Yorker. Hard memories for a Red Sox fan, but as pain fades and eyes cast ahead, that familiar sense of rebirth stirs in the soul.

I had been looking about the familiar Stadium surround in valedictory fashion—the motel-landscape bullpens, the UTZ Potato Chip sign over in right—but from here to the end sat transfixed by the cascade of events, scarcely able to draw a full breath. No other sport does this, and even as we stare and cry “Can you believe this?” we forget how often it comes along, how it’s built into baseball.

Eighty-nine days until pitchers and catchers report.
· Gone South [newyorker.com]

Life and Death

Yahoo! was kind enough to notice the Book of Ages website and suggest it today as one of their daily picks. But we’re more intrigued by one of their other suggestions, Mylastemail.com. From Mylastemail’s site:

Mylastemail.com is a unique online service, which allows you to leave messages for those you care about – to be emailed after your death. Coping with the death of someone close is always difficult – and usually unexpected. It is important to think now about what happens when you don’t have the time to say goodbye properly to family and friends, who are left trying to cope with sudden loss. Mylastemail.com aims to help.

My God, how right they are. We suggest it as the perfect accompanyment to a book about your thirties. And in case this is ourlastpost, people—you’ve been wonderful.
· New and Notable Sites for 11/17/03 [yahoo]
· Mylastemail.com [mylastemail.com]

Claim: The New New Museum Sucks Bigtime

Felix Salmon weighs in on the design for the new New Museum. “Far from being a ‘pretty good’ improvement on the brutalist nightmares of the past, it seems determined to make every old mistake in the book all over again,” he writes. On the architects’ claim that their plan is designed to integrate with existing Bowery architecture:

This is gruesome stuff… A Japanese architectural firm comes up with a ‘bold’ design, and then pays lip service to the neighborhood, despite the fact that they obviously couldn’t care less. This building would be equally ugly anywhere, but it certainly doesn’t belong in residential downtown New York, where commercial high-rise structures are unheard of.

Prediction: “There is no chance that the local residents are going to embrace this building; rather, they are (rightly) going to consider it an eyesore and a bad neighbour.”
· Windowless Buildings [felixsalmon.com]

Introducing A New New Museum

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This morning, the New Museum unveiled its plans for an, uh, new museum. We were invited to attend the announcement, but work being the curse of the working class, we instead found ourselves digging through the media kit that materialized on our desk later in the day. Lo and behold—what will they think of next?—a press kit worth reading!

The building, designed by Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, is described by the New Museum as “a dramatic stack of rectangular boxes, each with a different height, shifted slightly off axis in different directions and clad in textured, galvanized zinc-plated steel. Leaving architectural analysis to Greg and others more qualified, we’re fascinated with the museum’s integration with its location—the east side of Bowery just below Stanton Street (a site currently home to an architecturally significant parking lot). The location intrigued the architects, too, according to a furnished interview excerpted here. (N.B. Sejima and Nishizawa are interviewed not as individuals but rather as the über-entity SANAA—perhaps coincidentally, also the name of their firm):

Q: How does your design address the context of the Bowery—the thoroughfare itself, the beginning of Prince Street at the site, the surrounding of smallish buildings of different styles and conditions?
SANAA: We wanted to be as consistent as possible with the scale of the existing surroundings. However, our building has to accommodate a much bigger program than its neighbors do. By shifting the different levels of the structure in relation to one another, we are also diminishing the bulk and establishing a more effective, dynamic relationship with the buildings in the area. On the other hand, because this area is in transition, we believe the New Museum building should have a strong identity of its own in order to survive, especially on a street as tough as the Bowery.

Q: You’ve often talked of SANAA’s interest in exploring boundaries with its architecture. How do the Bowery’s characteristics as a literal and figurative urban boundary suggest responses you are designing?
SANAA: To us the Bowery is less a boundary than a neutral “demilitarized” zone between neighborhoods that have very distinctive personalities—Nolita, the East Village, Chinatown. We see the Bowery as a path to a wider panorama. Accepting and embracing every oddity in an unprejudiced manner, this street is a place where every imaginable future seems possible, and that makes it a particularly beautiful site for the New Museum.

Indeed. Note how, in the below photo composite that looks south down Bowery from Houston, they left an idling truck in the foreground. Truly, nothing says “Bowery Goodness” like fresh diesel fumes—and (you saw this coming, right?) stacked boxes! [Composite shot at top looks east at the new New Museum from Prince and Elizabeth. Memo to museum fundraisers: there's your money shot.]
New New Museum

· Design for a new, New Museum [newmuseum.org]
· New Museum Selects Architects [newmuseum.org]
· Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa [iccm.at]