INTERVIEWER: You’ve often said New York is your favorite city: Was it love at first sight?
SIMIC: It was. It was an astonishing sight in 1954. Europe was so gray and New York was so bright; there were so many colors, the advertisements, the yellow taxicabs. America was only five days away by ship, but it felt as distant as China does today. European cities are like operatic stage sets. New York looked like painted sets in a sideshow at a carnival where the bearded lady, sword- swallowers, snake charmers, and magicians make their appearances.
[Photo Credit: Andre Robe]
Many consider the destruction of New York’s original Pennsylvania Station in 1963 to have been the architectural crime of the twentieth century. But few know how close we came to also losing its counterpart, Grand Central Terminal, a hub every bit as irreplaceable. Grand Central’s salvation has generally been told as a tale of aroused civic virtue, which it was. Yet it was, as well, an affirming episode for those of us convinced that our political culture has become an endless clown-car act with the same fools always leaping out.
“In New York then, I learn to appreciate the Italian Renaissance,” said Le Corbusier of Grand Central. “It is so well done that you could believe it to be genuine. It even has a strange, new firmness which is not Italian, but American.” It was not seen as such by its owner, New York Central Railroad, which viewed it mostly as a cash cow. As early as 1954, the Central proposed replacing the terminal with something called The Hyberboloid — an I. M. Pei monstrosity that, at 108 stories and 1,600 feet, would have become the world’s tallest building at the time. There was enough public outcry that a scaled-down Hyberboloid was built instead just north of Grand Central, where it was retitled the Pan Am (later the Met Life) Building. Even at a lesser height, it proved every bit as grotesque as promised.
Still unsatisfied, New York Central proposed in 1961 to build a three-level bowling alley over Grand Central’s Main Concourse, which would have required lowering the ceiling from sixty feet to fifteen and cutting off from view its glorious blue mural of the zodiac. This, too, was stopped. Foiled again, New York Central resorted to plastering the terminal with ads and bombarding travelers with canned Muzak, complete with commercials, over the public address system.
[Photo Credit: Boris Yale Klapwald/Brain-Ink]
Well I guess it’s about time for another Where & When. The last couple of games have been pretty interesting if I do say so myself, here’s hoping I can keep that ball rolling (as opposed to what the Yanks defense did last night) with his, as it turns out, rather dour entry to the canon. I dedicate this one to our rather illustrious Gloomy Guses of the Banter:
I’m going to spare you a whole lot of drama on this one, because unless you’ve got a real eye for details you’re likely not going to get a clue within this picture of where this can be. It’s in New York, in a place that would become very well known and lit up with activity starting a few years after this picture was taken (in fact, it was sort of already lit up at this point, but not nearly as much as it would be in the ensuing years). In the direct center of this picture, a person who would become world renown and whose works would become synonymous with the neighborhood was born in a room in the building to the left of the lamp post. The picture was taken about nine years after his birth. Also, relative to what yesterday’s game ultimately was, the region would change it’s name in a few years and in time begin a tradition that endures to this day.
I’m tasking you with naming this region and the year this picture was taken. I know it’s a long shot, but if you consider the clues I’ve given you, you won’t suffer as much. Bonuses to whomever determines (my logic for one) the name of the person I refer to being born in the building I pointed out, the name of that building in particular and how this is relative to the people I dedicated the game to today (in jest, naturally). It’s a long season as we fairly predicted it would be, so we gotta keep each other up until reinforcements arrive (and hopefully not by postponing the future yet again). Root beers, cream sodas, floats and brownies, all that. You know the routine, let’s do this like Leeroy Jenkins.
[photo credit: MCNY Blog]
Here we are again with another Where & When! (That dumb rhyme was unintentional; it happens.) Speaking of happens, it just so happens you might get this without looking too hard, but I was inspired by the old and almost equally lost neighborhood play:
An interesting, if far from glorious picture, but I will link to some of the glory from this location after you figure out where this location actually is. I don’t have an actually reference date for this photo, so for the when let’s go with what you know about the location. For the bonus question, tell us two prominent features near the location that still exist today (you’re either gonna laugh or tsk me this one).
So you know the rules; show your work and complete answers, first one to he finish line gets the frosty mug of root beer and the bonus gets you a scoop of ice cream; all others get a cold mug of cream soda for the effort. Stick around for a little history lesson (feel free to enlighten us and you might get a brownie) and we’ll see each other on the game thre… wait, are the Yanks playing tonight? No? Oh… well, stick around and chat!
[photo credit: Dyre Avenue Line Memories]
Greetings, welcome back to another exciting episode of Where & When. It’s a slow day today, so I took a moment to fill in the doldrums with a “challenging” excerpt from the five boroughs:
This picture was taken a year after the subject of this picture was opened for service. So, I task you to find out where and when this picture was taken, not to mention what it is. You know the rules; show your work, share your ideas and stories, utilize whatever you prefer to find the answers and the first one with the complete answer will get the icy cold root beer award, while the rest of us who participate get to drink to that person’s health with a frosty cream soda.
Oh, and the bonus ice cream scoop goes to the person who can describe the style of the object or objects in question.
So have at it and we’ll see each other on the game thread.
[photo credit: NYC Bridges]
Welcome back to what has become perhaps a needed distraction, Where & When. Hopefully the team won’t fall underneath .500 tonight, and if they do let’s hope they can float long enough until reinforcements arrive. In the meantime, let’s ponder the past yet again and find out what this is all about:
There is an important distinction about this building, so tell us what building this is, where it’s located, when it was built and as a bonus, how long it lasted and what the distinction actually is. Show your math as well. A frosty mug of your favorite root beer if you have the where and when practical answers with notes, and I’ll upgrade it to a root beer float if you get the bonus question. The rest of us will get cold cream sodas in a can. So you know the drill; have fun and I’ll see you in the game thread (maybe)!
[photo credit: Detroit Photographic Company (Wikipedia)]
Lo and Behold, we are back with another Where & When. I’ve missed doing these for a while, so let me take advantage of a little time I have to present to you another little challenge with a little history attached to it:
This one has a bit of irony attached to it, considering what it is. If you can tell us what this building is and when this building existed, you will win a box of Thin Mints (because the Girl Scout cookies we ordered months ago have arrived and I feel inordinately generous in my imagination). You will get a quart of milk to wash them down if you can tell us the ironic stories with this structure as well. A bonus box will be thrown in if you can tell us the name of the building beside it in the background.
Most of you know the rules of this game, but for those who don’t or need a refresher: to win, you should be the first person to answer all of the questions above in one post, plus you must show your process of finding the answer. You can utilize any methods you find feasible to find the answer, but you must not peek at the photo credit link because that’s cheating. If, however, you happen to find the link on your own in the course of research, then you will be excused. Everyone else who answers after the winner will receive a cold cream soda of choice. Usually we award a cold root beer for the winner unless there’s a special or seasonal occasion for something more apropos to the occasion.
You are encouraged also to share your research or memories about the site in the picture, in the spirit of cooperation and fostering education. Above all, have a good time and I hope you learn something new.
Have fun and we’ll discuss later!
[Photo credit: Wiki Commons]
Through August 24, dig Martin Wong’s impressive collection of street art over at the Museum of the City of New York. This 1988 painting is by Lee Quiñones.
Over at the ever-fuggin’-fabulous Retronaut, dig this beautiful, gritty gallery of Frank Horvat’s photography.
Welcome back to another round of Where & When. I guess the power plant worked a little, huh? Maybe a fleet of Score Trucks can really get us back on track, but meanwhile I present you with more old school intrigue:
This is where I’m supposed to say, “And boom goes the dynamite”, but I cannon be a lot worse. I’d like to think this is what the offense has in store for the rest of the season when it starts to get really warm out, but I’m not really good with sports predictions, only with complaining about the results. So lets just say that if the team doesn’t really pick it up and go on a tear, we’re prepared to respond.
And you, are you prepared to explain where this is, when it was founded and when or if it was closed? Give us the lowdown and you’ll get a really nice red velvet cupcake, which I like just as much if not more than chocolate cake these days. Be the first one to guess correctly and you get a slice of blue velvet cake (because you’re special and all), and for the bonus if you guess the significance of today’s date, you get a PBR to go with it. I don’t drink, so consider it a special gift.
So have at it, good people, and I’ll be around later for a slice. No peeking at the photo credit and have fun!
[Photo Credit: NPS]
Hello again to the latest round of Where & When. It’s been a pretty busy (and somewhat lame) week so far with the big club, so let’s try to spin things around a bit and see what we come up with when we look at this:
Yes, it’s contemporary. I just like the picture a lot because of the clue. And here’s another: after the first two games this season, we can agree that if this place were still in prime condition, the Yanks could use a lot of what it would have. A whole lot.
So there you have it; it’s in the area, but it may take you some time to figure out where unless you happen to see it on a regular basis. By the way, this is not the best picture of the location, even from the website I referenced; inside is an explorer’s fun park or a developer’s almost literal pipe dream. After I confirm the answer, I invite you to take a peek at the site from the photo credit’s link to see and learn more about it. I geek out at a place like this for quite a few reasons.
On that note, the first person who determines the location will win a barrel of Barq’s root beer; Barq’s being my favorite and again, I like this place for what it could become if someone had the gumption to do it. The rest of us will get Virgil’s cream soda and a cool place to look at from the comfort of our seats; mind you that you don’t let images of the current Yankee Stadium mix in with this though; it’s way too early to be that cynical… >;)
No peeking at the photo credit until after I say okay!
[Photo Credit: AbandonedNYC]
I like this:
“What I loved when I came here from Ohio is that I realized, you could be the weirdest person in the world and then walk around, and in three blocks, you’re going to see someone way weirder than you,” he said.
Though he misses the wildness of those days (in the SoHo of the late ’70s, “I looked out my window at about 3:30 a.m., and I saw a man walking a llama down Prince Street”), “I’m not nostalgic,” he said. “Because New York’s only about change and conning everybody out of whatever they have. That’s just what New York is.”
[Photo Via: NY Film Festival]