The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for December 26th, 2011

shadowy corners

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, your humble narrator had occasion to visit the Shining City of Manhattan, and having a few free minutes between appointments- I decided to visit the High Line park. Now, the last time I was up here was on some shadowy and half remembered date in the early 1990’s, a time when the High Line was referred to as “the world’s longest Homeless camp”.

Back then, you literally had to climb up there.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The views from the High Line are impressive, however the modern architecture and design of the park reveals its planners adherence to hideous and short sighted modernism. Frankly, this thing ain’t sustainable, and my prediction is that within 20 years this place will be a dusty footnote and emblematic of the failings of the current Manhattan establishment and their allegiance to the whims and desires of the Real Estate Industrial Complex.

Maybe I’m wrong, but as a native New Yorker, which most of the people running the City these days are not, so mark this as one of my little prophecies.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The thing that struck me, as we neared the Meat Market side of the High Line, was the clear and uninterrupted view of both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island from its decking. The streets below are familiar to me, and were considered “stomping grounds” for a younger and angrier narrator back in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. These streets were industrial then, mobster controlled and policed, a warren of abattoirs and fishmongers which only superficially resembles the modern neighborhood of high priced shops and so called “mall stores”.

A few saloons and sex clubs were the only “draw” back then.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above is included only because it reminds me of the soporific architect renderings which accompany the announcement of projects such as the High Line. Vague, it suggests a clean and sterile form of street life acceptable to the tastes of tourists and virgins. Controlled, policed, and leashed- it flies in the face of the brash and dangerous New York City of olden times.

Artists offer non confrontational images, whilst displaying vendor license and tax identification, and demure European tourists wander along a former industrial hinterland that was considered distasteful because of the coppery smell of animal blood which once ran freely along the gutters.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 26, 2011 at 12:15 am

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