The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

convulsively against

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They really like the sterile and antiseptic these days, huh?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Wandering about Queens, the shot above was captured at the Court Square station at the foot of the Citigroup Megalith incidentally, one always wonders what it is that the architects of modernity are trying to tell us to think. It’s actually where the “art part” of the building trade comes in to play, wherein an arrangement of blocking shapes and the massing of form accomplishes the delivery of an idea or impression upon the viewer. Get it wrong, you can literally drive a population crazy- just ask anyone who lives in a city project what budget driven homogeneity (and strict adherence to the crypto fascist theories of LeCorbusier) does to your head when it’s expressed in mortar and brick.

This spot at Court Square tells one such as myself that I’m trapped in a sinister exultation of all that might go wrong in America, and that an escape from this cylindrical construct of sapphire glass and shrouded steel should be immediately and expeditiously sought. Maybe that’s what they wanted, to help move people out of the subway as quickly as possible?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Some places in Queens, its obvious what the builders and designers intended, despite the post modernity and broad strokes of obtuse symbolism. Of course the Unisphere at Flushing Meadow Corona Park’s (the former Worlds Fair) is a unique sort of thing in a unique sort of place, but were it some Darth Vaderesque conglomeration of steel and bluish green glass with a 53 story tall building looming, would it encourage that same feeling of dread and entrapped menace?

Your humble narrator is largely ignorant about the fashions and caprices enjoyed by the modern architect, all I can tell you is I know what attracts my eye and gravitate toward those forms which do not impart unto me a sense of being imprisoned or surveilled.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Every era has its genius, its witty play, its fancy. Somebody is always trying to throw a curve ball at prevailing style. The 1960’s JFK structure above is a great example of form, function, and whimsy (and admittedly, asbestos contamination) in which you actually are being surveilled- but you don’t really mind it that much. Weird how it contrasts with the modern world, and even weirder that it suggests a long gone and hope ridden era – which was the 1960’s?

Can’t tell you what the ideal is, but it sure ain’t the walls of mirror glass which fly up toward the sky, for me at least.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 17, 2013 at 8:30 am

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