The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

damnable expressiveness

with 3 comments


– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sunday the 21st, I was supposed to go the City and take a ride on a Fireboat. Unfortunately, said Fireboat snapped a cable leading to the rudder and the trip was cancelled.

Given that I was in the high West 20’s, I decided to take a longish walk around the Hudson Yards development before heading back home to Astoria via the 7 train.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson Yards is an abomination. Everybody associated with the planning and design of this project deserves to go to hell. I’ll give the construction workers a pass, as they just do what their told.

I’ve often described Hudson Yards as looking like the debris of a space station which broke up in orbit and randomly embedded itself in the ground during a crash landing on the west side of Manhattan. Inelegantly designed mirror box rhombuses, these structures blot out the sky and cry out “look at my valuation.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson Yards is an abomination, as the project diverted moneys meant for public housing away from their intended target and towards itself with the complicit approval of City Hall and the Dept. of City Planning. $1.2 Billion of it. One point two billion dollars.

Saying that they improved the area with the money meant for the projects, the Hudson Yards team at The Related Companies convey and virtue signal their largesse. Yes, compared to the abandoned buildings and gangs of drug dealers and hookers which used to populate the area between 8th Avenue and the West Side Highway in the 20’s and 30’s, they’ve improved things.

Like the Romans would when declaring a victory.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

These vampires also created a street scape which is unwelcoming and cold.

This isn’t New York. This is what people from Atlanta, or Los Angeles, or Disneyworld think New York is. Public space here isn’t truly public, it’s privately held and that means that they can set the rules for the sidewalks. They have the right to impinge your speech, tell you to move on after sitting there too long, and set behavioral rules barring otherwise noisome but legal habits like smoking or break dancing or sleeping on a park bench. Your NYC streets are officially now their Hudson Yards development zone public/private partnership streets. Technically speaking, I’m not allowed to publish the photos you’re looking at of these buildings without first getting their permission, as it violates their copyright.

Want to know what form fascism will take in a blue state?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While scuttling about Hudson Yards, I found a long staircase leading up to a skyway walk. Roughly three stories, I’d venture. Connected to a Whole Foods outpost and a series of coffee shops and boutiques, this walkway continues on to one of their encapsulated malls through a glassine maze. These mall spaces are not part of the street grid, and are set up in a manner that divorces you from geospatial awareness of the surrounding area – which just happens to be Hells Kitchen.

These buildings, and this entire project, are built around the “super block” concepts underlying the debauched intellectual legacies of the French Cryptofascist Le Corbusier. Adherents to Le Corbusier’s ideas included Robert Moses, and if you’ve ever wondered how and why what happened to the Bronx happened, it was Le Corbusier as channeled by Moses and his apparatus.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson Yards is sterilized, but not stylized. It’s anonymous, reducing the citizenry down to stock art cutouts existing on some architectural rendering. It separates the social classes from interaction, except as clerk and customer. It eliminates the messy exigency of life on the New York streets. It’s inhuman in scale, like Speer’s designs for post WW2 Nazi Berlin, but there’s no pageantry on offer.

Hudson Yards is an abomination.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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Written by Mitch Waxman

September 21, 2022 at 11:00 am

3 Responses

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  1. You hit the nail on the head. Hudson Yards, at its pre-pandemic best, was just a tourist destination. Deliberately divorced from city life. The High Line skirts it, looking like an uninvited guest. You’d see Europeans with money shopping. American tourists looking bewildered. Count me among the latter. Lines of people waiting to climb that hideous “vessel” thing. Reminds me of the recently built Vegas hotels: metallic interiors both rusty and shiny, harsh lines, cold and dark spaces. Modern brutalism. In fairness, it seems this “look” has some attraction for millennials. Go figure.


    September 21, 2022 at 12:25 pm

  2. If you’re standing on a public street, you can photograph everything. You’re not violating any “copyright”. I believe even if you are in a private space and you photograph someone/thing, you’re the copyright holder. You push the shutter, the copyright is yours. Unless you’ve signed some kind of contract stating otherwise. If it ain’t in writing, it ain’t.

  3. Thank you for opening my eyes to Le Corbusier.


    September 21, 2022 at 8:21 pm

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