Saturday, January 2, 2010

What has been lost during Bloomy's reign (so far...)

Our friend Nathan Kensinger has an in-depth photo essay on how Bloomyberg's tenure has changed the skyline of NYC... here's an excerpt...:

With the loss of small businesses, the commercial landscape of New York re-oriented towards chain stores - with cookie-cutter exteriors - that could afford to pay exorbitant rents. By mid-decade, New York's commercial streetscape had become dominated by redundancy. A multitude of sterile bank branches opened, while chains like Duane Reade and Starbucks placed multiple store locations within a few blocks of each other, to monopolize neighborhoods. For the first time, big-box-stores were allowed to enter the city, like Home Depot in 2004 and Ikea in 2008, further endangering small businesses.

Read the whole thing here.

[Photo by Nathan Kensinger]


prodigal son said...

I think architecturally the last eight years really haven't been as bad as it could have been. All the really bad projects, such as the West Side boondoggle and the Freedom Tower fell through or got heavily modified. I'm still hoping the financing falls apart for Atlantic Yards. Yes, you had the spaceship buildings dotting the East Village/ LES, but some of the new buildings on the west side are pretty good, and except for the Time Warner Center (which I happen to like), they tend to be in places that are easy to avoid if you don't like them.

What I'm saying is that there is no noughts equivalent of the Pan Am Building, Madison Square Garden, or the brutalization of City College. We can also thank the Landmarks Law. The physical appearance of many neighborhoods that would have been altered for the worst without it during a real estate boom and a bad period in terms of architecture was left intact.

What changed is the people. In the central neighborhoods, the residents became less diverse, wealthier, stupider, and not good at picking up the various graces that allows a densely populated city to function. In other words, more suburban.

Since its easier to change people than buildings, the fact that relatively little damage was done to the architecture gets cause for hope. But its sort of like a neutron bomb went off and killed all the "characters" 70s and 80s New York was known for, while leaving the buildings intact.

hens said...

(Disclosure: I'm KiLiFAX's drummer.)

The band KiLiFAX has a lot of songs about how New York City is changing. You may want to check them out. Here's their very appropriate song, "Dump".

EV Grieve said...

Thanks, Hens.

And you played at Port 41? Didn't realize that they had live music...