Karrie Jacobs


January 6, 2007

The False Spring

Arquitectonica westin.jpg

The thing that struck me as strange today, walking around Manhattan, was the quality of the light. Or rather, the light was perfectly normal; it was that harsh, low angled winter sunlight. It was the temperature that was all wrong. 70 degrees. Maybe warmer. The record for this date was 63, set in 1950 Normal is somewhere between 27 and 38. Not that I’m complaining. It was a pleasure to walk and walk, staring at goofy boys in shorts, their legs looking so very pale.

I started out at the International Center for Photography at 43rd and Sixth. I had to check out the Ecotopia exhibit because it’s closing tomorrow and wound up at the Canal St. A-train station. Along the way, I drifted over to Eighth Avenue to take a look at Renzo Piano’s New York Times headquarters nearing completion across the street from the Port Authority Bus Terminal. I can’t decide whether I like it or not. The detailing, like all the industrial looking hardware at the corners, is kind of cool.
Times HQ closeup.jpg

It made me wonder whether Renzo was inspired by the functionalist aesthetic of the bus terminal. You know, a little smarty-pants contextualism.
port authority.jpg
But the ceramic scrim that covers most of the facade, an eco-sensitive sunshade, gives the building a washed out quality. Maybe it’s just that harsh winter light or maybe this tower is destined to be known as the Gray Lady:

Times HQ sky.jpg