It’s one thing to see a lost building rise again in front of your eyes. It’s another to feel emotion for a building many have only seen in photographs. The new off-Broadway play The Eternal Space, which premiered this past weekend at The Lion Theatre on 42nd Street, does both. A long labor of love by Justin Rivers, who wrote and produced the show, The Eternal Space, is a story of two unlikely souls who meet as the demolition of the original Pennsylvania Station begins in October 1963.
Last week, a new gallery, Happy Lucky No. 1 opened on Nostrand Avenue in Crown Heights – on a stretch becoming increasingly peppered with new coffee shops, bars and businesses. The new space, designed by Honest Buildings, is both gallery and event space, with a green wall and green roof. The first exhibit, Topography is Fate, with images by New York City-based photographer Matthew Arnold, is even more timely now given the recent current events. Arnold’s beautiful large-format photographs belie a darker history – 70 years ago this North African landscape was the scene of carnage during World War II.
The line started near 63 Fifth Avenue and snaked east around 14th Street as far as the eye could see. The miserable souls at the end were rightly panicking that they wouldn’t get in. A passerby wanted to know: Was there a rock star in town? No, a tall man in well-designed glasses stopped to explain. “A starchitect.”
“A what?” And then after a short explanation, an incredulous follow-up: “An architect is causing this kind of line?”
Yes, and not just any starchitect, the masses were here to have a live encounter with perhaps the greatest living starchitect of them all, Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Frank Gehry.
An attractive set of early 1900s houses on University Avenue in the Bronx is a legacy of a partnership between New York University and a police officer turned developer. Ironically, the houses have outlasted NYU’s presence in the borough.
Billy Bergen was a cop in the University Heights section of the Bronx as the nineteenth century turned into the twentieth. As he walked his beat, he saw many undeveloped properties. But he also recognized that the hilly area was ripe for development. NYU had established a new campus there in the 1890s and soon transportation improvements would greatly improve the area’s accessibility.
1 World Trade Center via EarthCam
Here at Untapped Cities, we have strong ties to both New York City and Paris. As the founder of Untapped Cities, I was born in New York but lived in Paris in 2010, and my husband Augustin Pasquet, who manages partnerships and advertising for Untapped Cities, moved to New York City from Paris in 2012. Many of our contributors live in Paris and for many years we ran a subsite, Untapped Paris as well. This year, part of our team spent all of April and May living and working in Paris, and a large portion of August.
There is a kinship between New York City and Paris – so different physically, even culturally, but similar in spirit. When I was married, I thought long and hard about whether to change my last name. In the end, I kept both, and I’m glad because today I also feel French. It is with sadness that I see what people are willing to do to the places that so many call home, places that have such rich history and culture, whether New York City or Paris, or elsewhere. But we cannot succumb to fear. Cities like New York City and Paris must continue to be melting pots, to welcome the world to its doorsteps and to invite them in – porte ouverte.
Queens Midtown Tunnel. Image via Curbed NY
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