Driving About Architecture

I’m mentioned in a New York Times article today, thanks to some consulting work I’m doing on the next edition of The AIA Guide To New York City, a book I own four copies of, one of each edition.

A friend of mine and musician in the local roots scene, Fran Leadon, is co-authoring the guide with Norval White, one of the deans of NYC architecture. I built them the content management system they’re using to work on the text and the many accompanying photographs (You can read a bit more about that on my web site) and a few weeks ago I volunteered to drive the two of them around Brooklyn to see all the new buildings.

It was a testament on many levels to why I love New York City. Norval has an astounding memory, with a historical anecdote about almost any block in New York (at one point he took us a few blocks out of our way in Crown Heights to see a lovely little church tucked away on what seemed like just another residential block), and seeing the city with him is to see it entirely differently.

Beyond that, New York City makes for wonderful random connections, like meeting a world-famous architect by virtue of the fact that I play bluegrass with a guy who is an architecture professor, and I love it. Fran and I have actually been in the Times before, but via music rather than architecture. I guess it’s a twist on the old cliché: talking about architecture can come from playing music.

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5 Responses to Driving About Architecture

  1. Beyond that, New York City makes for wonderful random connections, like meeting a world-famous architect by virtue of the fact that I play bluegrass with a guy who is an architecture professor, and I love it.

    This. Yes. Years ago I saw a snip from an interview with Sting wherein he compared New York to a medieval city insofar that “everyone’s all living on top of each other and so all sorts of creative cross-connections happen.”

  2. trishalynn says:

    That’s fantastic news.

    “That’s a really good cornice,” Mr. White announced as they passed an old warehouse and Mr. Ficara, to the accompaniment of much honking, made the first of a series of highly questionable left turns

    Of Mr. Ficara’s navigational skills as they threaded through a series of tunnels en route to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway? “One false move,” Mr. Leadon warned ominously, “and we’ll be in Battery Park.”

    Good for a genuine chuckle and actual “laugh out loud” moment.

    What did Messrs. White and Leadon think of all that was going on in West Chelsea? I’m interested because my boss has the exclusive on one of the upcoming residential buildings near the High Line.

    • ken says:

      I don’t know — we spent the day entirely in Brooklyn and I haven’t talked at all with either of them about that specific area. But I’m sure they’ll have a lot to say in the Guide when it comes out next year! 🙂

  3. I really like that picture of them that leads off the story too.

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