Quotes from “Skylines” pages 75-105

  • “The ambivalence underscoring these crepuscular Flatiron scenes, where the skyscraper is a source of both inspiration and anxiety, leads to a far more conflicted vision of vertical New York in Coburn’s The House of a Thousand Windows (1912)” (Lindner 75-76).
  • “…this equation of skyscrapers with capitalism…” (Lindner 76).
  • “Coburn’s presentation of the mundane, functional office tower as a site of vertigo, spatial incarceration, and relentless conformity serves to critique both the reifying influence of modern business on architectural design and the growing insignificance of humanity within the urban and corporate systems” (Lindner 76-77).
  • “…employ the panoramic perspective offered by the cityscape view… which effectively replicates the distancing, estranging effects of the aerial view from a horizontal rather than a vertical orientation, the skyscraper does not emerge in isolation but, instead figures as an integral part of the urban landscape and the wider spectacle of the modern city” (Lindner 78-79).
  • “…film helped to popularize skyscraper in the public mind at a crucial early stage in their development” (Lindner 79).
  • “… the double inflection of the skyscraper in Ferriss’s work as a symbol of both rationality and transcendence” (Linder 87).
  • “The problem with vertical New York, in other words, is that it does not take the rationalizing project inherent in the construction of skyscrapers far enough” (Lindner 89).
  • “…these extreme examples speak to the wider urban contexts and underlying structural conditions within which the modernist approach to urban planning and design has evolved over time, and from which many of the problems associated with high-rise living flow” (Lindner 97).
  • “Lifescape marks a significant effort to reclaim and reimagine a derelict landscape that is connected in both material and symbolic ways to the lived space of the city” (Lindner 98).
  • “Lifescape works simultaneously to reveal and conceal the mutability of urban landscape, attesting not only to the extraordinary versatility of urban space but also to the imaginative ways in which- responding to an experience of collective trauma- such space can be recycled, renewed, and remade in the era of “21st century green, global connectedness”” (Lindner 98).
  • “Fresh Kills represents a poignant reminder of the material excesses of the global metropolitan condition” (Lindner 99).
  • “…the 9/11 earthwork monument is a critical element of the park’s design, a symbolic centerpiece that will play a key role in the project’s potential to rejuvenate the body and soul of New York in the face of urban decay and postdisaster recovery” (Lindner 100).

Work Cited

Lindner, Christoph. Imagining New York City: Literature, Urbanism, and the Visual Arts, 1890-1940. Print.

Quotes from “Skylines” pages 40-75

  • “…the New York skyline not only predates the city itself but also grows out of a much earlier encounter with the site’s natural landscape” (Lindner 41).
  • “…in the era of high capitalism, the writer needs the city” (Lindner 44).
  • “…once New York turns vertical, the experience of wonder and estrangement already evident in the prevertical narratives of Trollope and Thoreau becomes significantly accentuated in literary and other artistic representations of the skyline” (Lindner 44).
  • “Vidler calls this… the “architectural uncanny” and defines it as an aesthetic mode of estrangement endemic to capitalist modernity and closely linked to the spatial formations and social experiences of the city” (Lindner 46).
  • “As Adams describes it, the skyline comes uncannily alive in the imagination of the observer, creating powerful feelings of awe, hysteria, and confusion, and also generating uneasy visions of movement, violence and eruption” (Lindner 47).
  • “… the soaring verticals of the city function primarily as symbols of corporate capital, and this symbolism is one source of their shared anxiety about the skyrocketing development of the city” (Linder 52).
  • “…the New York skyline also functions in a slightly different way as a powerful symbol of social opportunity, albeit a frequently problematic one” (Lindner 52-53).
  • “Libeskind presents the skyline as a space of liberation and renewal” (Lindner 53).
  • “…he also sees its [the skyscraper’s] presence on the skyline as a reassertion of the American spirit of liberty” (Lindner 55).
  • “…his statement almost completely elides the sinuous and contentious history of “freedom” as a concept in multicultural America, including immigrant New York” (Lindner 55).
  • “The trope of New York as a “gateway” to America has been a recurring metaphor for the city ever since its colonial beginnings” (Lindner 60).
  • “…the skyline functions as a false icon of opportunity. It seduces the unsuspecting victim into a life of economic hardship and social inequality- into the very condition of urban alienation that Johnson goes on to write about so powerfully in Black Manhatten (1930)” (Lindner 60).
  • “Dreiser’s urban dreamscape reminds us that New York is not just a physical place; it is also a state of mind” (Lindern 62).
  • “New York’s literary imagination is similarly dominated by a profound ambivalence toward the city’s first great moment of verticality” (Linder 63).
  • “…this tension arises out of an anxiety over the rapid pace of capitalist urbanization and, in particular, the consequent explosion of unfamiliar and ungainly urban sites… the tension is created by the skyline’s power to enchant and mislead the immigrant and migrant gaze… the tension derives from the gap between the elusive city of the imagination and the lived city of everyday life” (Lindner 63).
  • “It remains caught between motion and stasis, between absence and presence, between old and new New York, and- to interject the terms of my own broader argument- between the sublime and the uncanny” (Lindner 69).
  • “… it is precisely as a symbol of an emerging modern culture of “time and space”- and a new America still in the making- that Stieglitz sees and presents this early New York skyscraper” (Lindner 70).
  • “…the extent to which the ephemeral cultural significance of skyscrapers is tied into competitive questions of size” (Linder 71).
  • “…the city remains caught in an even more accentuated and indeterminate way between motion and stasis, presence and absence, old and new” (Lindner 75).

Work Cited

Lindner, Christoph. Imagining New York City: Literature, Urbanism, and the Visual Arts, 1890-1940. Print.

Quotes from “Skylines” pages 20-40

  • “Seen from above, the city is thus laid bare- revealed and exposed- to the prying curiosity of the urban gaze” (Lindner 20).
  • “Manhattan’s two principal clusters of skyscrapers… appear as “waves of verticals”… the sense of motion is simultaneously countered by an effect of immobilization” (Lindner 21).
  • “…supersolid, supervisible, superlocated buildings stood as a figure for the dematerialized, invisible, placeless market” (Lindner 23).
  • “Manhattan has one of the most visually compelling and symbolically charged skylines in the world today” (Lindner 24).
  • “…graphic and enduring visions of the city as a sprawling urban text that mesmerizes and inspires yet also agitates and disturbs. In short, my argument is that, since the rise of the modern skyscraper, Manhattan has always been caught somewhere between the sublime and the uncanny” (Lindner 25).
  • “…the “convulsions of urbanization” that culminated in New York’s vertical architecture… in the second half of the nineteenth century, before reaching their highest intensity between 1890 and 1940… this period of rapid growth and development…” (Lindner 26).
  • “…these skyscrapers registered in visible and indelible ways the influence of the zoning envelope formula on architectural design, generating an aesthetic and geometric homogeneity…” (Lindner 35).
  • “…New York’s verticals tend to produce extreme and often paradoxical responses…” (Lindner 40).
  • “the invention of the modern skyline has left similarly deep and troubled imprints across a wide range of cultural production, including literature, visual art, film, and urban architecture and design” (Lindner 40).

Work Cited

Lindner, Christoph. Imagining New York City: Literature, Urbanism, and the Visual Arts, 1890-1940. Print.

Reflections on “The Great White Way”

William Pope’s performance art called “The Great White Way” is a unique, monumental piece that critiques the attitude of the general population to the homeless in New York City. This piece, though it is not explicitly stated, is a form of political protest. In fact, most of Pope’s pieces seem to be examples of political protest. When I first read the article about Pope’s crawl along Broadway, I was struck by the message he was sending. The way the Pope portrayed himself in the crawl, by wearing a superman suit and a skateboard strapped to his back. along with the fact that he was crawling, makes him look (in my mind) like a crazy homeless person. However, people are more likely to notice and remember him because of the absurdity of his costume, as well as the fact that he has a camera man following him. This relates to our topic of the sidewalk as a place to be seen. By making a spectacle of himself Pope makes the people who see him reflect even more on the nature of homelessness and how they react to it.

Quotes from “Sidewalks” pages 171-190

  • “…the High Line belongs to a broader, international trend in the twenty-first-century landscape urbanism, in which abandoned, postindustrial wastelands are creatively reoccupied and remade into ecofriendly public spaces (Lindner 171).
  • “… the park’s design and operations consciously seek to activate cultural memory and draw on the city’s industrial heritage, but in doing so to recast that memory and heritage into an elaborate, forward-looking experiment with community activism, public art, urban design, and cultural programming (Lindner 173).
  • “This juxtaposition of the site’s postindustrial history of abandonment with its present-day condition of revival and reoccupation delivers a poignant, visual reminder of the park’s status as a transformed and revived urban ruin” (Linder 173).
  • “…the park offers a slow encounter with the surrounding urban landscape” (Lindner 174).
  • “…keeps visitors close to the street, immersed in the city, yet released from the everyday” (Lindner 175).
  • “…the aim remains to disrupt the street by relocating its sidewalk practices to a decelerated space of urban mobility…” (Lindner 177).
  • “…projects like the Promenade Plantee, the High Line, QueensWay, and the lowline demonstrate the intricate spatial, historical, and cultural relationships that exist between transport spaces and sidewalk practices in cities…” (Lindner 177).
  • “…the subway was seen as a progenitor of the city’s future…” (Lindner 181).
  • “…the subway system connected the city geographically by linking its many neighborhoods…” (Linder 181).
  • “…certain neighborhoods have remained controversially cut off from subway access from the beginning… reflecting the uneven geographic development of the system” (Lindner 182).
  • “…the subway moves independently of the grid… Yet… where the subway resurfaces… correspond to coordinates on the grid” (Lindner 182-183).
  • “The absence of external coordinates further contributes to a sense of spatial disorientation…” (Lindner 183).
  • “…the novelty of the technology… attracted intense public interest and generated new urban scenes, perspectives, and aesthetic possibilities that visual artists were quick to recognize…” (Lindner 184).
  • “…the subway has always been a source of ambivalence in the public and artist imaginations” (Linder 189).

Work Cited

Lindner, Christoph. Imagining New York City: Literature, Urbanism, and the Visual Arts, 1890-1940. Print.

Reflections on “A Small Place”

Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place is about Antigua, a small country in the Caribbean. Kincaid, who is from Antigua, chronicles the effects of tourism, imperialism and slavery on the current day lifestyle and government structure of the country. When I started reading this, I was reminded of the article “The Mindful Traveler.” We really don’t see the effects that our travel has on the lives of the native peoples of a country. This book was an excellent example of just one of the ways that tourism and imperialism has effected natives of Antigua. From the westernization of Antigua (in some parts of the country, and only when it benefits the government, like when the roads were repaved when the Queen of England visited) to the lack of resources set aside to fix problems made after the earthquake in 1973, Antigua was changed forever because of imperialism, tourism and slavery.

Quotes from “Sidewalks” pages 138-165

  • “The modern city is overwhelming and relentless in its assault on the senses and the blasé attitude, which is characterized by a posture of disinterest, serves as a form of protection against the mental invasions of the city…” (Lindner 138).
  • “…much critical thinking and creative practice in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is geared toward the more affluent, spectacular dimensions of street life, where flanerie, conspicuous consumption, blasé attitudes, and related behaviors all flourished” (Lindner 145).
  • “Instead, the trend in modern Manhattan was an entrenchment of inner-city poverty, rather than a displacement of that poverty to (and beyond) the geographic margins of the city…” (Lindner 146).
  • “…the motif of the sidewalk continues to yield portraits of a street culture dominated by speed, movement, and dislocation- except that now those conditions are produced by poverty rather than the forms of wealth that drive conspicuous consumption or flanerie” (Lindner 149).
  • “In Crane’s writing, the sidewalk remains a space of sociality and encounter, but one that produces conflict and violence rather than dialogue and resolution… the relationship between sidewalks, safety, and urban fear” (Lindner 153).
  • “…the ways in which people experience a city’s sidewalks largely determine how they perceive and feel about the city itself” (Lindner 154).
  • “…the publication of How the Other Half Lives was therefore intended to generate sympathy for the city’s downtrodden under class and to spark outrage at their treatment and exploitation…” (Linder 156).
  • “Although some of this work, as Gandal argues, was “expressly challenging traditional moral descriptions as well as moralistic analyses that attributed poverty to individual vice,” it nonetheless participated in the spectacle of the slum by rendering it in terms of a sensational, surveilled other” (Lindner  161).
  • “…the subway as a contradictory space of community and connection as well as disorientation and estrangement” (Lindner 163).
  • “…the subway as a space that simultaneously brings people together and keeps them apart” (Lindner 164).
  • “…a scene of urban mobility and a portrait of urban stillness” (Lindner 165).
  • “…the egalitarian potential of the subway as a space designed around openness and accessibility…” (Lindner 165).

Work Cited

Lindner, Christoph. Imagining New York City: Literature, Urbanism, and the Visual Arts, 1890-1940. Print.

Reflections on “Call it Sleep” by Henry Roth

In Call it Sleep, Henry Roth tells the story of a young immigrant child named Daniel, who comes with his mother to New York City. However, it is not the story of the child which is the truly amazing part of this piece. Rather,  what is amazing is that Roth manages to convey the dialect of many different cultures through the dialogue. This allows the viewer to almost hear the different immigrant communities in New York City and get a more in depth look at their lives. Furthermore, Roth’s decision to intersperse bits of conversations with other conversations seems to embody the fast-moving, crowded pace of New York City. This is seen when there is a conversation going on in a bar that is interspersed with dialogue on the street outside the bar. The dialogue is so mixed together that there are times when it is difficult to tell who is speaking and what snippets of conversation go together. This piece is a fantastic example of how literature can be used to embody the mood of a place.

Reflections on “How to Walk in New York,” “Lee Friedlander Captures the City’s Hustle and Flow” and “The Geographically Impossible West Village”

I have heard the New York City streets described as a grid so many times. Upon hearing this description, the first thing that comes to mind is that the New York sidewalks and streets are orderly. However, looking at the streets, I know that this is not true. The sidewalks and streets are a mess. When walking around the streets, you have to constantly be on your toes, looking out for where you are and who is around you. The streets and sidewalks certainly seem like a rush of movement that is impossible to capture. (Certainly, this is makes Lee Friedlander’s ability to capture the motion of the streets even more impressive.)

The process described in “How to Walk in New York,” by Steve Duenes, and the description of Lee Friedlander’s paintings is a familiar one. People rushing to their final destinations, walking quickly, keeping to themselves is the rhythm of the streets. To be truly successful in navigating the streets without looking like an outsider, one must find this rhythm. While it is easy to navigate New York City, there are some spaces where changes to the road can throw off a street-walker entirely, as is described in ” The Geographically Impossible West Village” by Cristoph Neiman.

The way that these authors describe walking the streets of New York makes it sound as if there is some sort of art to it. Certainly, the way that the authors have written about this subject is an art in and of itself. And I suppose there is, in a sort of untraditional way.  Walking in New York City is unlike walking in any other city in the world. During the trip to New York, it might be interesting to not just look at the art we see on the streets, but also the art that has been created with the streets, sidewalks and walkers themselves.

Quotes from “Sidewalks” pages 107-132

  • “…It’s [New York City’s] architecture and spatial organization have been dominated historically by an “essentially horizontal perception of the urban form” that endured well into the nineteenth century” (Lindner 109).
  • “…the rise of vertical New York in the late nineteenth century occurred in the context of an urban environment originally intended for horizontality” (Lindner 109).
  • “First, it identifies sidewalks … as complex, active sites of social expression, exchange, and experiment capable of creating and sustaining urban communities” (Lindner 110).
  • “…the sidewalk is a site of conflict and negotiation…” (Lindner 111).
  • “…ritualized leisure strolling acquired heightened significance and visibility with the arrival of the boulevard” (Lindner 112).
  • Street-walking… became a popular practice through which individuals… could both observe and participate in the spectacle of the city” (Lindner 112).
  • “…one of the most significant social functions of the sidewalk- namely, its function as a staging space where individual identities, and their component parts such as gender, sexuality, race, class and ethnicity, can be publicly expressed, tested, and explored” (Lindner 113).
  • “… a space of efficient public transportation… The pedestrian’s unobstructed mobility became the justification that underlay other activity restrictions… particularly for many of New York’s poorer residents and newly arrived immigrants” (Lindner 114).
  • “Other major U.S cities… treated their sidewalks as hybrid spaces of sociality and mobility…” (Lindner 115).
  • “This distinctiveness is connected to the impact of New York’s cultural and ethnic heterogeneity on the city’s street life, and, even more importantly, to the prominence of that street life in cultural production…” (Lindner 115).
  • “A common feature… is the prioritizing of a precisely formulated geometric design… an emblem of modernity” (Lindner 117).
  • …city grids… directly affect the organization, development, and experience of cities in profound, lasting, and inescapable ways” (Lindner 117).
  • “…the city itself has a long, complex history of repeated foundation, formation and renaming…” (Lindner 118).
  • “The grid effect… produces a dynamic and evolving space…” (Linder 119).
  • “Mondrian’s grids… explore the relation between surface and depth, fluctuating between visual effects of flatness and layering” (Lindner 121).
  • “The New York grid… was a contributing factor in the emergence of high-rise ghettos…” (Lindner 122).

Work Cited

Lindner, Christoph. Imagining New York City: Literature, Urbanism, and the Visual Arts, 1890-1940. Print.