02 November 2009

Progress = Crap

A view on W. 45th Street provides a pungent illustration of what progress commonly means in this City: lousier and uglier construction work.

Some time ago a strip of small bars and restaurants was torn down on the block between Broadway and Eighth. This was in preparation of a new hotel being built. But the recession killed the hotel project and now there's just an empty lot there. The lot provides a clear view of three old brick buildings along the east side of Eighth Avenue between 45th and 46th.

Let's take a look, shall we? All three buildings were made of brick and stand only four stories tall. Not beautiful, but presentable. But at some point in the recent past, the businesses in the ground floors decided they needed more room and chose to build out in the back. And what material did they use in all three cases? Cinder blocks: the preferred building blocks of cheap and easy Crapitecture. Not even painted, either, and, judging by this picture, not laid together very well.

I know, I know, the expansions are in the back and no one was ever expected to see them. So who cares, right? Well, I think if you take an interest in what you build, and want to have a little pride in it, you'll make a good job of it, even if the only people to ever see it are you and maybe the garbageman.


Jeff said...

if these were built to the lot line and there was a building abutting them, it's possible that even the workers building it had never seen the backside of their work.

sparky said...

interesting point, but i suspect that if block had been around when those buildings were first erected it might have been used then, as well. as you know, people complained about brownstone fronts all the time in the 1800s.

but you are right that it's an unfortunate side effect of cheaper building materials.