16 May 2010

The Backs of Buildings

I was passing by an empty lot on Third Avenue in Midtown the other day. A large building, or block of buildings, had been torn down. Whatever is supposed to go up here hasn't begun being built yet, so we're lert with this view of the backs of several other older, smaller buildings on the street to the north.

The tall, tiered building with the exhaust and drainage pipes snaking down it is particularly fun. You wouldn't see that kind of construction day. So quirky. Ugly, yet in an interesting way.

The fire escapes on this squat, brick structure created a wonderful pattern of lines and angles. The graffiti actually improves the picture, adding a little colorful chaos to the geometry.

This one sort of looks like a patchwork quilt. You have to wonder how it got that way.

I guess what mainly struck me about these rear facades was that I knew instinctively that the backs of these buildings were more interesting looking that would be the front of whatever glass tower that will eventually block them from view again. Old Manhattan inside out has more character than anything new Manhattan has to offer.


tr said...

Just last week I was downtown and noticed a similar and temporary view of the Woolworth building.


Craziest Gadgets Jeff said...

with all the shoddy new construction around, i would expect to see many more cheap fixes like giant drainpipes and non-matching replacement bricks in the future.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

The drainpipes are a cheap fix that seem to have lasted decades. I doubt the new cheap fixes will last as long.

Anonymous said...

This was the site of the YWCA, at 53rd Street and Lexington Avenue, which was torn down for a new building, which fell through when the economy went south. Site now surrounded by a chain link fence.

—Andrew Porter