Rail Yard

New York’s is a collision of infrastructure from past, present, and future. That’s a cliché by now, but I still enjoy experiencing it firsthand. Here are all three eras connected in one image:

  • The Past: Standing on the High Line, a park built on the remains of a freight rail line.
  • The Present: The subway rail yard.
  • The Future: The Hudson Yards construction site.

Rail Yard

Brick to Great Heights

Nearly every surface in this image is brick. From the alleyway to the retaining walls to the towers: brick, brick, brick (or pavers). I understand sheathing a structural steel building in glass or densglass or (heaven forbid) “exterior insulation finishing system,” a.k.a. Dryvit, but the kind of person-hours necessary to assemble all of that orderly brick is mind-boggling.

Brick to Great Heights

Stealthy Empire State Building

Can a building hide? Or surprise? Or sneak?

The Empire State Building, hiding at the other end of 34th St. in Manhattan, seems to support the possibility. The canonical modern New York street scene, one of luxury cars stuck in traffic and smoke from cooking street meat and old industrial buildings being converted into high-end condos, can still surprise. One step away is another scene built of different buildings and people in view.

Stealthy Empire State Building

Red, White, and Black at the New York International Auto Show

I’m not in the market for a hypercar (like the Bugatti Veyron below), nor a supercar, nor even really a car, at this particular moment. When friends and family heard that I had attended the New York International Auto Show last month, the response was often in the range of questions about what kind of car I planned to buy. I’m not planning on replacing the Mini just yet, I love the combination of graphic and industrial design on display at a show like this—not to mention the mix with civil and mechanical engineering. Cars have their costs and benefits, but it’s tough to wanter a place like the Javits Center and not feel a little bit of awe.

New York International Auto Show III

Porsche’s eternal and outwardly-unchanging 911 (like the R version here) is suprisingly subtle by the standards of similarly-performing vehicles, but it fit well into the classy setting of Porsche’s display: red and white matching perfectly.

New York International Auto Show I

Acura’s new NSX is a monster (in performance, engineering, and cost), and joins a category of hybrid hypercars that transform the environmental technology into a performance booster. Sure, the numbers are impressive, but the design just has so many creases and parts. Overdesigned?

New York International Auto Show II

The real star of the show (for me), however, was this humble Mazda MX-5 Miata. I might have some bias from owning a 1995 Miata in the past (in this same white paint/black top combination, even). This is a driver’s car for the masses. It’s light and fast and efficient. Shame about the trunk space…

New York International Auto Show IV