A Sunny Morning in the Lower East Side

Originally posted on Bluestar2012's Photoblog:

DSC_8167-001DSC_8173-001Modernity, with people. I don’t recall the purpose of this building, but I’m not sure I care for the look. Maybe it does serve a function, other than looking like it is going to tip over?

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It’s My Xanadu! So There!

In Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn a homeowner is making his “dream home” everyone’s nightmare. Michael Tropp, a man with an overabundance of time, money and ego, is apparently building his own version of Xanadu…right into and over the backyards and driveways of adjacent properties.

Tropp began his building frenzy eight years ago when he connected two modest homes to form one modest mansion for himself. Since then, the construction has been nonstop with various improvements and additions, including a brick walkway (between two formerly separate houses) and a wooden-decked, above-ground swimming pool (of course, extending across his neighbor’s backyard).

“His back deck is sitting right above my fence,” said Susan Yellin, who lives behind Tropp on Oxford Street. Yellin added that Tropp even tore down her backyard’s fence to put up his own without permission.

“It’s as if no one can stop him,” said [Cy] Schoenfeld, whose backyard now faces Tropp’s construction site and a sign warning that he has the lot under 24-hour surveillance.

While Tropp’s “Manhattan Beach McMansion” (as it’s now referred to) is ever-growing, so are the fines imposed on him by the New York City Department of Buildings. He has currently racked up over $100,000 in fines for illegal construction and other violations; most of the fines remain unpaid while his expansionist activities go on unceasingly. In fact, even now that he’s facing possible criminal and civil actions, Tropp’s Xanadu remains an unrelenting work in progress.

(originally published: 02/05/11…but the fun continues.)

Up On The Roof

How to Create Your Own Rooftop Oasis

The cover of “Up on the Roof” by Alex MacLean (Princeton Architectural Press), which shows New York’s hidden skyline spaces.

Rooftops are the city’s equivalent of the suburban backyard — a place where apartment dwellers can go for cookouts and outdoor fun.

And residents are making the most of their space, turning them into oases with plants, grills and other things more often found in gardens. {read more}

The rooftop of 166 Bank Street, West Village, at the corner of West and Bank streets.

5 Pointz Aerosol Art Center, 45-46 Davis Street, Long Island City, Queens.

The Penny Lane, 215 East 24th Street, Gramercy Park, Kips Bay.

Brooklyn Grange, 37-18 Northern Boulevard, Long Island City, Queens. Brooklyn Grange is a commercial organic farm on New York City rooftops.

Source: DNA Info

Wedge-Shaped Jewel

The Flatiron Building is one of those architectural curiosities that has always attracted both admiration and disapproval. Unlike NYC’s newer, loftier skyscrapers (such as the Woolworth, Chrysler and, of course, Empire State buildings), the Flatiron appears somewhat quaint and rather droll. Even though an odd structure here and there  can be found in such cities as London or Paris, the Flatiron ranks among the most famous of structural oddities and, as a result, a popular target for controversy.

Completed in 1902, the Flatiron Building (originally called the Fuller Building, after George A. Fuller, who financed its construction) is situated on a triangularly shaped city block at 175 Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street in Manhattan. The building derives its name from the shape of this block and for its business: flatirons; the neighborhood itself is known as the Flatiron District.

Designed by Daniel Burnham, it was one of the first buildings to utilize a steel skeleton, crucial to support its height of 287 feet. Many people erroneously consider it the city’s oldest surviving skyscraper, whereas the Park Row Building is three years older and taller. During the building’s construction, many thought that it would topple over and critics soon  began calling it “Burnham’s Folly” due to its peculiar and precarious  shape. Others felt that it was a ludicrous sacrifice to form over function, artistry over safety, and would prove to be an utterly useless if novel conversation piece: the eccentric whims of its architect.

Reports, both real and fanciful, of strong and sudden currents of wind that would buffet the building and adjacent streets, lent credence to the widespread belief that the building would simply fall over or just as simply fall apart. The adjoining area, particularly 23rd Street, already possessing a somewhat shady reputation, began drawing hordes of “lusty young men” eager to view the bare legs of women when their skirts were blown upwards by the eddying wind (you know…I’m sorry I missed that one). Police would shout to these roues to disperse by shouting “23 Skidoo.” While this phrase is now obsolete, an offshoot expression was widely used throughout the last century in America: “scram!”

However, as the years passed, most New Yorkers came to accept, admire and (in various ways) love the wedged-shaped jewel erected in their midst.  As with the World Trade Center seventy years later, it merely assimilated itself into a city conducive to assimilation. While progressively larger and ambitiously taller buildings emerged around it, the Flatiron retained its quiet yet tough dignity…often out of sight but never out of mind in our modern age.

“Perhaps because it symbolizes so much of how New Yorkers see themselves — Defiant, bold, sophisticated, and interesting. With just enough embedded grime and soot to highlight its details. ” (Glass, Steel and Stone)

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GrayFoxDown:

James V. Lafferty just loved elephant-themed hotels. His companion piece, Lucy the Elephant, in Margate, NJ, is still extant as a curiosity if extinct as a hotel–see: http://www.lucytheelephant.org

Originally posted on Circa71:

paraxenos:  canadiansliveinigloos:  grieve-machine:  tarotwoman:  radioheartedkid:  readmorewikipedia:  The Coney Island Elephant was a hotel and brothel built in the shape of  an elephant, and located on Coney Island.In 1885, the Elephant Hotel,  also known as the Elephantine Colossus, was built by James V. Lafferty  and was 122 feet high with seven floors and had 31 rooms.The hotel  became associated with prostitution. This lead to the phrase “going to  see the elephant” being created, to mean going to see a prostitute. (three more pics)    How bizarre :/

The Coney Island Elephant was a hotel and brothel built in the shape of an elephant, and located on Coney Island. In 1885, the Elephant Hotel, also known as the Elephantine Colossus, was built by James V. Lafferty and was 122 feet high with seven floors and had 31 rooms.

The hotel became associated with prostitution. This lead to the phrase “going to see the elephant” being created, to mean going to see a prostitute. (threemorepics)

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