Oculus - Fall 2013 - (Page 51)

last words LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR he gilded statue of Civic Fame by sculptor Adolph Weinman, standing 25 feet tall, was installed in 1913 atop the Municipal Building, then nearing completion at the foot of Chambers Street. John Purroy Mitchel, the Fusion nominee, had just been elected mayor, defeating the Democrat, Edward E. McCall, and three others, including the Socialist Charles Edward Russell. Only 35 years old, the “Boy Mayor” garnered 57.1% of the 627,017 votes cast. The previous mayor was William Jay Gaynor, a Democrat who had won in 1909 with only 42.1% of the vote. Mayor Gaynor survived being shot in the throat by a disappointed job-seeker in 1910, but died of his injuries in September of 1913. Mitchel’s mayoralty created the nation’s first zoning ordinance, mandating skyscraper setbacks. Similar issues face this century’s mayor-to-be, including the need to better integrate codes, zoning, and energy policy. Sam Roberts has described other similarities between 1913 and 2013 in his New York Times blog, City Room. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has highlighted the need for reforming immigration policy and gun control. Mayor Mitchel’s grandfather, Juan Bautista Purroy, had moved to the U.S. from Venezuela, and his paternal great-grandfather was a staunch Irish Nationalist patriot. Three of Mitchel’s uncles died in the Civil War, and his predecessor was the only NYC mayor to be assassinated. Reform politics vs. dependence on more traditional getting-out-the-vote was of the moment. The worldwide posture of the United States had helped determine the presidential election the year before, with Theodore Roosevelt, an ardent interventionist, losing to Woodrow Wilson. Global concerns were on the lips of politicians, pundits, and songsters a century ago. Irving Berlin’s big hit that year was “The International Rag,” which contained the lines: “What did you do, America? / They’re after you, America / You got excited and you started something / Nations jumping all around.” That this was about ragtime music, and not the president’s newly declared Wilson Doctrine of not taking military action against any other nation, was part of the ragging. The year 1913 has been described as a watershed and turning point, both politically and artistically. A war looming abroad joined with the excitement of the Armory Show here; the opening of the Panama Canal was matched by the dedication of the Woolworth Building and Grand Central Terminal. But despite the achievements, a sense of loss was pervasive. That year Irving Berlin also wrote “When I Lost You,” which was not necessarily about Mayor Gaynor’s demise: “I lost the sunshine and roses / I lost the heavens of blue / I lost the beautiful rainbow / I lost the morning dew.” For the last 12 years we have been privileged to have a mayor who understands the power of architecture to change our city, and is leaving it better than it was when he took office. His administration, commissioners, and initiatives have been extraordinary and exemplary. Banning smoking, transforming our waterfront, combating obesity, creating a city easier to navigate – he has done so much. AIANY’s “A Platform for the Future of the City” recognizes Mayor Bloomberg’s achievements and challenges the next mayor to give architecture, planning, and urban design priority in the new administration. Design matters. It transforms our neighborhoods, attracts and retains those who make our city their home, and makes us globally competitive. The case for the ideas in the platform – such as affordable housing and resilience in the face of our estuarine vulnerability – starts with an understanding of our city’s history. This election is as pivotal as that of a century ago. The new mayor has tough decisions to make; AIA New York can help. ©Rob Pirani T Bell helping out at a Help Point in the City Hall subway station. In Search of Last Time But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, still, alone, more fragile, but with more vitality, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time… —from Du côté de chez Swann, Marcel Proust, 1913 When after passing a defile one has reached an eminence where the ways part and where the view opens out broadly in different directions, it is permissible to stop for a moment and to consider where one is to turn next. —from The Interpretation of Dreams, Sigmund Freud, 1913 Don’t know if I’m right or wrong, I can’t help just what I say, Your love makes me speak this way. Why, oh! why should I feel blue, Once I used to laugh at you, But now I’m crying, No use denying, There’s no one else but you will do, You made me love you, I didn’t want to do it I didn’t want to do it… —from “You Made Me Love You,” James V. Monaco & Joe McCarthy, 1913 Rick Bell, FAIA Executive Director, AIA New York Chapter Politics = Architecture Fall 2013 Oculus 51

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Fall 2013

Letter from the President
A Word from the Editor
Op-Ed
Center for Architecture
One Block Over
Opener: The City More Beautiful
Affordable Housing in 2013: Communities, Not Containers
Riverfront Redesigned
The Future of Prefab
From Ports to Parks: New York’s Waterfront Wager
East River Magic
Shoring Up for the Future
FAR ROC Rocks!
Yard Work
In Print
132-Year Watch
Last Words
Index to Advertisers

Oculus - Fall 2013

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