The journal Places has a long and fascinating essay by Belmont Freeman (a New York name for you!) called “Unfinished New York.” He is a columnist for Places and an architect in private practice in the city, no doubt a dyed-in-the-wool modernist. I disagree with just about every sentiment expressed in his article, but he raises important questions, narrowing down to the idea that New York is only New York because it keeps on changing. He takes issue with preservationists trying to slow down change – none are trying to stop it, certainly not as hard as I would. (I would reverse it.) He cites O. Henry’s line that New York will be “a great place if they ever finish it” – as a warning to preservationists who have grown too big for their britches.
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