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The apple of my eye

“You know, you’re really good. I mean, you’re like, a hundred thousand times better than like any apple I’ve ever had. I’m not Superman, I’m Supertramp and you’re super apple. You’re so tasty, you’re so organic, so natural. You are the apple of my eye, ha!” – Christopher McCandless

THE BIG APPLE! This name for New York derived from horse racing. Horses were rewarded with an apple if they won and being that New York was at the time, for the race followers and Jockeys alike, the biggest race of the year it was therefore the… ‘Big Apple’.

The above quote has nothing to do with NYC, other than the apple link, but when I think of this scene – one of my favourites from the movie Into the Wild – I can’t help but now see me in Christopher’s place holding the apple readying myself for the first bite… my first taste. I can’t help but replace the apple with New York. I can’t help but see New York as my reward… my prize for my efforts through the huge ‘race’ I have now won… now completed. A race based around Architecture and so what better reward than a city shaped by its peoples needs through the use of Architecture?

I am counting down the days until I am tramping through the Big Apple. Through NYC! A place which has changed the world around us for so many reasons many are completely unaware of. What would the world be if NYC didn’t attract so many? So many that it was filled to its limits with the only way left to go being up? This need produced the elevator. What would the world be, what would our cities be like today if not for the elevator? The elevator allowed us to go up. It took the pent house from the ground floor – where its occupants didn’t have to climb stairs – to the top floor with the view. In turn bringing the less previledged down to the cities streets.

Then when NYC went up and filled its limits again the next option was out, but how can people get to work – to the heart of NYC – efficiently if they are pushed out? So, next came the highway. The link which eventually drove (a suitable word) the Moses of Architecture – Robert Moses – to promote the motor vehicle.

The motor vehicle became the escape for New Yorkers, hence Riverside Drive – a road which runs north along the Hudson river side – the west side – of Manhattan Island. Riverside drive winds along an area of NYC which is priceless now in terms of land value, but back in the 30’s this road was produced to create a scenic drive for the wealthy on weekends – in turn promoting the motor vehicle.

The motor vehicle was king and thanks to Moses it helped shape the city from its introduction to the present. When the roads and bridges became clogged Moses’s solution was to build more bridges and wider roads, but this in turn simply promoted car travel clogging the roads more & more. Hence why the current Mayor is now looking to place a tax on congestion in the aim to get the motor vehicle out of the city. Something more cities the world over should be doing. But, based on history no city can lead like NYC. If there is a solution to the motor vehicle it is there (NYC) where the problem will be solved.

NYC produced the first landscape Architects – the designers of Central Park (who began their career as Architects). Their design aided in the way we separate traffic to this day. The roundabout came from NYC. The Sky-scraper. Steel framed construction produced the tallest buildings of the day and helped bring USA out of the depression – due to the construction jobs it created (along with many other city projects of course).

Change occurs when change is required. When people are under pressure. And the solution is generally aided in someway by Architecture. The mother of all arts. The mother of all arts evolves people and people evolve her and no place acts as such an amazing catalyst for both parties then NYC… THE BIG APPLE!

It’s more than a yellow cab, its more than Lady Liberty, more than the lights camera action, and more than the steam which bellows from her depths. To me NYC is the apple of my eye. Maybe the addition of me will topple it to its next limit? Like a coin in one of those Arcade games waiting to help push its predecessors over the edge.

Categories: Blog
Posted by Brett Wawn on July 20, 2012
3 Comments Post a comment
  1. 07/20/2012
    Taryna Wawn

    I saw a doco once on the construction genius behind Central Park. You should see if there’s a tour that delves into this – you would love it.


  2. 07/20/2012
    Audrey Brown

    Enjoy every moment of your visit, and don’t get stiff neck from looking upwards at all of those skyscrapers.

  3. 07/20/2012

    Two good books on New York’s planning: “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” by Jane Jacobs and “The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York” by Robert A. Caro.


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