Urban Alchemy

by bronxelf

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These are random moments in the life of an indecent designer and the city she loves.

To read my grudging babblings about design, click the button.

And can we really measure
If we think we're any better
than that skyline that goes on and on
forever, on and on...."

- Less Than Jake: Is This Thing On?

Everybody in this world wants the same damned thing-
just not at the same time.

-Chris Orbach: Jane

I could be condemned to hell for every sin but littering."

- Soul Coughing: Idiot Kings

I am a female, carbon based lifeform.
I am a New York City Native.
I am a Design Professional.
I take photographs.
I also sculpt, paint, create mosaics, and play with weapons.

And sometimes, I even dance about Architecture.

What I see, is what you get.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

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Wall of blue.

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On the third floor of the Warner Center, one can find a very odd space. I'd call it a store, but nothing is actually for sale. It's a showcase for Samsung's products, whether you can actually buy them in the US or not. People are encouraged to interactively explore the showroom(and play with the products), designed by Imagination (USA), Inc.(linky)

To non designerly types the biggest draw is probably the free internet access given at all their terminals, and the ability to play a bunch of video games to your hearts content to test out their monitors. However for me, the draw is in the design of the space itself, which is very creative and manages to be both charming and creative at the same time.

One of my favorite design features are the two side walls, which are made up of large, vertical panels that change color in a wave pattern. I love that kind of wacky stuff.

Wheel me.

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I spent the night at Coney Island. Took about 300 photos, too.

This one though, was obviously taken with my cell. As seen a number of times on my moblog in the past, this is the one and only Coney Island Wonder Wheel.

The wheel has been in operation for 85 years, and has never had an accident. It's incredibly low-tech. Its operation is not computerized in any way. It works on basic physical principles using simple gears and cams.

The Wonder Wheel is unique. The inner ring of cars (blue and red, not like you can tell in this crap image) swing on tracks about 15 feet long. The white cars on the outer ring are stationary. They get a better and more stable view, but you don't get to swing out over the Zipper or Dante's Inferno (which used to be called the Hell Hole, back in the day.)

It was given Landmark status by the City of New York (NYCLC protection) in 1989.

Before I get comments from random people who may be bemoaning the new development project at Coney Island and continuing the rumor that "it's all being torn down after Labor Day", the Wonder Wheel (along with the Cyclone, Parachute Jump, Nathans Famous and the freak show ARE NOT slated for demolition. I know for certain that at least four of the five are protected by the NYCLC, and it's possible all five are covered by that protection (I'm not sure if the freak show is or not. I know for an absolute certainty the other four are.)

And yes, I did go on. I go on every year. (On a swinging car, if it matters.)

Onion rolls.

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I baked onion rolls tonight. When these photos were taken, they had just been removed from the oven. The recipe is here(linky) if anyone wants to try it, but be advised the measurements are imperial, not metric.

Onion rolls are a staple in NYC, though they usually look slightly different than mine, either like this(linky) or like this(linky). which are technically bialys. Though bagels may be more famous, onion rolls and bialys are just as ubiquitous.

Mine are kind of a cross between a roll and a bialy, and are made half and half with whole wheat and white flour. I appreciate the whole wheat's healthful qualities, but I often dislike the taste of straight whole wheat breads.

I grew up eating onion rolls (and bialys) and would often eat them for breakfast with butter, which is still my favorite way to have them, even though they're tasty with sandwiches and burgers.

I don't make a lot of bread at home, because we can get excellent bread in NYC with very little looking around, but today was rainy and chilly and I realized I had all the ingredients to make onion rolls already in the house.

Behind Eve.

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More from the Warner Center (I have a few more days worth of images from there.) Today we're looking at the bronze statues in the lobby (in the bottom photo you can see both of them if you let your eye follow the curve.)

The one closest to the camera in the bottom photo is Adam, and the top one was taken when I was standing directly behind Eve.

These sculptures are the work of Columbian artist Fernando Botero(linky), who is known for his heavily stylized, oversized and rounded portrayals of people.

Though the US can be a rather ridiculously puritanical culture, the statues are not covered in any way, and people seem to love to get their photos taken with them.

You can see more views of both sculptures here.(linky)

Although the second floor in the second photo looks like the Borders booksellers is right at the railing, this is not the case. There is a lovely, regularly rotating art exhibit up there, as well as plenty of room for people to wander around and take photos. The Borders store is set back from the rail by about +/-35 feet or so.


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Traffic moves in and out of the main entrance to the Warner Center, designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill(linky). You can see the building from another angle in the previous photo- it's the two towers on the right. If you catch it at just the right angle, the building appears to be two dimensional against the skyline(linky).

The escalators to the right of frame (which are in reality, dead center in the space) lead down to a Whole Foods Market(linky). Directly above the market, in a brilliant piece of interior planning, there's the 55 thousand square foot Williams-Sonoma flagship store(linky) which has *all* of the products they sell on display (it's the only store they have that's large enough to do this.)

Though NYC doesn't really "do" shopping malls, this is one of the few exceptions, though I'm not entirely sure how much money most of the stores make. It's all extremely high end, save for the Borders Booksellers. There's several restaurants in the complex, including Per Se(linky), which is Thomas Keller's baby and designed by Adam Tihany (who was still a dick to me, but designs very nice restaurants all the same.)

Though I do genuinely adore that Whole Foods downstairs, I'll be honest and say the best thing to *me* about this place is the fact that I know where to find bathrooms on the west side (even if they're woefully underdesigned.)

Because dude. Sometimes you just need to pee.

21st Aug 2007, 10:53   | tags:,comments (13)


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19th Aug 2007, 06:34   | tags:,comments (6)

Happy Birthday, Monster.

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by halves.

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12th Aug 2007, 00:42   comments (8)