Secret Triangles

This is the inside of my Eiffel Tower, looking up. I thought it made an interesting pattern.

Pictures of the Cantor Fitzgerald Office

I’ve posted these before but I’m feeling nostalgic, so here they are again.

Thank you, New York

Last night as I jogged, I kept seeing New York. It was silly, but I’m like that sometimes – looking for grand things in the ordinary streets.

Oh, it is “almost the Gridiron”:

Oh, it is “almost the Empire State”:

After a while I gave up. There is only one New York, home of my heart and mind and soul. I’ve been missing it lately, every fire escape, every graffitied name, every towering monument to Man’s ideals.

Sean says I am more New York than he is, a laughable but generous lie. If I lived there for a thousand years, I would still be an outsider. I treasure my own perspective of this. Even when I lived there, I would wake up every morning eager to fly to the windows and make sure it was all still there: the glare of the sunlight against the windows, the gloss, the hard steels and wedge of blue sky. Enduring and beautiful. It had not changed overnight.

My heart. My heart.

Bookstack

Surveillance On A Sunny Day

I just like the looks of this. It’s in Houston. Another “illegal” picture.

Empire State of Mind

Since we were talking about having to surreptitiously take photographs of buildings, I thought I would post some from my favorite little town.

I, Terrorist Photographer

Last night I went for a long walk. It was a good night for it, warm with a nice breeze. Quiet. I was thinking about the future, and feeling really good about it. I ended up downtown. My favorite place. Anyone who has perused my blog or my Flickr page knows I love taking pictures of the buildings downtown – as a student of architecture, they fascinate me. I find them beautiful and I would rather look at them than the stars in the sky (to paraphrase Ayn Rand). Anyway, I found myself at 1400 Louisiana. The light of the windows, plus the glow of the address on the building, appealed to me. I whipped out my BlackBerry and:

No sooner had I taken the picture that I heard somebody saying, “Ma’am, ma’am.” I took off my earbuds as a security guard approached. “You can’t take pictures of this building.”

“Oh. Why not?”

“Because since 9/11, you can’t take pictures of any of the buildings downtown. If you do, I’m supposed to call HPD and they’ll call Homeland Security and you’ll be investigated.”

I decided it wasn’t worth an argument so I just apologized profusely. The security guard backed off and I went my merry way.

I don’t believe that it is against the law to take pictures of a building. Any building. If it is, I’d like to know when that law was passed and whether its a state or federal law.

Furthermore, it reminds me of the stories of the old Soviet Union. Even today, they do not allow tourists to photograph Lubyanka. I don’t know why this rubs me the wrong way. It feels like a violation even if I can’t express why. It’s not free speech; I’m not “saying” anything by taking a picture. Unless the picture is free speech. If I can prove that the photograph itself is free speech, I can prove that the act of taking a photograph must remain free. Pornography is protected speech – the actual photographs and thus, one must logically conclude, the act of taking the pictures is also protected.

So why does it feel so difficult to argue with a minimum wage security guard about my right to take a picture of the building? I suspect that such a discussion would result in indeed being investigated for terrorism. And frankly, that is just exhausting to think about. Yet if we don’t stand up for our rights when they are being violated, when we don’t push back, we are giving them up by default.

Magnetic Poetry

Patterns Of New York: Curves & Defined Space

The entire city of New York is obsessed with space. Views – of buildings, parks, parking lots or worse – quite naturally become the central theme of conversations. Importing light is a significant architectural asset in many cases, compensating for untenable living conditions in other cases. This is a top-down approach. The conservatory at the top of the apartment allows light to filter down three layers. The second floor is almost wrap-around windows, while the first floor has only one exposed wall. Despite the indirect light, every square foot of the first floor glows.

Notice the shadows on the walls from the staircases; they give interest to otherwise bare walls – bare to further refract the light. The reflection of the interior of the house acts as a kind of mirror, making the space seem larger than it is.

Patterns of New York: Views Among

The view of New York at the height of a skyscraper is my favorite perspective. It is still playful, real enough to be accessible, but daunting enough that the subconscious mind plays tricks, making the height seem insignificant one moment and enormous the next. The question, the constant attempt to figure out where you belong in the scale, is a mental asana one works on for as long as one is exposed to the weird perspective.

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