Views of the Water

One of the things that struck me this week was that for over a hundred years Brooklyn was a community that depended on the waterfront where very few people could actually see the water. The view has traditionally been an instrument of power and plays a large role in plans to develop in the future

The Past: The view as power or lack thereof

Interestingly, being able to see the water marked you as probably either among the most or the least powerful figures in Brooklyn society for the last hundred years. The merchants of old Brooklyn Heights built there houses in areas where they could observe ships approaching the harbor. There houses then and now are among the most expensive and sought after housing in the area.

As the economy grew more complex and and buildings became larger, the view from the top of the buildings was the view from the top of society as well.

Ironically, the other group that had the greatest access to the view of the water were the workers on the docks, arguably the weakest members of society. For everyone else, the view was something gained informally or commercially. Informally through accidental gaps in the wall of buildings that flanked the river.

Commercially, the relatively isolated outpost of Coney Island became available to the mass of people. Individuals who lived within blocks of the water traveled up to an hour to actually see it.

In contemporary Brooklyn, the view of the water has become more consciously recognized as being valuable. Public authorities have begun to incorporate the view into urban planning through instruments such as the Brooklyn Promenade and the Brooklyn Bridge Park.

However, older traditions of control by wealth and subversion through informal means continue. New residential developments sell views and access to the water to those who can afford it.

Others though slip through the cracks to use the water for their own purposes.

Older traditions of workers enjoying the view also continue.

And the birds can also dig it.

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Cat in Box

image

I took this picture before I left Houston. I call it Cat in Box. It symbolizes mankinds eternal struggle between freedom and security. Here Man, represented by the cat, rests in a place of security, represented by the box, but is intrigued by the chaos of the world outside the box. The work brings out many questions. Is the box a home or a cage? What is the difference? What is freedom? Am I a pretty cat?

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There’s an App for That!

I’m sending this post from my badass phone.

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Cupcakes

I had a peanut butter and jelly cupcake for lunch today. Peanut butter, jelly and cupcakes are an excellent combination.

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Atlas Shrugged Episode One

Just saw On the Waterfront yesterday. It was a great film. It was a tragic story of the how the proles brought down Uberman Johnny Friendly. Friendly, born a prole himself, climbed out of the sewer by shedding his sentimentality and weakness and taking control of his own destiny. He imposed his will on the proles, who of course resented his strength. They rationalized their weakness through sentimentality and appeals to “morality” and Gods that don’t exist. Normally this allowed them to sulk in their inferior position, but it allowed them to be driven like the cattle they are by other Ubermen. Their contemptibilty was illustrated by the protagonist, Terry Malloy. He attempted to become an Uberman himself, but was weak and easily manipulated. This allowed him to be exploited by the preist, Father Berry, and the female protagonist Edie Doyle. Friendly, being an Uberman, moved to crush Terry before he became a threat. His underling Charley Malloy, however, allowed his sentimentality towards his brother to weaken his resolve, leading to his destruction. Stronger figures than pulled Terry’s strings to move against Friendly. This precipitated the final struggle between Terry and Friendly. Friendly in a moment of weakness agreed to fight Terry man to man as a concession to working class morality. Friendly, being a true Uberman however, quickly recovered and sent in his goons to crush Terry and leave him as an example to others. Unfortunately for Friendly, the true Uberman, the capitalist overlords who really ran the waterfront, manipulated Terry to serve as a rallying point for the proles against Friendly, leading to his destruction. Friendly’s downfall left him, however, as one of the great tragic heroes in the pantheon of literature, right up there with Creon from Antigone and, of course, Benito Mussolini.

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I rock

I just figured out how to work this damn thing. I rock!

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Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

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