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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Yes!! Its NOT US!!!

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(note the poll results. I really hope someone points those out to the
6th Jul 2005, 17:56   | tags:,

crickson says:

Why was it so unpopular in NY? - I'm quite pleased it's coming to London. It'll all be held in East London near where I grew up and will hopefully regenerate the area substantially.

6th Jul 2005, 18:13

bronxelf says:

The reasons re legion.

1. NYC is not designed for this.

2. In order to have the olympics here, we would have had to have put *enormous* amounts of tax dollars into a new stadium (ostensibly to bring the NYJets back over from New Jersey, where they play now) on the west side of Manhattan, which was an *extremely* unpopular move. There was a last-ditch effort to build another stadium in Queens, next to Shea Stadium, where the Mets play, but this never really gelled, primarily because it was a transparent last-ditch effort to move the games a bit farther out from the center of Manhattan, which didn't thrill the IOC or any economic powers on Manhattan island that would have benefited from the influx of tourist dollars.

4. We have enough traffic here, thanks. We don't need to add 3 weeks of madness to what we go through regularly.

5. We lived through the Republicunt National Convention. New Yorkers are NOT WILLING to allow our city to be turned into a _police state_ for *three weeks*, and be invaded, essentially, by the federal government. We *did not vote* for the monkeys in power in Washington in this city, by an overwhelming margin. It was bad enough the kind of rampant abuses that went on four *four days* during the RNC. *No one* here wants a repeat performance of this for *three weeks plus*, unless of course, they're not *from* here, and are looking to once again milk the cash cow that is 9/11 *yet one more time*.

6.Ever since 2001, we have been held up and dragged out any and every time one of our *cough* esteemed leaders *cough* wants to make some jingoistic point, when in reality these same people hate us anyway and if there weren't money and power in making us look like we're some sort of rationalization for the horrific behaviour and policies of the federal governement, they'd have happy danced all over the place to see us bombed out of existence. We are *NOT* your "typical American city", which is why I live here. We have no interest in *another* 7 years of flag-waving, jingoistic, 9/11 touting bullshit. New Yorkers would be thrilled to death to have the attention go *somewhere else*, as the attention we receive does *not* represent our views anyway.

6th Jul 2005, 18:21

crickson says:

Fair enough, I can tell you feel strongly! : )

6th Jul 2005, 18:23

bronxelf says:

I added an additional point.

I belong to several online NYC communities. The sigh of relief at *not* being chosen is palpable on *all* of them.

6th Jul 2005, 18:25

crickson says:

If it helps, in London we always considered NYs as much more like us, and other Americans as more different.

I am also really pleased the French didn't get it. I wonder if it was a Finnish IOC member who swung it for us? : )

6th Jul 2005, 18:31

Helen says:

Heh, silly old Chirac.

6th Jul 2005, 18:32

bronxelf says:

I couldnt understand how the French were going to pull this off without air conditioning. Laugh if you want, but really-- I was seriously wondering how that was going to happen.

I would agree, btw, with your assessment of Londoners/NYCers and the rest of the US. I was *just* having this conversation (in person) with someone from London this week, and about how I find foreign tourists to be much more easily dealt with and much less likely to make me insane than American tourists.

6th Jul 2005, 18:34

crickson says:

My friend RareAquaticBadger, among others, rave about NY, he's been there a few times now - I really have to go soon!

6th Jul 2005, 18:37

bronxelf says:

Well like I tell eveyrone-- I have room for any Londoners who want to come over. :)

6th Jul 2005, 18:40

Helen says:

I wish I had a friend called RareAquaticBadger. I'd drop them into conversations all the time.

6th Jul 2005, 18:41

bronxelf says:

Oh, people from the north of England welcome also. :)

6th Jul 2005, 18:43

Helen says:

: )

6th Jul 2005, 18:44

bronxelf says:

This is NYC. Of course we have pizza. And it's NOT that Domino's shit, and they will deliver it at 1am.

6th Jul 2005, 18:47

Joe says:

I'm glad you added the "people from the north of england" bit...I was starting to wonder why this little southern village called London was so popular

6th Jul 2005, 18:51

bronxelf says:

Hey-- You and Shoes are going to be the first ones here!

6th Jul 2005, 18:53

bronxelf says:

16"? HA. That's a medium,

A large is 18".

6th Jul 2005, 18:54

Joe says:

well I do like to be a trend setter

6th Jul 2005, 18:55

bronxelf says:

Joe: Coffee on 129th street,

That is all. :D

6th Jul 2005, 18:56

bronxelf says:

You want me to blog a menu with an 18" pizza shown on it?

6th Jul 2005, 19:01

I thought New York was fab. I think it depends on what you're used to though; all those years in London means I'm undaunted by huge cities. A few of my more rural friends were less comfortable/more scared though. I think the general consensus is it's an inherently more 'normal' city than some other places in the US though. Plus NY pastrami on rye with mustard is the food of the Gods... (well, the non-vegetarian Gods who don't care about fat content anyway).

Helen> I'll be your friend :-D umm... my real name's Mark though, which is slightly less impressive.

Crickson> I've got mixed feelings about the games in London. I think the proposals are great, and it'll regenerate that area, but taxes are high enough in the UK. Plus, can you imagine what this is going to do to the (already exhorbitant) house prices???

6th Jul 2005, 19:03

Helen says:

RareAquaticBadger... you'll have to promise to do and say lots of interesting things, so that I can say "My friend, RareAquaticBadger, said this" and "My friend, RareAquaticBadger, did this..." an awful lot. But maybe that would make you very unpopular amongst those that I know... hmmm.

6th Jul 2005, 19:11

leenah says:

hmmm. re: london is like NYC - i like NYC. i ADORE london. london may be big, but it doesn't feel overwhelming to me, the way NYC does.

and i am also glad that NYC did not get the Olympics. what a freakin' nightmare that would have been.

and elf, you know i mean no offense to your beloved city. different people need different places. you need NYC. i like having it as an option to visit. :)

6th Jul 2005, 19:24

bronxelf says:

London is smaller than NYC anyway, significantly, so it's easy for people from elsewhere to be overwhelmed. One of the reasons I never liked Boston was it was too small.

6th Jul 2005, 19:26

Olive says:

What's funny and pathetic is that until the very last couple of seconds all the french journalists and politicians were 110% persuaded that Paris was gonna win it. Tony Blair's lobbying (aka bribing) made the difference :p

6th Jul 2005, 19:30

bronxelf says:

I still dont know how they intended to do this without air conditioning.

6th Jul 2005, 19:43

Helen says:


6th Jul 2005, 20:03

Helen says:

Especially when you bear in mind what happened in 2003.

6th Jul 2005, 20:05

Rich says:

I don't understand why air conditioning would have been important for the French bid.. Am I missing something?

Quite a lot of Londoners I know going "God DAMN why us?" right about now.

6th Jul 2005, 20:10

bronxelf says:

Rich- See helen's post with the link in it. Paris in high summer is *not* pleasant. It's quite hot and humid. To pack in an additonal small city in at the *same* time with no A/C? They have to just *pray* for a mild summer. But if 2003 repeats itself? They have a real problem on their hands.

6th Jul 2005, 20:12

Rich says:

Ah yes, missing the entire point I see.

Fuck it, get a medal living though that and it's twice the achievement. Bring heaters I say, javelin in an oven. Swimming with flamethrowers, etc.

6th Jul 2005, 20:12

bronxelf says:


Fencing withi flamethrowers.

Flaming archery.

6th Jul 2005, 20:14

Helen says:

"!" Oooh yes.

6th Jul 2005, 20:18

Rich says:


Quickly! Someone copyright that.

6th Jul 2005, 20:37

rikaitch says:

London is a cess pool. Fortunately a lot of the events aren't in the c(r)apital, and are out of town. I am pleased it is in the UK though. I can see the opening ceremony now. Children running around with whippets and flat caps, more with turbans, and even dressed as police with radar guns. Well if the IOC want a realistic opening ceremony, you can't get more realistic then that.

(do I seem fed up with the UK?)

6th Jul 2005, 20:38

bronxelf says:

Rich- Someone tell Mat. :D

Rikaitch: before I begin I suggest reading the comment thread here, for reference:


Having read that? Don't London-bash in my blog. There are people I care about who really love it there, and it seems as close to NYC as one could get in a city in Europe, so Im fond of it myself, even though I have yet to visit.

6th Jul 2005, 20:43

bronxelf says:

And they ALL deliver.

6th Jul 2005, 20:45

Joe says:

the steeple chase would be fun...no water traps in the Flamelimpics...FIRE PITS!

6th Jul 2005, 20:57

Phoenix says:

Well, in dues course, having got the Olympics we will probably f*** it up Dome style - but that's part of the charm of living in this country amongst a willfully ignorant, resistant bloody-minded, homicidal alcoholic indiginous population where everything just kinda works although it's bound together by gaffer tape and chewing gum and where everyone always moans and complains and the weather's fouls and trains never run on time and blaaaaaahhhhhhhhh...............................................................................

6th Jul 2005, 21:05

bronxelf says:

Sounds lovely.Where do I sign up? :D

6th Jul 2005, 21:06

Joe says:

" willfully ignorant, resistant bloody-minded, homicidal alcoholic indiginous population"

never a truer word spoken.

6th Jul 2005, 21:10

Joe says:

or grate...one or the other.

6th Jul 2005, 21:14

kikuchan says:

You lucky, lucky bastards... *sigh* Cue 7 years of me being labelled a killjoy 'cos I don't give a toss about the Olympics beyond not wanting them in my city...Still, at least I can look forward to a nice holiday come 2012.

6th Jul 2005, 21:43

Joe says:

Leeds is very nice at that time of year :)

6th Jul 2005, 21:43

bronxelf says:

Ha! I call dibs.

6th Jul 2005, 22:01

crickson says:

"London is smaller than NYC anyway, significantly"
Is it? I didn't think the difference was that large, in fact, I always thought London covered a bit more area. Dunno about population sizes, probably both have 'enough'. Or was this another thing they lied to me at school about? I'll just have to go home and measure the city. Now, if only I can find tape long enough... : )

7th Jul 2005, 09:43

bronxelf says:

London population (2000) : 7,172,036

NYC population (2000) 8 ,008, 278

London area: +/- 620 square miles.

NYC area: +/- 301 square miles.

And yet, we're always told (by people who have been to both places) that NYC is larger. In reality, it's only half the size, geographically, but we're cramming @ one million additional people into half the size, so it seems much, much more crowded.

EDIT: This includes only *actual* city limits. it does not include the NYC Metro Area, which is much larger.

7th Jul 2005, 10:02

crickson says:

Gosh, facts at your fingertips! I'm impressed!

*calls off search for tape, gets back to work*

7th Jul 2005, 10:06

bronxelf says:

I *heart* teh int@rw3b.

7th Jul 2005, 10:08

ladislav says:

Hey, why are you confining your invitation to those from England? There are Scotland-and-Wales-resident mobloggers too :-)

The trouble with measuring the size of London is deciding where it stops: everyone has a different idea. The Square Mile? Zone 1? Zone 2? The North Circular? The M25? The limit of London telephone area codes? The limit of London postcodes? The county of Greater London? All these finish at different places. Where were you taking your cutoff to be?

Not that I care: I now live in a city of 600,000-2m people and love it :-)

13th Jul 2005, 16:35