Douglas Newby
Architecturally Significant Homes
Horse & Trolly

Erector Set City

Last year MoMA displayed an artist’s vision of a 30th century city. The few skinny tall buildings piercing the cityscape struck me more than the colorful playful shapes. I was struck this year by the NYC tall skinny buildings with cranes on top being erected. They already changed the skyline. Only they appear above the Central Park trees. (Slide images.) From the Met rooftop we can see how these skinny structures relate to the NYC skyline imbedded into our consciousness. The skyscape begins to look like an ornately decorated cake with a few skinny birthday candles placed randomly on top. One more thing comes to mind. In the 1990s when artist Kengelez did the model 30th Century City, our Leadership Dallas class on the first day was divided into small groups for an exercise. We were given a tube of tinkertoys and five minutes to build the tallest structure without it falling down. Our group, a future judge, banker, and architecturally significant agent, took a judicial approach creating a solid aesthetically pleasing structure, not the tallest. I chuckle at groups that took opposite approaches on the spectrum. The developer, investor and entrepreneur without conversation started sticking vertical pieces on top of the other straight up! In 30 seconds it would topple and they would start over. Another group was equally hilarious when the starting whistle blew. An Asst City Mgr, Deputy Supt DISD, and Asst Police Chief opened the instructions and read the caution notes on the tinkertoy tube. More conversation, more reading, and when the final whistle blew, just like the developer group, the tinkertoy pieces were scattered on the table with no structure. Not saying these pencil-thin New York tall skinny structures are going to fall over but may tap into instincts of developers. I am saying bureaucrats are silly cautious. Decades ago Dallas looked like a toy city with buildings as tall as New York and Chicago, but only a small cluster. Soon maybe all cities will have New York’s birthday candle architectural skyscape. *Erector Set City
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