Beautiful Old Building on 86th Street

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Scattered throughout Manhattan (and presumably other boroughs that I don’t go to often) there are older buildings mixed in with new construction. I love these older buildings. They have more character than some of the monstrosities that people are building today, like the hideous Preschool of the Arts @ Cooper Square building, for example:

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Who came up with this? What were they thinking?

I’m reminded of a city ordinance in Jerusalem that requires all new buildings to be faced in Jerusalem stone to maintain the character and traditional look of the city. Some might say that stifles creativity and artistic expression, but I’d rather see a traditional, beautiful Jerusalem than one filled with buildings that look like the one above.

Places have a certain look and feel to them that should be preserved. But, that’s just my opinion. I love history in general so it’s not really surprising to me that I would prefer historic buildings. I’m not sure how an ordinance like Jerusalem’s could be implemented here though. How does one build a skyscraper that looks like a 19th century townhouse?

Red-Tailed Hawks from Washington Square now in Tompkins Square

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I think it was about two years ago when I first saw a hawk in Manhattan. It was in Washington Square park, the one where I Am Legend was filmed. There are NYU buildings surrounding the park and two hawks had turned a window sill on one of those buildings into a nest. The NYU administration did a good thing by leaving the nest in place and then went one step further by sharing the hatching and growing-up process with the world via a web cam live feed.

Life is busy and I didn’t keep up with the hawks and I’d all but forgotten about them until last week. I was walking through Tompkins Square park, which is a few blocks away from Washington Square, when I saw a hawk land on a railing nearby. After a few minutes I realized there were two hawks in the park. They were hanging out together, generally. We watched one try to catch a squirrel, but the squirrel fought back and the hawk dropped him. I was amused to see the squirrel proudly stand on the end of a branch, as if he was daring the hawk to come back and try again.

It’s really neat to see wildlife in the city. Anything to get a little green in the middle of all this concrete. Hopefully the birds don’t start taking and eating rich people’s small dogs, though.