Thursday, October 21, 2010

Inspiration - The New 3 R's (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) Even Buildings!

I am always inspired when I see that people are making an effort to reduce, reuse and recycle...especially buildings...especially in NYC. Too many buildings in the city are torn down and replaced with architecture that is so different from its surroundings that the entire "vibe" of the neighborhood disappears. Don't get me wrong. There are examples of starkly different and unusual buildings that work, like the New Museum, but too few of them.

In the recent building boom, hundreds of small tenements, carriage houses and unique shops and factories have been lost. In the more recent economic bust, there are now vacant lots where builders who tore down the old to build something new went bankrupt or lost their financing. So I was happy to attend a friend's show at the Theater for the New City (TNC) on the Lower East Side, and learn that the famous Off-Off-Broadway venue's home is the former First Avenue Retail Market. The market was created in 1938 by the controversial city planner Robert Moses to take pushcart peddlers off the streets. TNC purchased the building in 1986. After moving into the space it created two interim theaters to continue production while raising the $2 million needed for renovation funds. The building currently consists of four theaters. I actually had fun waiting for the "house to open" just looking around at the old market building and admiring its irreplaceable character..

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