The other day I was walking on the High Line (I know, shocker) and I came to a part at the end where they are building a new 30 story building on what was formerly an empty lot. And then I looked over to the smallish building next door to it and snapped this photo:
That yellow square I highlighted is where a bunch of windows will be completely blocked up. I know this sort of thing happens all the time in big cities, but it really got me wondering about the experience of the landlords and tenants in such a building. What would you do if your apartment suddenly lost all natural light it had enjoyed for years? What does that do to the property values, rentability or saleability of the apartment that has just been blocked? I imagine it plummets. It also makes me understand more a certain type of apartment block that I see (especially in new construction) all over Manhattan (of which my own building is a good example). Namely, two similar apartment towers, taking up an entire block or set back from the side site lines and joined at the lower levels by a structure that meets the street and all sides. This type of plan precludes (for the most part) any window blocking from new construction, and maximizes windows and light from all around.
That about sums up San Francisco today. Amazing sunny weather but quite cold out. Summer in SF. Now that I have been living in NYC for several months, my trip back to the Bay Area has me again noticing some of the aesthetic and cultural differences between places. These things shift and reorder themselves in subtle ways over many many visits. In a very general way today, I have a feeling that New York is much its own thing, with a Euro dialogue happening in a lot of places, especially with London and Paris, but that San Francisco is having a dialogue with its past, stronger place in the American psyche as well as the Northwestern and Californian sensibility that it has always had (showing itself in its environmental, political and culinary preoccupations). San Francisco is an amazing place for food for a city of its size (or any size, really). New York has a harder edge and is filled with, well, the best (and sometimes worst) of everything at all times. San Francisco is fewer things, and they have a greater presence because of their relative importance. San Francisco is easy in places that New York is hard and vice versa. I love and miss many things about San Francisco, and could easily see myself living here again, but it does lack some of the vitality that I feel in New York.
So much for random, not very interesting ramblings as I sit in a coffee shop (my second today) and wait to meet my friend Troy for dinner later.