43rd St – SKY AND LANDFILL (9th Ave to the Circle Line)

40 – View of the former McGraw-Hill building on 42nd St (1923), designed by Raymond Hood. To the right is the Orion in blue, and the Ivy Tower in salmon, condominium complexes.

Hell is a field of condominiums, extending as far as the eye can see; like poppy blossoms in a bomb-riddled Afghani plain; faceless, featureless, nameless towers with nothing between them but sky and emptiness. This section of the street is known as Hell’s Kitchen; an apt name, given that it is a sterile, lifeless kind of residential landscape, punctuated by large storage facilities; a sort of “landfill” – in that the best description of the land here is that it is filled up and nothing more.

The name originated from the days when this used to be an Irish slum. Before the condominal onslaught, the area also used to house actors and professionals in the theatre industry. It still does even today, though only just. Many of these actors have grown up and moved on, or have simply been priced out.

At the edge of the water, being the only burst of colour and theatricality in this wasteland, sits the Circle Line Pier, thronged with tourists and families. In a twist of irony, all ferries taken from this pier inevitably return here, to the edge of this Unreal City, where staring ahead at the storybook facades of houses along the New Jersey waterfront, one realises that there is no escape from the City. None at all.

41 – Manhattan Plaza, built in the 70s to house actors and performing artists. It still does today.

42 – View upon Yotel (2010) – a hotel building designed by Arquitectonica.

43 – No. 520: New Gotham Apartments (1998), one of the earlier luxury condominiums in the area.

44 – The Strand Apartments, designed by Costas Kondylis.

45 – The red building in the middle is No. 560: Riverbank West.

46 – At the 11th Ave intersection are two condominium complexes designed by Costas Kondylis: to the left is Silver Towers at River Place, to the right is Atelier (2006).

47 – Manhattan Mini Storage and Market Diner, a classic diner dating back to the ‘60s.

48 – UPS Parcel Post. The building in the distance is the Chinese Consulate, which occupies the former Sheraton Hotel.

49 – Pier 84, where the Circle Line Tours take tourists and families around the island of Manhattan.

50 – The quaint storybook facades of waterfront properties in New Jersey.

D – Sky and Landfill


Download: D) SKY AND LANDFILL – 9th Ave to the Circle Line (2.6 MB)

NEXT MONTH: 79th Street, or Geneva to Zurich Express

About Kennie Ting

I am a wandering cityophile and pattern-finder who is pathologically incapable of staying in one place for any long period of time. When I do, I see the place from different perspectives, obsessive-compulsively.
This entry was posted in Art & Architecture, Landmarks & History, New York, Photography, Sociology & Urban Studies and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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