Sunday, June 1, 2014

A Highway With a View

David Carr has a brief reflection in today's New York Times about the disappearance of an inspiring view from a less-than inspiring stretch of highway in New Jersey leading to the Lincoln Tunnel. It's a compelling piece of writing that reminds us of what is lost and what is gained as cities inevitably change.
"But something glorious, a view held in common by thousands of people who come to New York for the same reasons people always have, will now belong to a precious few. It’s not only a perfect metaphor for our times, but a cold fact that I stare at every day. I often mutter oaths, not at the men and women building it — everyone has to work at something — but at the people who decided that a view that is the visual equivalent of Wagnerian opera was something to be auctioned off. 
"There’s still a brief interlude of New York cityscape I can see from my bus or car seat if I pay attention, but I don’t look that way so much anymore. When I look toward the city, I don’t see the glorious handiwork of human hands — I see what happens when those hands don’t know when to quit."


  1. It's so commonly accepted in San Francisco, but the notion of "owning" a view and attaching value to it is pretty weird when you think about it.

  2. Is property "ownership" similarly weird? They inherently go together, it would seem.


Thanks for commenting. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at