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. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. 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