Everybody has read Delirious New York with their own subject in mind. Because Brownstone Brooklyn has been/is threatened by Manhattanization, I wanted to get a clear idea of what this means. Rem Koolhaas celebrates Manhattan’s culture of congestion but Brooklyn is not Manhattan. The threat of Manhattan has even created Brooklyn’s neighborhood culture. Here are some quotes written about Manhattan but of which some also could be applicable to Brooklyn.
“All the blocks are the same; their equivalence invalidates all the systems of articulation and differentiation that have guided the design of traditional cities. The Grid makes the history of architecture and all previous lessons of urbanism irrelevant. It forces Manhattan’s builders to develop a new system of formal values, to invent strategies for the distinction of one block from another.”
“In terms of urbanism, this indeterminacy means that a particular site can no longer be matched with any single predetermined purpose. From now on each metropolitan lot accommodates –in theory at least- an unforeseeable and unstable combination of simultaneous activities, which makes architecture less an act of foresight than before and planning an act of only limited prediction. It has become impossible to ‘plot’ culture.”
“’What is the modern spirit in art?’ No one knows. It is something toward a lot of people are groping and in the course of this groping interesting and amusing things should be developed.”
“For truly, there should be no end to circulation.”
“Facts wear, reality is consumed. The acropolis disintegrates the Parthenon is collapsing due to ever-escalating frequency of tourists’ visits. As the big toe of a saint’s statue gradually disappears under the onslaught if his devotees’ kisses, so the Big Toe of reality dissolves slowly but inexorably under perpetual exposure to the continuous Kiss of mankind. The higher the density of civilization –the more metropolitan it is- the higher the frequency of the Kiss, the faster the process of consumption of the reality of nature and artifacts. They are worn out so rapidly that the supply is depleted. That is the course of the Reality Shortage.”
Koolhaas, Rem, “delirious new york”, New York, The Monacelli Press, 1994, p20, 85, 126, 241