Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Brooklyn Folly

Pretty Lady and Jake once took a special field trip to visit this architectural monstrosity in one of the more labyrinthine and inaccessible areas of Brooklyn (the train journey required was truly Byzantine.) It was definitely and obviously the home of a madman--bizarre, tenuous, and pricelessly irreplaceable. She highly recommends viewing the slideshow, in all its psychotic splendor.

Now it seems that the New York Department of Buildings is attempting to eradicate both the Folly and the madman from the Brooklyn landscape. Pretty Lady finds this unconscionable. After all, what is Brooklyn for, if not fantastical structures made entirely out of junk?

Of course, she acknowledges that the neighbors might not like living next to an egregious fire hazard. Still, telling a 75-year-old impoverished madman that all he has to do is hire an architect, an engineer, and some contractors in order to keep his place of residence strikes her as a bit disingenuous. It strikes her as inexorably totalitarian, in fact. This sort of thing would never happen in Mexico. Peasants are allowed to keep building upward until they run out of brick or the building collapses, whichever happens first.


Flicka Spumoni said...

I know people who built a contemporary style home. Imagine thick vertical boards in a bleached stain, thin recatangualr windows sparsely placed, a walled in court and a bright orange formica covered front door. Their big vision was to live in a house without doors. So, except for the front door and the sliders that lead out to the walled in court, their house has not a door in it anywhere, not even the bathrooms.

Now, true, that's an artistic vision but it is also known in certain circles as a "hard sell".

And as for the spectacle in Boston, this is America isn't it? I have a huge problem with tyranny of any sort and while all communities and neighborhoods are allowed to define their own standards, nobody should be allowed have the legal authority to make a home-owner/soveriegn-king-of-his-own-property change to adopt to newly articlulated law. If you don't like the home, don't move next to him.

Pretty Lady said...

I don't believe it is even the neighbors that have the problem, Flicka, despite a recent fire there which could have been disastrous. I believe it is Meddling Bureaucrats. The phrase which utterly disgusted me was "We gave him the opportunity to hire an architect. As if this were not an obviously economically unfeasable option for a person of this sort.

There is considerable evidence that the city of New York is enacting progressive legislation in order to drive small-time landlords, such as homeowners and persons who own one or two small rental properties, entirely out of existence. They pile on the taxes, fees and onerous code compliances until the only entities which CAN cope with them are enormous development corporations with nearly unlimited capital and high-end legal backing.

This chaps Pretty Lady's hide, particularly as she has already figured out that her best chances for thriving, long-term, in this city are to scrape together the resources to buy her own small rental property and live on the income.

Anonymous said...

wow....what a wonderful ride through a part of someone else's life. Thanks.

Yup....owning something seems to important.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to my world. I started out life as a bleeding heart liberal white chick born to middle class Catholic parents. I'm still white, their child, Catholic and middle class, but the rest has changed. Meaning, if you don't want to sift it out yourself, I am no longer so thrilled to have "the collective" deciding what is "best for all". If this man's abode harms him and him alone, it's his business. If his fire hazard could very likely negatively impact his neighbors, I say they be allowed to do something to protect their lives! Why is it that so many well meaning people (?) have lots of good ideas about how other people should behave, spend their money, or do for the good of all? Why are so few lawmakers interesting in modifying their own lives and behaviors?

I hope his place is saved. We need more eccentrics in this world!

Anonymous said...

It's clear that this structure is destined for landmark status, if not now, then in the near future. If it's flattened, people will be looking back going "huh?" like all the other gorgeous structures that have been bulldozed, esp. in NYC. Remember Penn Station and the Old Met? Don't people learn?


Anonymous said...

Now I have one more reason to visit the East Coast. I still have to make it out to California to see the Remington mansion, my favorite structure in the whole wide world.