March 12, 2006
Ever wonder what the city might look like if it had not been touched by Robert Moses, modernists, or Donald Trump? If so I recommend The Metropolis of Tomorrow by Hugh Ferriss. The illustrations in this manifesto published in 1929 are a tour de force of imagination. The writing is passionate and odd. An example:
BUILDINGS like crystals
Walls of translucent glass.
Sheer glass blocks sheathing a steel grill.
No Gothic branch: no Acanthus leaf: no recollection of the plant world.
A mineral kingdom.
Forms as cold as ice.
Night in the Science Zone.
Whenever I feel bad about our physical world (a trip to Times Square or up 6th Avenue will do it for me), I dissapear into this book.