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9.11.2004

Invasion of the Booty Snatchers
It was my first night out in New York as a resident. I was tired, but realized I had to get out, walk around my temporary neighborhood and get some food. So I called my friend Danielle and we sat down at a reasonable outdoor Italian restaurant near Lincoln Center. I wolfed down my food and drank my wine happily. I was in New York, talking art theory with Danielle, and infinitely happy for it.
And then, as the table next to us was settling their bill, someone ran by and snatched a purse right off the table. Three men leapt to action (not me, sorry) and chased the thief down the block.
When the situation had settled down a little and the patio was quiet again, I put on my best southern accent and said, "Wow. I just moved here today. Stuff like that never happens where I come from."

Empty Reasoning
I have explained the reasons for this move to New York to so many people so many times that the words have been drained of their meaning. I just say them because I'm used to saying them, because it's polite. I know that at one point I thought they were true, and that they probably still are, but I might as well be blowing bubbles. It's like the time my older sister, infinitely wiser, pointed out to the family years ago that if you say the same word over and over and over again out loud, it starts to sound wrong, like you're mispronouncing it. You start to doubt yourself. She would say, "beef." "Beef beef beef beef beef." And after about twenty times, you would cock your head, raise an eyebrow, and say, "Hold on. Did I screw up somewhere in there?"
The reasons for moving out here? The seasons, the east coast grittiness, the sheer magnitude of the place, the dynamism, the old friends, none of those really seem to add up to me anymore. But lying in bed in the early morning, woken up by my excitement for the move, I remember why I am leaving San Francisco: it is because my life was almost good enough and I had gotten accustomed to it. I had become inured to a job that led nowhere, a state of intellectual drowsiness that showed no sign of ending, I was sinking in roots in a place that - at least at this point in my life - didn't offer me the straight-up challenge that I require.
And so I moved.
And just like that, technically speaking at least, I'm a New Yorker.

9.02.2004

Tourism Review Committee
I was talking to a friend about my impending move to New York today, discussing how I intend to engage in a bunch of tourist activities when I arrive (the Circle Tour, museums, etc.) and we came to the realization that there are really two separate categories of tourist attractions. On the one side, there are those that are attractions merely because they are beautiful or remarkable (Alcatraz). And on the other side, there are those sites that have been constructed specifically to attract tourists (Fisherman's Wharf). Even though the two are grouped under "tourist attraction," they couldn't be more different. One is the product of an industry's attempt to make money, the other is merely good architecture, or beautiful nature, or what have you.
What is interesting, though, is that now that tourism has become such a big business, both types of attractions are managed by the same people. Genuine sites, such as Alcatraz, are dumbed down in an attempt to appeal to all comers, which is too bad because there's a fine line between making a site widely accessible and simplifying it so much you decrease its value. This is also unfortunate because locals won't be caught dead at the very sites that their city is known for. The crowds of tourists don't help.
It's interesting to realize that, in the end, a creative design review committee - one that sees the value of architecture as a tourist draw - is just as capable of pitching in to the tourism industry as the tourism board itself. It doesn't happen that way though, does it.

9.01.2004

A Desperate Attempt to Post Something
I'm moving to New York a week from Friday, and my life is predictably chaotic - hence my lack of posting. But here is a meager attempt to post something interesting:


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