Just some precious nuggets of wisdom I was fortunate enough to overhear in the discussion regarding the future of a certain downtown parcel. Seriously.
1)Although some people say that downtown has enough parking, on some nights “the only people downtown are the ones citing visitors for parking illegally.”
This is the Russian nesting doll of pro-parking lot intellectual jujitsu: It combines the solid reasoning of Yogi Berra’s “nobody goes there, it’s too crowded” with a criticism of the gestapo like qualities of municipal parking enforcement (jack-booted meter maids) and the city’s anti-business mindset all the while expressing the All-American belief that only when we can drive and park everywhere all the time without government interference will we be truly free!
2) The removal of an historic building is actually preferable because it makes the other historic buildings in proximity to it more visible and, one might extrapolate, more valuable because it makes them even more rare and therefore benefits historic preservation overall.
This could revolutionize human behavior! The Prado should destroy one Velázquez every year until, you know, the ones that are left are really valuable. Think of endangered species; what if we endanger all the species? Parents could start culling their children to maximize the love and attention they give to each child. This is addition by subtraction, the town with the fewest historic buildings is the most historic place of all! Think jazz. You need gaps in the historic fiber of the city to really see the history that remains.
3)It’s possible for a structure to lose its historic significance over time and therefore documentation of historicity must be updated and contemporary to a proceeding or it has no value.
I mean, what has the so called Freedom Trail done lately? When was the last time Williamsburg even colonialed? Did you know that some of the pyramids don’t even have dead pharaohs in them anymore? Historic places need to be judged on what they’ve done this year, this month, today. Too many protected places are just sitting back and making the rest of us do all the “being historic” . And why isn’t there a White History month? Sorry, wrong stupid argument.
4)As a corollary to the wisdom of the prior axiom, gainsaying any statement of fact establishing historicity is, of itself, proof that a building has no historic value whatsoever. Also if one isn’t paying attention when a list of historic attributes is read aloud in a hearing those attributes cease to exist; this also holds for members of commissions whose sole purpose is the protection of a community’s historic attributes.
Adults don’t put their hands over their ears and yell “la la la la”, that would be childish. Just assert that what was said wasn’t said, what was read wasn’t read, and that the documents you’ve been given don’t exist.
5)There is a number, X, greater than zero whose value is equivalent to zero when establishing the number of active tenants in a building for purposes of claiming that a building has 0 tenants.
I’m not really a math person. Perhaps this is post modernist mathematics? Observer theory: If a tattoo parlor is open in my building but the building isn’t at the public hearing, is it really a tenant? Dude. You just blew my mind.
6)A building can only be considered to have great architectural value if it has Corinthian columns.
So many of these other truths are deep and philosophical, but this one gets down to the nitty gritty of what it means to truly be historic. Fact: all history is Greco-Roman. Fact: All things Greco-Roman are historic. Fact: We can streamline all findings of historic significance by taking the time and effort to systematize our understanding of the classical orders. No more “blah blah blah” about people, events, or even dates. The statement remains operative even if a particular building has applied pilasters of the Ionic order, obviously, but what remains ambiguous is whether Doric, Ionic, bud, and/or bell shaped capitals on columns establish significance and/or if applied pilasters with Corinthian capitals are sufficient. Ground breaking.