Ada Louise Huxtable on New York City

There were some priceless quotes from Ada Louise Huxtable about city planning and architecture in this retrospective piece on her career as America’s first newspaper architecture critic. One of my favorites:

“For those in positions of power, architecture has no redeeming value; it is a frill to be eliminated as a virtuous, cost-cutting, vote-getting measure; it can be abandoned without regret. It took today’s mean mentality to see cathedrals and courthouses as ‘waste space.’”

Unfortunately, it’s a mean mentality that’s been coming since the end of World War II, and one that continues. Another good one:

“The peculiarity of New York is that while the avenues are its show, the side streets are its soul.”

Absolutely. Unfortunately, in the oversold city of today, those building blocks are being replaced by show, now, too. Finally, there was this from the late Senator Moynihan, on Ms. Huxtable:

“You must love a country very much to be as little satisfied with it as she.”

Huxtable died this week at the age of 91.