Sunday, March 04, 2007

New York City. Center of the Universe.

We come by the hundreds, perhaps the thousands. Some are fresh from school, some in need of a change of pace, some are returning home, some have moved thousands of miles, from different countries, to partake in the experience. Whatever the motivation, we come, hunting for our own little piece of a shared fantasy.

Like those waves of others, I have found my way to New York City, drawn to the dream of urban, metropolitan living. I live in the East Village. I commute on the subway to my office in SoHo, where I take an elevator, that occasionally breaks, to a floor of a cast-iron loft building. In an open studio I find myself tapping away, with others, while music, of a usually alternative bent, plays in the background. Like many others, I have pointy glasses, which I peer through to CAD my way to new projects. I am, I realize, one of many living a very popular cliché.

I always imagined myself to be a bit, well, more independently minded. For better or worse, I understood, early on, that I was never going to be part of the “it” crowd. Reasons were plenty, and not really worth mentioning, but the point was clear to me. The life of the American teenager, and then the American college student, would not be reflective of my life.

And yet, here I am, in many ways, living another myth – a life that seems quite popular amongst the architecture crowd. And while I have enjoyed myself so far, I do wonder why so many are enraptured by the idea of New York? Why do so many of us dream of participating in such a crowded, competitive field?

When I worked for my alma mater, New York City was the place that our students consistently ranked as the number one location to work. Everyone wanted to go there, for internships in the summer, for work immediately after school. It was the place to aspire to, a place where the ambitious headed, step one on their quest to starchitecture status. New York was exalted as a place where progressive architecture was easily found, where firms engaged in the new, the latest, the most interesting in design question. As designers, we wanted to be apart of it. In spite of the lower pay, the higher expenses, the demand for ivy degrees, the need for an inside track.

Any fantasy has some root in reality, in truth. People do live the dream, in its oft described details. I do have friends, classmates, who have found places in those leading design firms, the ones being written about, whose principals names sit on the tip of the tongue of any knowledgeable architecture geek. They have, seemingly, found their way into the fast-track, with the right names on their resume, the right pedigrees to get someplace in this rat-race we’ve all become apart of.

Yet, there are so many others who find themselves somewhere else, living perhaps, a part of the fantasy, a compromised dream, where the experiences aren’t really all that different, and perhaps even more limited, than of those who have gone to pursue architecture elsewhere.

That is the reality of New York City. It is a place of dreams, fulfilled and unrealized, for so many willing to come and take a chance. So, here I am, another one of many, hoping that the chance I took, to come out here, will help me on my path through this profession – be it in exposure, the work experience I gain, the people I meet, the ideas I find. That, in a city filled with so many, this new part of my education will be as rich and varied as the place itself.



hi, wow NEW YORK !! NEW YORK..
never been there...just livig here i small patch of land.
good story.

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