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Art Déco of New York

The art déco style can be seen as a continuation of the art nouveau style or Jugentstil style which increased in popularity in the Western World around WW I. Art deco formalises the language of Jugentstil, gets more structured and formalised but retains some playful elements of art nouveau. The style was popular in New York in the beginning of the 1930s and can be seen in Manhattan – if one looks close enough.

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Streets of New York

Wandering the nameless and grid-like streets of New York you feel like a particle trapped in some kind of computersystem. The streets being streams of data rushing relentlessly through the motherboard. On the way to midtown the houses become ever larger and you seem to be more and more irrelevant, a lost particle in a perfectly structured system. After some time you reach the square shaped central park which looks like the green chip on the motherboard. The last refuge of mother nature on the island of Manhattan gives you a break and you may reflect upon the differences to European cities. By comparison they seem more naturally grown, shaped by history and necessity with dwindling roads and overgrown parks, more human and less grid like. They are designed as well of course, but their artificiality seems to be hidden behind history, individuality and to be more human in size. But if the buildings seem to touch the sky and the roads are endless grids everything may be possible in the end and that’s the secret of the so called American dream: To escape the motherboard, to be more than a nameless particle, you need to find a way through the grid and climb the sky.

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New York in Winter

Travelling to New York in April you notice that it’s still much colder there than in Europe. There was a major blizzard right before we arrived in 2018 (the last one in the season), and the mood in the city was rather grim. Though it’s not a bad time to visit the city as it was not as packed as I usually imagine it to be. There were some quiet moments to have, even in busy Manhattan. Time to look around and observe the last moments of winter right before the dawn of spring.

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