austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

So keep it up, quench my desire

The New York Times has a fairly neat-looking and recently completed skyscraper in Manhattan, just across the street from the Port Authority Bus Terminal. It's reasonably attractive, I suppose, for that sort of thing. They consider it as being not too far off Times Square, I suppose placing it in the Greater Times Square Metropolitan Region. Anyway, the thing is it's got a bit of attention because a couple of weeks back two people climbed the outside of the building -- separately, a couple of hours apart from each other and apparently in unconnected efforts -- and then just this past day another guy did it.

The motives of these climbers have apparently been mostly to hang banners that nobody would actually read, but I think the real motive is that it's just an incredibly climbable building. See, the exterior of the skyscraper is bordered by slender, white, horizontal rules that are pretty closely spaced together, so that nobody inside has a remotely clear view of anything outside. Actually, I believe the intent is that from the outside the building's faces should have a gray-and-white ruling resembling that of a newspaper page. (Newspaper pages were a method of information distribution popular in the United States from 1835 to 1963, and have been occasionally produced since then by journalism enthusiasts and reenactors.)

The point is, the buildings are surrounded with an irresistible set of ladder-like paneling. It practically begs people to climb it and at least three people have given in to the temptation. Frankly, I think the newspaper and city officials upset at all this climbing are really just annoyed they didn't realize how much they'd be able to raise by putting a designated entry spot and charging $25 to see how high you can get in fifteen minutes.

Trivia: The modern newspaper The New York Times was at least the eighth of that name (or The New York Daily Times) started since 1813. Source: The Paper: The Life And Death Of The New York Herald Tribune, Richard Kluger.

Currently Reading: The Guns of August, Barbara W Tuchman.

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