Steam comes out of our long-suffering editor’s ears every time she hears the word starchitect, which may be why we didn’t make it to the Forum for Urban Design’s recent panel discussion, “A Critical Situation: What to Make of Starchitecture, and Who to Blame For It?” But, we are heartily sorry we missed it. According to our tipster, before the evening’s debate began, critics Karrie Jacobs, Philip Nobel, and Brits Jeremy Melvin and Rowan Moore were chatting with moderator Joseph Grima of Storefront, when a young man came up and asked, “Which of you is Philip Nobel?” After identifying himself, the former Eavesdropper was given a missive in T-shirt form and specific instructions: “Frank Gehry wants you to wear this tonight.” Why, you ask, would America’s favorite architect concern himself with the sartorial choices of young Nobel? Well, the T-shirt was printed “F**k Frank Gehry,” so perhaps the message was subtler than the shirt. When called for details, Nobel said he hadn’t spoken with the architect in years, but suspected that the gesture had something to do with a less-than-wowed column he wrote on Gehry’s IAC building. The annoyance isn’t mutual: of his shirt, Nobel said, “I’m wearing it right now!”
JUST LIKE KETCHUP IS A VEGETABLE…
We heard that Rohit Aggarwala, the planner Mayor Bloomberg tapped to head up PlaNYC, may be regressing to a Reagan-era mindset when defining what is and what isn’t a park. One of the initiative’s goals is that by the year 2030, every New Yorker will live within 10 minutes of a park. At a Forum for Urban Design conference on March 27, our tree-hugging source raised his eyebrows when Aggarwala gave this definition: "A 10-minute walk to a park could include public space that’s made park-like," perhaps including Times Square or Herald Square. Since when did a lone tree catching trash mean park?
I’LL BE THERE FOR YOU
“These five words I swear to you…” Jon Bon Jovi wasn’t kidding when he promised that to the world in 1988. As Habitat for Humanity’s first-ever Ambassador, the power ballad-penning rock icon has redirected his networking prowess— once employed in cornering the pop-metal market—to helping the housing challenged. Since funding six houses in Philadelphia in 2005, Mr. Bon Jovi has been bringing those with money together with those who are, ahem, livin’ on a prayer. Recently, the former hairspray enthusiast teamed with Delta Airlines to help complete two Habitat projects in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. On two chilly mornings in early April, Jon actually got his hands dirty along side members of his AFL team, The Philadelphia Soul, and 40 Delta employees, working on the site of a nine-unit, three-story condo complex at the corner of Halsey Street and Marcus Garvey Boulevard. Our mole in the area was unable to determine the exact nature of labor that Bon Jovi performed, though he swears to overhearing a rousing gospel rendition of “Keep the Faith.”
SALVATION COMES IN MANY FORMS
And for those of you scratching your heads for inspiration, never fear! Help is on the way, and from an unexpected quarter. According to a press release from the Storefront for Art and Architecture that landed in our inbox the other day, they are holding a party for a new book from Petra Blaisse called Inside Out/Petra Blaisse. But wait—this is clearly no ordinary book, but a hardbound messiah. “The book will be of interest to architects…and has the potential to give new impetus to the whole architectural field.” Indeed! New impetus to the whole field? We’ll take two copies!