Monday, October 18, 2010

☞ WALK: The New State Office Building Plaza

We noticed that some of the plywood has recently gone down at the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building at ACP/7th and 125th Street. Besides the newly polished statue, there's a contrasting pathway that curves towards the main entrance of the building and some slight alterations.  It would seem that there's less seating on site since the low wall at the left of the statue has since been removed to be replaced by a row of speed guards.  There's still some plywood up further back so maybe there will be more additions to the plaza in the future.


  1. I guess some trees and flower planters are out of the question. . .

    Lord but that building is hideous and that barren windswept plaza just makes it so much worse.

  2. SM: Apparently the dead hand of the Soviet architects who designed this place is still too powerful to overcome, even today.

    Some trees would indeed be nice -- my suspicion would be that there is underground infrastructure that may limit that option, however.

  3. @CBR—Is it wrong that the statue of Adam Clayton Powell makes me snicker?

    Yeah, probably right about the trees but good lord they could think of SOMETHING to prize it from the cold dead hand of the Soviet architects. (Sssshhh—they might be listening‚)

  4. SM:
    Glad to know I'm not the only one. Even without getting into anything about the man himself, I'd say the statue easily crosses the line into self-parody.

    I mean, we're talking about the kind of quasi-totalitarian hero worship that would make even a real dictator blush (in North Korea, he'd at least be hoisting up a few children or leading some proles up to that "higher ground"). In terms of its symbolism, the statue strikes a rather schizophrenic pose between a sort of imagined triumph of Randian individualism, and the far more collectivist and filial bonds of race, class, and party to which we truly owe the existence of the plaza.

    Of course, one can't blame Mr. Powell himself for his being deified by a modern-day crop of politicians whose strengths do not exactly include self-awareness, humility, or subtlety (bear in mind this thing was erected in 2005). The irony, of course, is the degree to which the general public is almost completely indifferent.

  5. @CBR—I’d compliment you on your intelligent and well thought out comments but ’m too indifferent.

  6. Sadly, I've had to deal often with problems at the ACP plaza 'cause I live right across the street.

    The rennovations are immaterials at the windswept plaza is simply Harlem's urinal. It's impossible to look at the window for more than an hour -- day or night -- and not seem men and women urinating, often against the 'art mural' on the East wall.

    Add to that, building security takes no responsiblity for what goes on in the plaza. Drummers badger residents with unending noise, sometimes until very late at night.

    The politicians in the building are indifferent to these problems -- I've been to the offices of Dickens, Perkins and Rangel -- and have been met with sneering indifference. (Perkins' aide, a guy named William Clay, said people in Harlem don't have to obey laws that run counter to its culture!)

    Needless to say -- an improvements have a long way to go.