Details, details, NYC edition

DSCN1604Manhattan at its best may be seen at that level of scale – the very small, the small and the submedium – that modern architecture eliminates almost entirely from its works. That’s why modernism is impressive only from a distance, because only then do its medium-sized features seem small and its small features offer some offset to blankness. (But it does not really fool any eye, practiced or unpracticed.) Nikos Salingaros writes of how architecture to be good must indulge every level of scale – our biological imperatives demand it – the ones that have promoted our instinct for survival through the intuitive analysis of detail, the footprint of the tiger, say, for eons. That’s why we love New York’s old buildings, with details high and low, ornate and mundane. So here are some loving shots of those lovable details that we perceive with an interest that slices to our core being:


About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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