I don't know how much of it is tax money and how much of it is dimes from schoolchildren and grants from gazillionaires, but I'm sure you'll be, as the late Hubert Horatio Humphrey was wont to say, "as pleased as punch" that the FDR Memorial is nearing completion at the southern tip of -- where else -- Roosevelt Island in the East River off Manhattan. Or perhaps you'll find it annoying.
Like so many of these all-modern, grandiose pieces of fluff, this one will feature a big, empty nothing, a vast and roofless room of stone lapped 'round by the swirling river; a place where, one supposes, "a traveller from an antique land might" lean upon his shovel -- and despair. "Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, the lone and level waters stretch far away."
--Maybe it's just me, but I'm starting to get a little sick of the fad for empty spots in the landscape with some cryptic and psuedosophisticated allusions to something happening or some famous dead person, bereft of context and chosen, as nearly as I can tell, on the basis of Nazi war criminal Albert Speer's esthetic of "ruin value." (I am reminded that Gutzon Borglum's plans for Mt. Rushmore included a well-protected artificial cavern explaining who was portrayed and why -- yeah, that didn't get built as planned, either, though some effort was made in '98 to leave the future a hint). We can do better than this; we will leave our distant descendants unintentional enigmas enough without going out of our way to create them.
YANKEE RADIO TOOL KIT, #106
4 weeks ago