From Cityscapes

Trump hates literature!

This is what has befallen the Little Free Library near my house since it was erected by the Mass Historical Society about two months ago.

  1. Its glass door was broken.
  2. Its replacement Plexiglas door was broken.
  3. Its replacement cellophane door was ripped from the staples.
  4. A large quantity of water was dumped into the library, damaging its floor as well as the books inside.

Who does this to a little free library? Who?

(a) Drunken Red Sox fans?
(b) Trump!

I consulted T, who replied, “I’m thinking either someone who hates libraries, or someone who hates free things. An illiterate capitalist.”

Me: A nice segue into the title of this post.
T: It could be someone who hates little things too.

Alison and the Number One bus

At a Fenway literary evening in April, I read with my publisher Letta and another writer-neighbor, Alison Barnet. I had never met Alison in person before, though I knew her name. She seems quiet at first but has fiery opinions. I took home a copy of her book, South End Character: Speaking Out On Neighborhood Change, and was delighted with its deft mix of the graceful and acerbic. Here she is reflecting on public transit: Read more

Dormitory rising

I’ve mentioned the college dorm going up across the street. For a long time it was just a hole. When you’re building a building, it turns out, the hole is the biggest part. I didn’t know that. But now the structure is taking shape, and much as I despise the whole project, it’s fascinating to open my eyes each morning and find that the level of men, like the sea level, has risen in the night. It’s like they’re what they’re making is not a building but a small civilization evolving upward at great speed, a series of landscapes supplanting each other in a brace of steel, across which they walk daily like well-balanced gods.

The sky

After ten years in this bedroom I recently moved my bed next to the window. Now when I lie down I can feel the night breeze on my face, and when I wake up in the morning I can see over the nearby rooftops to the sunrise. I love being so close to but removed from the street. It’s always been true in this bedroom that you can hear someone tapping a cigarette out of a soft pack on opposite sidewalk, but now I’m really right in among the sounds of the party trolley and the barflies and the skateboarders and the panhandlers and the students who are so happy to be young and the person preaching at seven in the morning (this only happened once) and the one who whistles like a mockingbird just after dawn (this happens every day). Don’t get me wrong, I hate certain kinds of disruptive noise—idling trucks, for example, and let’s not talk about saxophones—but by and large the noise of my neighborhood is okay with me.

The local college is building a sixteen-story dorm outside my bedroom window. Read more

Too bad! Too bad!

Brickfrog didn’t put this bit in, but I read it over his shoulder.

From Brick: A Monthly Record of the World’s Progress in Clayworking, January, 1910:

TOO BAD! TOO BAD!

On September 1st the large 3-story concrete construction, beer-storage building of the Haunstein Brewing Co., New Ulm, Minn., collapsed. There were some narrow escapes, but no one was killed. Read more

“Glorious rubble”

There are urban spelunkers among us. See what brickfrog is up to!

The world is moving very fast, but brickfrog helps it slow down. He is steadfastly searching through hundreds of pages of turn-of-the-century (last century) primary sources on Google Books to bring you the very non-latest information on the building blocks of our city. Check out the amazing table in this post, showing, among other things, the number of “children who can not read or write English” employed by various firms.