I’m working on an essay right now that’s about Montreal and New York — great old cities, both of them, on the same continent with so many of the same influences, and yet oh so unalike. This is my perennial obsession with Canada, I suppose: the ingredients are similar, but the dish that emerges from the kitchen is entirely different.
One aspect I’m dwelling on is tradition versus change, progress versus preservation. New York City has long had an uneasy relationship with preservation versus progress, and I suppose I do as well. I am mostly horrified by the K-Mart on Astor Place, for instance, and I love it when I encounter evidence of the city’s history intact, a brick building painted with a business name, say. But I’m not conservative, I’m progressive — which is to say I’m not only in favor of change, I think it’s inevitable and would not stand against it. Change is good, long live progress, that’s my motto. Hence, internal conflict. [And the essayist in me squeals: jackpot!]
Here’s a very short piece I wrote about progress versus preservation for Luxist a few months ago. The photo above is from the Henry Jones Art Hotel in Tasmania, Australia — a former jam factory and really one of the coolest hotels in the world. My review is here.