Bowery Unbuilding

I used to have this book when I was little called Unbuilding that told the fictional story of the Empire State Building’s intentional deconstruction. It was sold to some Middle Eastern folks and had to be taken apart piece by piece for shipping. Unfortunately the ship sank on its way across the Atlantic and the building was lost forever. The book’s incredibly interesting fictional plot combined with terrific non-fictional construction and architectural detail made it an interesting read for a young boy like myself.

I was reminded of that book today while watching the building directly across from my window at Indaba be unbuilt. Of course, I don’t think this building is being shipped to the Middle East, but as I sat mesmerized by the progress I remembered that taking something apart can be just as interesting as putting it together. If I may get sentimental for a minute, it also reminded me about how “unbuilding” can often be permanent and sad. In the book, the Empire State Building was lost forever, just as the view out my window will be forever changed. No deep commentary, just an observation.

2 thoughts on “Bowery Unbuilding

  1. I had a similar experience with my parents piano when my brothers and I took it apart with a sledgehammer. It was incredibly fascinating to see the precision and intricacy of the craftsmanship and particularly so as you took it apart. It also felt interesting to ruin something like that with a sledgehammer of all things… but the piano was beyond repair and had no good use – except now it lives on as the table in the Indaba living room!

  2. I had that same feeling when I was eating chicken the other day. It began whole as I started gently pulling and tearing at it. Tasting it’s flesh with my tounge, I began ripping at it – before cutting, chopping, yanking the meat right off the bone. When I was done with this meat-less extremity, I reflected…

    This ain’t no chicken no more…

    It was indeed sad.

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