Stand at the edge of any city and close your eyes. Now open them. What do you see?... Read More →
For the first week of April I walked Paris.
My friend and I would greet the morning with a pan au chocolat, piecing together our agenda for the day before we strolled and meandered through this city of light, paying homage to monuments, memorials, museums, and memory. As hours chased the sun away, we would look back at our pictures and take notes, trying to capture the moments, ideas, and conversations we’d had just hours before.
Last month I wrote of the return, of re-visiting places you have already experienced and looking at them through the lens of life experience. In my case it involved two trips -- one to Paris and another to New Orleans, two cities rich in the tangible layers of the past.
Now that I have returned home I am left reflecting -- thinking how to document, preserve, and contain the taste, smell, and the feeling of being in two cities with so much character -- while understanding that no two visitors see a place in the same way.... Read More →
La pyramide du Louvre (The Louvre Pyramid) rises from Cour Napoléon in the central courtyard of Musée du Louvre.
I recently spotted this great piece about re-reading books that we loved. Author Guy Gavriel Kay says, “There's an anxiety I feel when picking up a book I loved when young, preparing to read it again. I think it has to do with how we define ourselves, in part, by what we've loved. Books (not only books, of course) that reach deeply into us at twelve or seventeen or twenty-two shape the person we see ourselves as being.”
Substitute “book” with “historic places,” and his words still resonate. Some of my first experiences with history went hand-in-hand with family vacations. We would always take a two-three day stop in a European city on our way to Mumbai, or embark on road trips around the United States. I know for other people that these memories sprouted from post-college graduation escapes, the last summer before work and life kicked in. These were the trips that helped fashion our opinions about the world beyond the comfort of our hometowns.
But what if you had a chance to go back?... Read More →
New York Hall of Science
February is an admirable month. Long past the tinkle of holiday cheer, it encourages gatherings near the hearth, warm drinks in hand, with vistas of hibernating landscapes and stillness. Yet it can feel hum-drum, too; long past the eagerness of a New Year, it becomes a revolving door of sleep, work, eat, sleep.
Thankfully, my February wasn’t completely devoid of historical inspiration:... Read More →
Local preservationists at Buffalo's Central Terminal.
Look at last year’s resolution, for example:
My 2012 Preservation Resolution is to not back down, to be inventive, to be engaged, and to look outside every box to find workable solutions in a challenging environment. For 2012 I vow to make connections and find tools that will allow preservationists to be all that they can be -- to turn opportunity into something tangible.
It could be that my resolutions are increasingly aspirational, and thus a little broader. But to look at it another way, my resolutions increasingly commit me to taking a stand, to changing minds and changing hearts -- not just with one action, but with a whole year of actions, one at a time.... Read More →