Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Building With The Older Gods: Empire State Building, "Ground Zero" "Mosque" and Etc.

It has been quiet around the blog of late, I know. Just a few goofy videos and that one long What's It All Mean post from a few days back. I hear my public asking: David, where is the legendary fire in the belly? Where are the overlong and too-fervent exegeses on the myriad awfulnesses of Papa John and The Giant Rum-Glazed Pork Butt Known As Guy Fieri? Whither the searching examinations of your own random one-off writing goofs?

To all of this I can only say: calm down, America. The fire is still in the belly. It's just that the belly has been spending a ton of time on Metro North of late, helping the belly-owner's wife move into a new apartment in New Haven, CT. And also building some Ikea furniture. For this, the belly has been rewarded with a trip to lunch at Blue Hill at Stone Barns -- wedding gift certificate in effect, there, which made the cost a bit less ridiculous -- and a brief vacation from freelance-related anxiety. But the fire is there. The pride is back!

What an unbelievable American!

So, yeah: I have been doing husband things, and also briefly did some going-to-New-Hampshire-and-jumping-in-a-lake things, which was incredibly nice. But I've also done some writing stuff of late that -- because that is what this blog is supposed to be for -- I should mention here.

The first of these -- in that I started it first, and submitted my first draft like three and a half weeks ago -- is a piece in the Wall Street Journal about the greening of the windows in the Empire State Building. It was fun to report, although I keep bumping up against the fact that, despite all my years writing for (some) money, I have never really mastered the arid/informative news article style. This is not to say that my prose is just too vibrant and unforgettable for this sort of thing, so much as it is to say that I just lack confidence in my ability to write that sort of piece, and thus make it a lot harder than it probably is. Also that my prose is too vibrant and unforgettable for the strictures of the form. Anyway, this is why the good lord made editors, I suppose. At any rate, it's here, and has a neat video attached by Maya Pope-Chappell.

Of course, part of the fun of this stuff is being your own editor. Which is another way of saying "essentially writing without an editor." That's what I'm more or less able to do at GreenbuildingsNYC, where I'm both managing editor and head writer and (because why not) also shop steward and ombudsman and headwaiter. It's a great gig, in that regard. It's also great because I periodically get to pop off with 1,500-word pieces about Park51, the not-at-Ground-Zero non-mosque that every out-of-town clown and fame-humping media-bigot feels entitled to criticize. It's a non-story, in the end -- an opportunity for more un-reporting and corny SEO-ed link-whoring from a media that's essentially taking August off. But even though this whole dumb kerfuffle doesn't really matter -- doesn't matter relative to disaster in Pakistan, for instance, or really matter to many of us who actually live here in New York City -- it still has a certain importance as another chapter in New York's blessedly endless process of becoming itself. For many words on that -- almost all of which I'm proud of, despite my suspicion that an editor may have helped somewhat -- check out my piece on Park51 at gbNYC.

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