Friday, January 12, 2007

Samuel Rea: OMOM Essay 20

"About the Subject" in Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan focuses on the rise and fall of Pennsylvania Station. In the first decade of the 20th c. Rea supervised Penn Station's design and construction; a model of it stands at his side in this sculpture. (See photo.) Its demolition by the Pennsylvania Railroad in the early 1960s led to the creation of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, one of New York’s more intrusive restrictions on private property rights. Why a major corporation would wantonly destroy such an architectural gem had always puzzled me. I was indignant (but not tremendously surprised) to learn that we ought to be blaming the demolition on the government rather than the PRR.

"About the Sculpture" compares this sculpture of Rea to a description of him in the New York Times, and tells of the sculpture's original setting in Pennsylvania Station.

The version of the Rea essay that appeared in Forgotten Delights: The Producers is available as a sample essay on the Forgotten Delights site.

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