Frank Lloyd Wright was first approached about the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Art in June of 1943. Wright's masterpiece was completed in 1959. It is now a cultural icon. Even if someone doesn't like art, the building is a must see on a trip to New York. And photographers love it because it is such a striking form, which is why the food cart vendors should be kicked off the block. They simultaneously obscure, obstruct, and diminish the building with their carts of crap. Couldn't they be relocated to the park side of Fifth Avenue, or a block down the street? Do we really need another place to buy a pretzel, hot dog or Halal chicken in New York City? I think not
The Metropolitan Museum of Art suffers from the same clutter, which is a shame given the 2014 renovation of the plaza in front of the museum, which came at a cost of $65 million. According to the New York Times, much of the food truck blight is rooted in a scam. Apparently, New York City vending regulations contain a provision that favors disabled veterans. In some cases, the carts are operated by veterans, but in many, the carts are operated by commercial concerns that hire a disabled veteran to act as their beards.
In 2010, the Guggenheim tried to address the problem by requesting authorization from the City Landmarks Preservation Commission to build a permanent food kiosk in front of the Wright building. The request was denied because, according to Robert B. Tierney, then chairman of the commission, "It detracts from the landmark and causes it to compete with the main building." OK, I won't argue with that, but what about the food carts and merchants of tomorrow's garage sale.
Visual clutter is a big problem. We also have it in Chicago. Food trucks now park on the plaza that holds the famed Picasso statue in front of the Richard J. Daley Center. I don't Pablo had those in mind when he donated the statue to the People of Chicago back in the Sixties.
Copyright 2016, Jack B. Siegel. All Rights Reserved