No Palazzo Chupi in Bedford Falls

by Sandy Ikeda

Palazzo Chupi
(Photo by Erik J. Sommer)

This is artist and film-maker Julian Schnabel’s fantastical condo, “Palazzo Chupi,” a multi-story, candy-colored “palace” planted onto an old garage in the West Village in Manhattan. More on this in a moment. But first I’d like to talk about the Christmas classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. Continue reading

On corners: My father and Jane Jacobs

by Sandy Ikeda

Also in “The City” section of Sunday’s The New York Times is a fun article about city corners called “Cornerville” that details the intensity of life at a particular spot of urban convergence, the intersection of 23rd Street and 7th Avenue, near the famed Chelsea Hotel.  (Curiously, the article seems to just stop without really ending.)

Anyway, my late father often told me, when I was very young and more interested in real estate values than in studying cities, that it’s best to invest early in corner properties, whether in the city or country.  He prospered by following this strategy, but he didn’t explain why it worked.  Jane Jacobs does, sort of. Continue reading

Another side of Mumbai

by Sandy Ikeda

Because of their location, Dharavi’s residents have been locked for years in a tug of war with government officials who look hungrily at such choice land and dream their own dreams of reincarnation.  If the officials get their way, the slum will be demolished and reborn as a gleaming collection of high-rise apartments, office towers and manicured parks. Residents who arrived before 2000 would be re-housed elsewhere in Dharavi in small flats of 225 square feet – smaller than a suburban American garage – while an influx of richer folk and big companies would turn the area into one of Mumbai’s fashionable addresses.

But many who live here take fierce pride in a community that they and their families built, for some over several generations, with little help from the state. They refuse to be uprooted without a fight.

This is from an article published last September 8th in the Los Angeles Times called “Dharavi, India’s largest slum, eyed by Mumbai developers” about the ethnically and religiously diverse community in the heart of Mumbai (formerly Bombay), the site of terrible violence today. Continue reading