Good Guys

Clearly the rhythm of writing has eluded me lately, but once we submit drawings to the Buildings Department for the project I’m working on at the beginning of next month, I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things. Everything’s fine, though (no worries, Mom!), just busybusybusy. In the mean time, though, a brief ode to the mysterious shelters by the bay that I wrote about last time:

Paul and I decided to name the two shelters on Flushing Bay Castor and Pollux, since we’re not sure if they’re actual Candela Structures (as the plaque nearby claims) or just ersatz Candela Structures. Despite the persistant and frustrating history mystery surrounding them (most of our queries to experts are answered with variations of “we’d love to hear what you find out!”), our Dioscuri are compelling, somehow. Everyone we’ve talked to who has seen them is intrigued (though apparently not intrigued enough to actually research them), I think in part because the shapes are so powerfully optimistic. Sure as a comic book, clear as the happy ending from a children’s storybook, these buildings are meant to live in a world where the good guys have triumphed. And yes, relentless optimism can become cheesy, but somehow the simplicity and truth of these forms (hyperbars/ruled surfaces, for you geometricians out there) is braver than that—and though I can’t prove it, I suspect they may be the oldest extant fiberglass structures in New York City.

Candela Structures: A History Mystery

It’s kind of amazing how much hope and history is bound up in these two small structures. They stand at a fulcrum of history, of technology, and of urban identity. So, yes, I am going to keep working to get to the bottom of the mystery (please write back, Mrs. Candela!), but regardless of how much or how little I discover Castor and Pollux are still important landmarks in my book.



This entry was posted on Thursday, February 19th, 2009 and is filed under architecture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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