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November 12, 2005

More Songs About Buildings and Food
Posted by John M. Ford at 02:10 AM * 20 comments

[Sorry this took so long. Other Stuff to Do.]

Come on along and listen to
The whisper of the Flatiron
The rhapsody in downtown blue
The whisper of the Flatiron
The lonesome flute that plays your tune
Whenever you have been low
Picks up its voice and starts to croon
Outside Teresaís window
Itís a soft and soulful harmony
With traffic for percussion
An old Manhattan melody
That lingers on
Down on Broadway
Crosstown crossdrafts sing it low
Vortex at play
Paper dances from below, hey!

All the toys and Tors are gathered there,
The whisper of the Flatiron
The pigeons crap in Greeley Square,
The whisper of the Flatiron
On the nitrate film from long ago
You see the windswept dandies
The fashions change, the skirts still blow,
Though now itís salwar kameez
When Monroe stood on that subway grate
You only heard a whistle
And the pennies off the Empire State
Are here and gone
Good-night Broadway
Good-night, watch the streetlights sway
To the subway
Hear just what the buildings say
In the urban pastoral the Flatiron plays

Comments on More Songs About Buildings and Food:
#1 ::: Zander ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2005, 04:39 AM:

Ah. Memories of "How Much For Just The Planet?"

#2 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2005, 06:49 AM:

Hats off again to Master Mike.

#3 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2005, 06:51 AM:

By the way, why does Tom Doherty keep the air conditioning on even during winter? (Teresa said something about that in the earlier Flatiron thread.)

#4 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2005, 10:34 AM:

I mentioned this a couple weeks ago deep in Open Thread 52, but it might be worth repeating here, now that it's actually relevant to the conversation:

The nitrate film of "At the Foot of the Flatiron Building" is now available on polycarbonate DVD.

#5 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2005, 10:50 AM:

'By the way, why does Tom Doherty keep the air conditioning on even during winter?'
well I've got the fan running right now, and it's pretty darn cold.

#6 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2005, 11:08 AM:

But why, Bryan, why? Inquiring minds want to know.

#7 ::: Mike ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2005, 11:44 AM:

They-ey-ey asked me how I knew
Flatiron whispers blew
Oh-ah-oh-oh-oh, I of course replied
Something in my ears cannot be denied

They-ey-ey said someday you'll find
Car smog makes you blind
Oh-ah-oh-oh-oh, when the Flatiron whispers
You must realize
You must close your eyes

So I chaffed them and I gaily laughed
Don't tell me it's just my iPod
Yet today my hat has flown away
Don't tell me I'm being schizoid

Now institution walls will hide
Truths you can't abide
Oh-ah-oh-oh-oh, so I smile and say
Pass my medication
So Flatiron whispers may die

#8 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2005, 11:54 AM:

Did the Flatiron make it into On the Town's famous musical number when Kelly, Sinatra and Muchin are signing their way pat various landmarks of New York? (I could go look on my DVD but then I'd have to watch the whole thing and I keep it for special occasions, such as Sept 11.)

#9 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2005, 12:20 PM:

'But why, Bryan, why? Inquiring minds want to know.'

well basically it comes down to laziness. see a long time ago I took apart one of my computers and modded it with a lego casing. but then recently I decided to take all that apart, by recently I guess I mean a month and a half ago. so then without the casing it is just a loose collection of electrical boards and wiring, with a tendency to overheat. so I have the fan pointed at it and set on medium. The idea is that at some point I want to build a lego rack mount system, and then I can change the cooling, but as mentioned above - lazy.

actually now that I think of it there are about ten other things I need to do that are much more important than fixing this, I guess I will avoid doing all of them first.

anyway it stays nice and cool.

#10 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2005, 12:39 PM:

'By the way, why does Tom Doherty keep the air conditioning on even during winter?'

These days, there's enough heat-producing equipment (in most offices to need it unless the outside temperatures drop very low. Not sure if one can still open the windows or not, but it probably wouldn't be v. comfortable to keep them open in the winter, anyhow.

#11 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2005, 01:27 PM:

Not one of the office buildings in Hawai'i has a song written about it, as far as I know. However, they share one trait: the architects followed the Mainland trend and built 30-story buildings whose windows can't be opened. In Hawai'i!

#12 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2005, 01:28 PM:

Jeez... This makes Tom Doherty's office sound like the appartment of the math genius in the movie PI.

#13 ::: Scott Lynch ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2005, 02:25 PM:

Apropos of absolutely nothing on this thread, John, I just wanted to say that I read The Dragon Waiting a week or two ago and had a really, really good time with it.

#14 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2005, 02:26 PM:

Bryan, the leggo casing for your computer reminds me of a desktop on display at a nearby computer-repair store where they also cobble their own for sale: one of them loks like the gas tank of a motorcycle - and it's bright red too.

If I trusted myself with electronics, I might try making one with transparent walls so that it'd look like the robot that pilots Gerry Anderson's starship Fireball XL-5.

#15 ::: I. ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2005, 02:35 PM:

Why air-condition in winter? If the Flatiron's steam heat is anything like it is in the building where I work, which is around the corner, it makes perfect sense. The office gets too hot by noon, and there's no way to turn the radiators off. If your windows happen to face south, as well (ours do), you're outright broiled.

We keep all our windows open as far as we can without our papers blowing away, and hoo-boy, do we wish we could turn on the A/C. It's been at least 85 degrees every day for the last week--hot enough that we have trouble focusing, hot enough that my officemate gets headaches, hot enough that every half hour or so someone (usually me) exclaims, "God DAMN, it's hot in here!" When you step in from the corridor, where it's about twenty degrees cooler, you can feel the shimmering wall of heat. It's disgusting.

#16 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2005, 02:09 AM:

I think that was me, Serge, not Teresa. I was Tom's assistant for almost five years. Tom's metabolism is very efficient: he's always too hot. Mine is sluggish; I'm always cold. We got along splendidly except in matters of temperature. With the Flatiron's old windows there was a lot of draft, and the building was that weird NYC combination of drafty and overheated. Tom would frequently run his air conditioner in the winter; I, seated outside Tom's office at my desk, would load up on shawls and scarves as the icy air drifted out to my desk in the hall--where my big, leaky window permitted all the winds roaring down 5th Avenue to leak in. (The fact that my desk was in the hall, where there were no walls to trap the heat and keep me warm, was a factor.) So, yes. Sometimes in the winter Tom kept his a/c on. I don't know if he still does, but I do know that he still wears short sleeved shirts and sport jackets on snowy days.

#17 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2005, 08:08 AM:

I've seen some buildings that should be knocked down:
The Guggenheim looks like a dogturd downtown,
There's that woodlouse in Glasgow, the Cube gives me fits,
But the Opera House is the pits.

It looks like the teeth that got stripped from a saw,
A handful of toenails dumped down by the shore,
And the inside and outside are no way akin,
Its only a box with fins.

Dear old Danish Utzon drew a pretty plan,
And sold it right up to the hilt,
But though the sails were mighty, he quite impolitely
Forgot to say that it couldn't be built.

Useless in function and ornate in style,
Each time there's a high wind, we have to retile.
Every tile is a one-off, not one other fits.
Oh the Opera House is the pits.

#18 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2005, 09:24 AM:

However, they share one trait: the architects followed the Mainland trend and built 30-story buildings whose windows can't be opened. In Hawai'i!

My brother spent some time, several years ago, in Hawa'ii on business. At one point, he described the hotel room he was in as 'you could hang your hat on the breeze coming through the walls'. Whether the windows opened or not was another matter not discussed.

There is at least one office building in downtown LA with openable windows. I've seen them throwing desk calendar sheets (the little ones) out the window at New Year's. Those little pages can go a long way.

#19 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2005, 10:27 AM:

Thanks, Madeleine. Now I know that Tom Doherty doesn't suffer from the same affliction as Mister Freeze.

#20 ::: Lonna ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2008, 07:04 PM:

Can anyone help me? I am looking for a poem John worte in a book called How much for just the planet. It is one about a princess who wants to marry a normal guy and is bored with all the suitors that have been sent to her so far. There is suposed to be another one about an accountant??? Any one know whaere I can find these poems/ prose?? online??? Thanks. Lonna

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