Monday, July 20, 2009

Dumpster Diving 2.0 and "What is New York City?"

Today, the NYTimes came out with an article talking about something I came across last week. It re-sparked some thoughts.

First written about here at Ready Made, some designers have started turning old dumpsters into pools, hidden away in the cracks of the city for a small, select group of people.

The New York Times ran the story today, citing Ready Made's original story about the dumpsters. I love this part:

After Mr. Weyland gave an interview to ReadyMade, the D.I.Y. design magazine, two weeks ago, breathless coverage and links began appearing all over the blogosphere. Soon the location was decoded. One post led to people standing on the roofs of cars in a nearby lot, snapping photos, Mr. Weyland said with an eye roll.

Who wouldn't want to get in on the action?!

Living in Princeton, I've been able to spend a bunch of my weekends in the city with friends. I've never lived in the city, but NYC's glamour as tourist destination wore off years ago, and now I go in for a more "legit" thrill. In my mind, New York is very much two different cities: one for the tourists who can see the sites, eat at the restaurants, drink at the bars, sit in the parks. The other is for people that live there. Life in the city when you're visiting friends exists off the streets and in the air, in apartment buildings, behind the scenes, getting buzzed-in or greeting a doorman.

It's the second kind of city that I prefer, where you fade into the woodwork and rely on each other for entertainment, rather than searching for a shallow thrill in the city-scene. Bars and restaurants become a backdrop for gatherings of friends and family, rather than a novel experience of fun seats and fancy drinks.

When the night is over, you don't head back to a sterile hotel or squeeze into an outgoing train. You go back home, back up into the city where the night continues in the privacy of your own place in the skyline.

These dumpster pools are neat because they're tucked away for a few people to enjoy. It's exclusive, but that's not really the draw for me. It's the private, personal space; it's an urban oasis off above the streets.

But seriously, how can I get in on the action?

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