[olympic torque]

 Topic: Around Town

The city today revealed the five finalist designs for the 2012 Olympic Village; if we host the big event, one of these (or something based on one of these, then beaten to a pulp by arguing developers) will be built on the waterfront in Queens, then turned into housing for 18,000 folks.

The designs raise some important questions about the future of New York.

Design 1: Will all new buildings in New York be torqued? Or will it only be the initial designs, followed by militant untorquing by greedy developers who want to build buildings that actually work?

Design 2: Is that supposed to spell something?

Design 3: Is that some kind of memorial for every plane that’s ever left a Queens airport and then crashed? It looks like a bunch of jetliner tailfins sticking up out of the beach — very Planet of the Apes, if a tad macabre.

Design 4: Ghost trees! Ghost joggers! Ghost cyclist! Is the idea that no matter what you do, Queens will end up with 1960s-style concrete bunker-buildings and vast depopulated spaces made all the lonelier by the swirling Key Food bags?

Design 5: If you answer questions correctly, do you get to collect these towers and put them into a giant pie and win the biggest game of Trivial Pursuit ever? Or are they just a bunch of ominous towers arranged in a pattern that specifically ignores everything we’ve learned about urban planning in the last 50 years? While Lower Manhattan is putting back the streets it ripped out back in the ’60s, Queens will be building itself some kind of windswept Brasilia-esque wasteland? If this design wins, expect to see residents dying of exposure on the long journey to the nearest bodega.

Also published on Medium.