The exhibition "Harlem 1970-2009: Photographs by Camilo José Vergara," opens at the New-York Historical Society on April 30, but you can see Vergara's photos anytime at his "Invincible Cities" website. The Chilean-born photographer's multi-decade project is an important contribution to the way we think about urban architecture, and a treasure trove for those whose only image of New York in the 1970s comes from a grainy print of The French Connection.
May is National Preservation Month at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and to celebrate, they've rolled out a new online project called "This Place Matters." The idea is to bring the Trust's mission of protecting the nation's most important historic buildings and neighborhoods to the masses, allowing people in less famous places to document and celebrate their own most cherished spots.
One of the wonderful things about living in an unhinged time is that no one has any clue what's cool anymore. When we're all trying to keep our heads above water, any idea for making life better is worth a look. Case in point: the PUMA concept vehicle, recently revealed at the New York Auto Show. PUMA stands for "Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility Project," a fancy acronym for a geeky all-electric rickshaw jointly developed by GM and Segway – the most unlikely corporate partnership this side of Cheez-Whiz and Lipitor.
If the Great Recession has an unofficial mascot, it's Detroit. Even though the once-mighty Motown has been in a slow-motion death-spin since the days of the K-car, the city's abandoned factories and hollowed-out neighborhoods have lately been rediscovered as metaphors for the failures of capitalism -- and the hopefulness of art.