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May 3, 2006
a-z tv sub i

I didn't think I could still have my heart broken by impending loss
but this mansion on Queen Anne slated for immediate demolition
made me sad. Sure, it's a monument to unfettered capitalism and
selfish overindulgence, but man was this thing put together. Even
after having been divided into 5 apartments (extra kitchens), and now
gutted and wrecked after rounds of asbestos abatement, the essential
charm, grace and craft of its construction still showed through. High
, huge windows, the elegant curves of the grand staircase--
everything about it bespoke patience and imagination. Add to that
the salt air and panoramic views, the subtle profile of brick facade.

We were there to salvage a back bar from a Gatsbyesque parlor.
(This home would have fit in on the North Shore of Long Island--
I wonder who built it.) What people with aristocratic pretensions had
peered into their drunken distorted reflections in the curved glass?

Later, elsewhere, we saw a trackhoe tearing down a tree. Across the
street a block-sized hole promising a disposeable future. Density is
good, but the lack of imagination in new construction will deaden the
spirits of those who live within. Such small windows resemble prison....