Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Eyes on the street

So my neighbor locked herself out of her house two doors down tonight, and her two-year-old is inside, thankfully occupied watching TV. We were having Chinese takeout when she rang the doorbell. I went over, surveyed the locked windows and doors, and discussed the options: breaking in (a sensitive subject these days in Boston), calling the police, or calling Broadway Locksmith in South Boston. I loaned her my phone and we opted for the latter and they were there in five minutes and the shaggy-haiored locksmith picked the lock in about a minute. This could have happened in a subdivision, I suppose, but our urban neighborhood, with the kids out on their scooters and us on our stoops, naturally made me think of Jane Jacobs, and the way that neighbors are around and close by in the city. "I owe you," the neighbor said. But not really. We're there for each other, just like the 75-year-old man next door shovels the snow in front of our house when in winter. It's our own kind of sidewalk ballet.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Jane Jacobs Way

The block between 11th and Perry Streets including 555 Hudson Street, Jane Jacobs' home from 1947 to 1968, has been renamed Jane Jacobs Way, the New York Times City Room blog reports. I submitted this comment: "I’ve spent a lot of time on this block researching a book I’ve written about Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses. I went into 555 Hudson Street and took some pictures out the second floor window. It’s a fascinating stretch of urbanism, and one marvels at how Jane Jacobs moved there in 1947, how the neighborhood has come to be some of the most desirable real estate anywhere, and how it’s beome a role model for human-scaled, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly environments that we could use alot more of these days."