Posted by: lornasass | September 14, 2009



Whenever I walk past the staircase jutting out of the south side of the newly renovated Alice Tully Hall, I find myself wondering if it’s one of the ugliest architectural tricks I’ve seen, or one of the most fetching.  My opinion swings back and forth, changing by the moment and in response to the human drama taking place on the stairs.

On the one hand, the stairway detracts from the drama of the elegant, new facade of the recital hall:


On the other hand, it’s obvious that people who don’t even know they’re in front of a world-famous recital hall love the staircase and take pleasure in relaxing there or running up and down, just to say they’ve done it.


Like our much maligned, much beloved subway, The Staircase to Nowhere is a very democratizing element of New York City life.  Everyone’s invited to the party, it’s free, and you can stay as long as you like.


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