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Are the Washington Square Tar Mounds, which last erupted in 1893, a threat to public safety? The Tar Mounds, the only known such natural formation on the east coast, have long fascinated visitors to the park. Oddly enough, the parks service, the city’s 311 information system and the National Society of Geological Phenomena (NSGP) make no mention of the Tar Mounds. And these potentially volatile formations have at one time even been used by skateboarders.

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In the relative geological calm of the last century plus, life has returned to reclaim some of the formerly barren landscape.

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The constant threat of eruption has prompted city officials to enclose the Tar Mounds, creating a safe boundary for viewing by throngs of thrill-seeking tourists.

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A construction site at the corner of W. Houston and Hudson Sts. The sign posted at the gates makes makes we wonder: what is the future of the city; why is it being built by the Dept. of Environmental Protection; and is this the proper way to use semicolons or am I just being pretentious?

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A pile of rusted pipes or braces.

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An activity center in the middle of all the construction.

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“Time was,” the old master said, “I could levitate a good 10-12 inches off the ground for minutes at a time while juggling a chainsaw, a bowling ball and a ripe olive.”

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A day of wandering the Village and Washington Square Park along the streets of NYU… among tattoo parlors, pizza joints, head shops and holes in the ground awaiting replacement buildings. Looking like a tourist with my cargo shorts, baseball cap and camera dangling from my neck.

Bleeker and Christopher, another corner with two facing empties.

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Sign in yet another closed video store window, a segment of business quickly being killed by online video, netflix and on demand video.

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http://alphainventions.com
http://condron.us

What defines a truly ugly building in a city with hundreds of thousands of buildings? A pristine modern structure with reflective surfaces and smooth edges can be decidedly ugly while a run down building layered with graffiti sprouting plants from cracks can be, in the context of the city, excruciatingly beautiful.

I offer the following as examples of ugly. You may disagree, but then, you’ve always been needlessly argumentative. This first one, with its exposed electrical components and bland circa cold era eastern bloc windowless walls….

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…and this with its rusting screened-in terrace-cum-gangway, without which, the building would remain unremarkable…

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…and what of this one? A monolith, is pure oddness distinguishes it. Its smudged white graffiti, cloying vines and peculiar miniature iron fence create an effect just crying to be marked by bar patrons too disoriented to find indoor plumbing.

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Maybe you’d like to enter a NYC ugly building into our contest. Send a photo submission (nothing larger than 200K please) to deficioscriptor@gmail.com.

And to view updated blogs in real-time, go to http://alphainventions.com or http://condron.us/.

St. Brigid’s Church, the oldest Keely church still standing in the US, has been closed since 2001. The Committee to Save St. Brigid’s Church has a website describing the condition of the church, photos of the interior, and their efforts to raise funds and restore the building.

The view across from Avenue B. Windows boarded, garbage accumulating on the steps.

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A pawlonia tree has taken root in a crack in the base of the building. These fast growing trees do a lot of damage, widening cracks, allowing more moisture to creep in.

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July 2009
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