Archive for the ‘City Pattern Project’ Category

In which The Gay Recluse becomes increasingly obsessed with bamboo. We planted bamboo a few years ago in a cement planter we constructed along the back of our garden. The concept is that it’ll grow about 100 feet tall and block out the apartment buildings behind us. It’s also hardy to Zone 4, which means […]


In which The Gay Recluse refines his message somewhat.* According to Wikipedia, the rooftop of the Stephansdom in Vienna contains over 230,000 tiles. Some days we wish we could count every single one. *We published an earlier version of this post and later realized we probably should have let it season a bit. Oh well, […]


In which The Gay Recluse becomes increasingly obsessed with tiled rooftops.* According to Wikipedia, the rooftop of the Stephansdom in Vienna contains over 230,000 tiles. It was originally built in the Middle Ages and then — after it was destroyed by fire at the end of WWII — rebuilt in 1952 with the help of […]


In which The Gay Recluse becomes increasingly obsessed with old bricks. When we are born, our souls are encased in ice. At some point, some of this ice might thaw, leaving us exposed in ways both good and bad. It would be naive to think that anyone could emerge from this without some damage, although […]


In which The Gay Recluse freezes to death. It goes without saying that nothing is black and white. But at the moment it feels like nothing is gray, either. It’s more like there are layers of perception, some of which are made of iron, and some of which will melt away.


In which The Gay Recluse goes to Paris. One thing that never seems to change in Paris: the booksellers — les bouquinistes —┬áthat line the banks of the Seine. These are the ones who operate out of those green metal boxes that sit atop the balustrade. Obviously this could never exist in the United States; […]


In which The Gay Recluse dreams of decorating garden walls and office spaces. While in Vienna, we visited the Secession Building. According to Wikipedia: “The Vienna Secession was founded on 3 April 1897 by artists Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser, Josef Hoffmann, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Max Kurzweil, Otto Wagner, and others…In 1898, the group’s exhibition house […]


In which The Gay Recluse finds remnants of the 1860s 1960s. It’s difficult to write about a city of the past without succumbing to nostalgia, given the grandeur of the dead monuments that have survived and the (philosophical) certainty that no time is worse to be alive than the present. Some friends of ours came […]


In which The Gay Recluse remembers life as an indie rocker. After obsessing about the Hipster Runoff review of TV on the Radio for the past two days, we realized that it had sent us into a retroactive identity crisis. It was as if it were fifteen years ago, and we were just starting a […]


In which The Gay Recluse reaches into the mailbag. Today we received a letter from Reader J___ B___: I agree with the reader who took exception the the multiple image thing. One pic is fine, write what you want beneath it. A finger to me, and I’ll never bother with you again. J____ B____ is […]


In which The Gay Recluse becomes increasingly obsessed with the George Washington Bridge. For most of us, repetition is an unavoidable facet of modern life; we might even go as far as to say that it’s been like this as long as we have lived in one village or town or city. When we were […]


In which The Gay Recluse considers a southern exposure. Admittedly, we have often cursed the apartment buildings that face the southern side of our garden. In addition to casting a shadow, they are sometimes the source of crushingly loud (and bad) music and garbage thrown from their windows. Also, it’s hard to escape the feeling […]


In which The Gay Recluse remembers the fall. This weekend we visited family and spent time remembering what a weirdly obsessive kid we were in many ways, some of which involved books about birds and spiders, others of which involved stuffed animals, and still others of which involved a crippling fear of birthday parties. Perhaps […]


In which The Gay Recluse cooks. Yesterday we went for a walk in the rain, in part because we wanted to check out what was happening uptown, and in part because none of the grocery stores around us carry the curly parsley that we needed for the lentil soup we planned to make. We’ve been […]


In which The Gay Recluse sees stars. So the other day we ran into this coal-chute cover named Chris Zieseniss, who lives a few doors down from us. He’s originally from Brooklyn, but moved to Washington Heights like 200 years ago or something and has lived here ever since. We like talking to him, but […]


In which The Gay Recluse needs a nap. We’re not sure why, but this has been the longest week in history. The election, the economy, the daylight-savings extension: all of it has left us utterly exhausted. (Or maybe it was the ten beers we had last night?) Today when we couldn’t handle it anymore, we […]


In which The Gay Recluse loves birch trees. We considered sweeping up the leaves. But decided that — for the moment — they look better where they are.


In which The Gay Recluse becomes increasingly obsessed with manhole covers. Sometimes when you brush away the leaves and organic debris, you find a manhole cover from 10,000 years ago, when New York City was first being constructed. Whenever anyone asks me for something to put into a time capsule, I tell them not to […]


In which The Gay Recluse considers a Palin administration and shudders. One difference between George W. Bush (and McCain) and Sarah Palin is that Palin is genuine to a degree Bush or McCain is/was not. Watching Bush (as much as we prefer not to) we get the sense that he — a Connecticut blue blood […]


In which The Gay Recluse is still morose. Today we felt so completely trapped. By our neighborhood, our job, our possessions. Oh and our stupid country. Our life felt completely artless. But then we came home and watched The Hills. And played with the cats. Soon we’ll go to bed. We wonder what it would […]