Saturday, February 17, 2018

a city of stone

New York City is a city made of stone. The photo shown is of the Soldiers and Sailor's Memorial on the Upper West Side. From the image you will not grasp the intricacy of the carved detail, but you can see the scale of the work.

Aside from the great monuments, the same level of intricate craftsmanship was applied to buildings throughout New York City, and so while this is a city of stone, it was a city of craftsmanship at an earlier time.

It makes one wonder. As the acid rain gradually erases the hand carved details, will there be craftsmen trained to build again and restore? Not likely.

Today we went to the Cloisters, and also on a search for a hidden monument called the Seaman-Drake Arch. We found it.

If we consider the role of craftsmanship in the development of character and intelligence, perhaps we could think of doing better in that direction. What I have in mind is that college students at the great universities in this lovely city, learn the arts of stone carving and woodworking as foundations for  academic explorations.

Make, fix, and create.


  1. I read somewhere that the President of MIT (100+ years ago) made woodworking compulsory, to help engineers think better in three dimensions...

    Can’t find the source though.

  2. Woodworking was not compulsory, but was introduced at MIT and Wash U. In St. Louis by engineering and math teachers who realized that many of their students needed a foundation in practical craftsmanship.

    The best source of information on the history is the two part History of Manual and Industrial Arts by Charles A. Bennett