Approaching Fulton Landing from the East River Jean Nouvel’s new pavilion for Jane’s Carousel is less impressive than I was expecting. The squat box made of what I initially thought was transparent glass and sea-foam green metal appears dwarfed by the massive Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges that bracket it on either side. My initial reactions from a distance were mostly negative. The thick roof seemed heavy and cumbersome. The pavilion, particularly when the retractable doors are closed, feels unfinished. I don’t know why I expected this glass pavilion to be as sleek and transparent as the Fifth Avenue Apple Store, but I did. Even Philip Johnson’s Glass House visually seemed more weightless than this. Approaching the pavilion from land was different.
I’m not sure exactly when I became aware of the High Line, but once you noticed it, it was hard to forget. There were giant graffiti pieces visible from street level and in the spring and summer you could see a ragged blaze of green sprouting from the otherwise lifeless tracks. I remember walking along Tenth and Eleventh Avenues — peering up at the hulking structure and wondering how I could get up there.