Things change. All the time. Sometimes we know it, sometimes we don’t, but after becoming repeatedly aware that nothing will be the way it used to be, we wise up and try to see and feel that moment before it flits into thin air. New York City is the epitome of a fleeting landscape. Since it was populated by the Dutch in the 1600s, it has morphed. These days it seems to be at lightning speed. Blink and that brick tenement from 1920 is gone and a shiny glass mega-structure with a cantilevered overhang stands in its place.
But it’s not only buildings that vanish, the little details that mark the space and place of the past are also swept away with each renovation and generation. Things like signs. Signs that speak to a different era.
The other day as I flew through Penn Station, I stopped to take in the red white and blue subway tiles that directed a traveler to the Pennsylvania Railroad. I saw men in gray flannel suits and women in gloves as they dashed to catch the 5:06 to Middletown. Inevitably the sign, like the gray flannel suits and gloves, will disappear, but knowing I know it existed gives me solace when all else around me succumbs to a wrecking ball.