citizen meet via

A Young Architect’s First Meeting with Irate Citizens

They’re just people, honey. Nothing to be frightened of. What was that Big Lebowski line? Those are just nihilists, Donnie? Nothing to be frightened of?



They’re just people. People.


There are a lot of them here.


And they are…pissed.


Not like British pissed (actually, on reflection, a small minority of them are), but American pissed. Like off.


Why did I pick up the phone this morning???? Everything was so chill. I had my non-pajama pajama suit set for the day—let’s face it, the week, no one ever notices when I switch over from pandas to a non-panda animal—and game face and also that carpal tunnel, which HR said is in no way related to the fact that 99% of my day is spent hand-over-mouse clicking tiny lines towards other tiny lines, is getting better. Yay for going to sleep with a bag of ice cubes clenched in my alarmingly tiny fist. Yay for waking up with water soaking through even my super-special Cold-Eeze Mattress TopperTM that I got at the dollar store (the last dollar store in Manhattan, where everything is yours for the low low price of $3.99).


Anyway. I picked up the phone and fucking LAURIE was like, “oh, hey, can you cover for us at the community board meeting? thank you byeeeeeee!” and I actually did that movie thing of being like “hello, hello,” and clearly she had hung up. So my choices were 1) go to the offices with giraffe print and try and blend in, or 2) go to this meeting.


Apparently, according to the Current Thoughts Memo circulated last week—GOAT loves to circulate these “thoughts and observations” every so often and we’re not supposed to ever directly acknowledge them bc they are his like *private work* but also they’re supposed to inform everything that we do, like it’s some sort of direct funnel from GOAT’s brain into our (carpal tunnel-ridden) hands. Anyway, there’s this huge wavy tower that he wants to build downtown that I guess even the investors want to build and so everything would be 100% A+ totally normal fine, except that at the base of the tower is the current location of the Fresh Start New Start Montessori Club i.e. only the *most expensive preschool in the world*.


So they sent me here to assuage the moms and dads and uncles and other dads and other moms and like, what the literal fuck.


OK wait breathe. They’re all just people.




God I’m so basic.


That is *not* Gwyneth but like


I got way too excited. [iPhone notes: talk to therapist about Gwyneth sighting + attendant emotional response that outweighed even that time I thought I found the right job for me at Buzzfeed]


“So is this tower some kind of…9/11 thing?”


There’s always that guy. There’s always that group of guys. For whom literally *eything* is some kind of 9/11 thing. Like the guy in line at Whole Foods who, when the cashier asked him to put his chip card in, and it didn’t work because it’s a fucking chip card reader and no one knows how to get them to work, was like “oh is this some kind of 9/11 thing?”


“I think this tower is a straw man for Hillary”


OK there’s also *that* guy.


Note to self: look up straw man.


“This tower is the capitalist agenda mixed with socialism and women should be in the home!”






Oh. And that guy.


OK now my Gwyneth is talking. Not-Gwyneth Gwyneth, haha obviously. I’m gonna call her NGGP. It’s so close to GOOP.


“I feel that for the safety of our children and their expressions as free-spirited Wild Ones we cannot possibly impose the intolerable effect of architecture – we should not be exposing our most precious beloveds to these… overtly masculine….shapes….”


I mean…she doesn’t not have a point there. Except that her Wild Ones were obviously created by exposure to an …. overtly masculine… shape.


Ohhhhhhhh but that’s why he made it wavy. To be all like “this is not a thing about being a dude, it’s a thing about being a building.” I’m starting to remember from Current Thoughts Memo from like 2 years ago, when this project started. When I was hired. Why did I take this job? If I had known I’d be sitting here in community board 147 with twitching fingers and wishing I had a bag of ice and really trying to figure out if this IS Gwyneth….


hahahahhaha who am I kidding I totally would have taken it.




“We’d now like to invite a representative of the architect, GOAT, to speak”


Oh I wonder who else they invited from the office


“Hate your building love your pants, community board is more than rants!”

And again:

“Hate your building love your pants, community board is more than rants!”


Oh jesus everloving fuck they are talking about me.




  1. They’re just people, honey. They’re not going to hurt you.


This podium is really rickety.


“I’m so pleased to be able to be here today to speak to you about our exciting developments planned for downtown Manhattan! We’re thrilled and honored to be able to work together with the community in a while at the same time using the clear passion that you all bring for your neighborhood to inform the way that we do architecture. As you know, GOAT has always loved this part of the city, ever since his father made nails down on, well, you know where he worked in the nail factory!, and we are deeply moved to be part of making this corner of the park great again. Thank you for all of your feedback, which we will very carefully incorporate into our ongoing design work, and it will take further study to determine whether or not our proposed Angular Element of SkylightTM will infringe upon the Fresh Start New Start Montessori Club, but I can assure you that we will be doing the architectural equivalent of laparascopic surgery under general anesthesia, with Dilaudid-on-demand upon waking.”




It IS Gwyneth.




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