No, this is Not Hotel W

Dwarfed by the Verizon Building on the left and the Conde Nast Building on the right, and soon to be hidden from view by 1 Bryant Park(an skyscraper under construction, that looks almost exactly like one of the Freedom Tower design rejects), there’s a strange 50 foot wide razor of a skyscraper. It’s called the Bush Building, after Irving T. Bush, a son of a rich refinery operator who instead of living a life of leisure chose to put on a bat’s mask and a cape… wait, actually no, he chose to become a seaport magnate. Also good. I am not sure if

Besides the narrowness, the neo-gothic tower has another peculiar feature: side walls sporting what appears to be a raised brick design

but that turns out to be an illusion created by colored bricks.

There are plans are under way to create a hideous modern add-on building on the side to alleviate the crampdness that the current owners, the Dalloul family of Lebanon. I am not sure what they do for a living, but every article I see mention that the owners are from Lebanon and run a family business. It might be that they are the owners of a cellular company LibanCell, but they don’t seem to have much of a web presence. Anyway, the new addition is a big modern glass bag on a side connected to the Bush Building by floating floors (this is what I call Hugo Simpson’s pigeonrat school of design).

Why build a tower that is only 50 feet wide when there’s space nearby? Why make colored brick designs when you can put windows there? I have no idea. But this is one of the most unique buildings in Manhattan.

Is Irving T. Bush related to the rest of the Bushes that shaped so much of American history? I don’t know, but it seems pretty likely to me. Remember, that besides the two presidents and numerous other various Eulogian Club members holding important posts, the Bush family tree includes Wampanoag tribe members and Memex-inventing Majestic 12 member Vannevar Bush as well as other unusual people. I think Irving T. Bush fits in with them rather well.

P.S. By the way, speaking of the unluckily-numbered antenna-endowed Conde Nast Building. According to Jessica Cutler’s The Washingtonienne : A Novel, girls who work for Conde Nast magazines are known as Conde Nasties. He heh.

ACH! BONJOURRRRRR! You Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys!

A while back I finished an absolutely amazing book about Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. It’s by Ben Rich and it’s called “Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years at Lockheed“. I’ll write more about that book later.

Here’s an amusing little anecdote from Lt. Colonel William Burk Jr., an SR-71 Blackbird pilot.

“In the fall of ’82, I flew from Mildenhall on a mission o Lebanon in response to the Marine barrack bombing. President Reagan ordered photo coverage of ill the terrorist bases in the region. The French refused to allow us to overfly, so our mission was to refuel off the south coast of England.”

“We completed our pass over Beirut and turned toward Malta, when I got a warning low-oil-pressure light on my right engine. Even though the engine was running fine I slowed down and lowered our altitude and made a direct line for England. We decided to cross France without clearance instead of going the roundabout way. We made it almost across, when I looked out the left window and saw a French Mirage III sitting ten feet off my left wing. He came up on our frequency and asked us for our Diplomatic Clearance Number. I had no idea what he was talking about, so I told him to stand by. I asked my backseater, who said, “Don’t worry about it. I just gave it to him.” What he had given him was “the bird’ with his middle finger. I lit the afterbumers and left that Mirage standing still. Two minutes later, we were crossing the Channel. ”