My first piece of architectural criticism was written for Hilton Kramer, at his request, when he edited Arts Digest in the 1950s. It was a review of the Manufacturers’ Hanover Bank at Fifth Avenue and Forty-Third Street, a small jewel of modernism, now a designated but much altered New York City landmark dispensing trendy clothing instead of cash. Hilton would have hated what has happened to it; he would have thoroughly understood the kind of aesthetic blindness and pious hypocrisy responsible for its present compromised state, and he would have expressed his opinion in no uncertain terms with precisely phrased, brutally direct, well-chosen words. I loved him for that kind of straight thinking and straight talk, still do, and always will.

By asking me for that piece, Hilton is responsible for starting my career. By believing, with me, that architecture was an art when buildings in New York were viewed only as negotiable real...


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