Monday, April 03, 2006

120 East 34th St - The Home of Ayn Rand

This long-time home of Ayn Rand, in New York, is particularly worth visiting for a reason I'll cover later. In my personal pilgrimage around Manhattan, I made this my first stop because it's very handy to get to if you've just tried to emulate Tom Hanks at the top of the Empire State building.

I never usually carry a camera when visiting such important places, as I normally want to simply hold and enjoy the moment in my memory, but here's a satellite photo I managed to dig up.

Situated between Park Avenue and Lexington Avenue, the building sits on that part of 34th Street which begins a gradual descent into the East River, which I could see sparkling in the distance on a brisk sunny day, without a single cloud in a flawless blue sky. I counted about 18 floors to this rather non-descript red-brick block; Ayn Rand lived in Apartment 6G. Fortunately, however, I wasn't allowed to go any further than the green awning, which reached to the kerb, as a sign on the front of the building was quite clear about the point.

This is private property

I'm sure Ms Rand wouldn't have wanted it any other way. However, although I'm sure in every way that the apartments inside were luxurious, the red-brick façade was rather a disappointment. I had been expecting Roarkian brushed aluminium and glittering polished shards of armoured glass, a single fused point raised to the stars by Titans; but to find a slightly crumpled brick exterior and 18 bland storeys gathered together by the architectural genius of a wombat, was certainly less than I would have expected from the authoress of The Fountainhead.

But the position?

The position was everything. Just down the street from the Empire State Building, and less than 10 minutes walk from Grand Central, between Park Avenue and Lexington, this apartment building was exactly where Dagny Taggart would have chosen to pass out the hours between her trysts with all those innumerable lovers.

However, something else made up entirely for the disappointment of the building's appearance; the welcoming mat at the entrance, guarded by a suspicious looking doorman who kept his swivelled eyes pinned firmly towards this mad-eyed libertarian, bore the immortal words, 'The Murray Park'.

Now it was too much to beg that the building had been renamed in honour of the author of Mozart was a Red, but if you think the Statue of Liberty is the most ironic statue in the world, for this building, of all buildings, to be named The Murray Park, made it well worth the 45 minute walk back to my own apartment just off Times Square.


I'm sure the doorman was pleased too. I bet he's sick of people like me turning up, staring up, and looking like grinning baboons; another Rand fan or simply another New York lunatic? I hope they pay him more than ordinary doormen.

What didn't make up for it was learning back at my apartment that although Ayn Rand had spent many years at the block I'd just visited, dying there in 1982, she had actually written Atlas Shrugged at 36 East, 36th Street, a couple of blocks away; presumably when she had less cash in the bank.


But before I go there, I've got to get to the homes of Professors Mises and Rothbard, first. In my ordinal scale of values, the places where Human Action and Man, Economy, and State, were written, come a long way above Atlas Shrugged, though in the limited time I have in Manhattan the actual creation point of Atlas Shrugged still easily makes it into position three.

Sorry Ayn, to put it third, but at least I've been to the place where all your mad Objectivists spent all those years having sex with each other, smoking filtered cigarettes, and torturing mere humans with philosophical debate.

It just seems strange that there isn't any kind of monument outside, such as you would find in London. However, on reflection, with Manhattan being a beacon of private property, who wants to have a State nailing blue plaques to their buildings and putting up ugly statues outside quiet residences, anwyay? It'll only attract more nutcase libertarians like me, and who wants that? So Adieu 120 East 34th Street; Upper West Side here we come.


Phone Sex said...

I came to this blog while searching on google and I found this blog very useful for me to gain my learning.
I will recommend all my friends to visit this blog site.

Rackmount Monitor said...

Your blog is very much good. I am very much impressed by your blog content; I also come across number of sites, you can also check these are also very much useful for everyone.

web marketing melbourne said...

Extremely well corresponded article, if only all bloggers showed the same significance as you, the internet would be a much more effectively locality. And it’s well known that It is not daily grinds that kills gentleman, it is worry. Can I recommend you a first-class place where you can find narrative essay writing services. Please keep it up! Cheers.

Phone Sex said...

Really impressed by this blog post. Really good stuff.

ข่าว said...

Oh!! Very interesting post - Might be old new, but it was new to me. Thanks.

Escorts Colombia said...

Made to measure curtains… [Escorts in Colombia]check out the sites listed below, worth

a read for interiors and rugs enthusiasts[Escorts in Colombia]…

sahana sofi said...

Chennai Escort
Book Now

Escorts Colombia said...

Thanks for every other excellent post. The place else may just anyone get that kind of info in such an ideal manner of writing? I’ve a presentation subsequent week escorts in bogota, and I am at the look for such information.

Modular Kitchen Showroom said...

I like your blog your post is very interest to ready almost more people check that blog can you update modular kitchen company list chennai content.

Unknown said...

Modular kitchen in chennai
Modular kitchen chennai

Unknown said...

nice one thanks

Modular Kitchen in Urapakkam
Interior Designer in Urapakkam

Modular Kitchen in Tambaram
Interior Designer in Tambaram

Unknown said...

great concern and really imperative one thanks for sharing the article

Carpenters in Kolathur, Chennai

Carpenter in ambattur

Carpentry Services in perambur