old-penn-station

Nick Paumgarten on Konstantin Petrov’s 2001 photographs, taken while working at the World Trade Center’s sky-top restaurant:

“Here is the hideous décor of Windows on the World, in itself a kind of aesthetic innocence; it didn’t know any better. You half expect to see Burt Reynolds. But fate imbues the restaurant with a retroactive dignity. These aren’t the bygone glories of, say, the old Penn Station, but all of lost New York has a corner in the kingdom of Heaven.”

Photograph by Konstantin Petrov

A law is something that exacts an announced cost for being broken. A norm is something that is so much a part of the social landscape that you wouldn’t think, really, that anyone could break it. Laws are plans, like the city grid, that must be followed; norms are landmarks, like the old Penn Station—you don’t think anyone could tear them down, and then someone does.
—  Adam Gopnik on Iran, inequality, and the battle of American norms.