Steampunk’d in The City


(Steampunk Inhabitants of a Fictionalized New York)

A debate is circulating about a marketing ploy for a downtown condo building, 15 Renwick Street, now dubbed the Steampunk building. Geared toward the hipster creative class, the ad campaign has created a stir surrounding class warfare in an increasingly class stratified City. To many, this campaign has no bearing to the average New Yorker, as it reaches into the category of lifestyle-as-fetish or high performance art. To live here is, in this particular place, is an exceptionally curated experience, which begs the question; What ever happened to just sitting in the living room and watching TV?

Steampunk Fantasy

(The projected appearance of 15 Renwick, rendered as a 19th Century Fantasyland)

The idea of New York as a fantasy has reached fever pitch. Lifestyles of the everyday are cast aside for a more glamourized version of Fantasy. The “City as a Theme” has its roots in the Times Square makeover, some would say a Disneyfied version of the lawless jungle it once was. So for 15 Renwick, Queue Disney & The Pirates of The Caribbean; Presented as the Steampunk lair on the Lower West Side of Manhattan.

Not that this is bad. One can say this marketing tact has been quite effective by generating buzz. Who would ever think to reside at this place in this particular location (at the entrance to The Holland Tunnel)? A popular article which is circulating by Citylab and authored by Kristen Capps calls into question the devaluing of the American psyche by the Steampunk campaign. You can read about it HERE to form an opinion. The article’s take is quite enlightening, but the author seems to forget that this is in fact New York. Glamour and fantasy are part of the allure. Objects of beauty abound. This is the birthplace of modern marketing (if you can make it here you can make it anywhere?) Does this pitch ring familiar?

To the Steampunk Ad campaign of 2014: kudos’ to selling an illusion that everyone knows is fake. And to those who think this may be the anti-gentrification rattle saber’s nail-in-the coffin: Who cares what goes on behind closed doors? And for the One’s who can dress in Victorian era dresses, peering out through telescopes across the choking smog of The Holland Tunnel: Now you can have your cake and eat it too.

Links of relatable Note Can be Found Here:

Citylab article on the cultural affect of the Steampunk marketing campaign.

A link to the Steampunk website, if you are wondering what exactly this phenomenon is.

ODA Architecture link to 15 Renwick Street.


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