Doo Wah Ditty

I had a wonderful 5 days in Vermont. What a change from California! I hooked up with some unique architects and builders in the Green Mountains and ended up shooting 350 photos of a great variety of buildings that ranged from traditional 200+-year-old houses and barns to wildly imaginative, artistic and witty structures in the woods and hills. I’m now in NYC (for the Book Expo) and it has cast its usual stimulating spell over me so I’ll write about the NYC part before the Vermont part of this 10-day trip.

Got a cab from La Guardia to my hotel in the Soho district. Cabbie’s name: Kwaku Kyekyere. It was the most perfect of NYC days. Balmy, a light breeze, shirt-sleeve weather. I brought my fold up K-2 high tech scooter with me and debated on taking it out, decided Hell, yeah, and so set off from Lafayette near Houston up to Washington Square. When the pavement is OK and pedestrians minimal, I can go 3 times faster than walking. It took a while, but I got into it. Before I knew it I was up at Union Square. I cruised, checking shop windows, having fun, rolling down the sidewalks, got back to Washington Square and discovered it’s been gentrified. No more crack dealers or piss-smelling men’s bathroom from hell, it all looks upscale and clean. But wait, here’s a little ragtag group of musicians, wearing dirty tattered clothes with patches and holes playing delightful bluegrass and country music. Big crowd semi-circled around them, lots of dollars in the opened-up violin case on ground. They turned out to be the Dead Man Street Orchestra, 5 people from 18-25 years of age, who’d been touring the country riding the rails. They were about to leave New York and hitchhike to Vermont.

Left park, ran across guy selling signs that said “Mean People Suck.” Right on. Hip-hop artist selling self-produced tapes on sidewalk, the day so beautiful everyone feeling good. The tempo of the city, the brilliance of window displays, the uniqueness of the shops, the close proximity to other people in cafes and restaurants all stimulate senses and brain waves.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

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