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This shot is a threat to the security of the United States | by Tampen
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This shot is a threat to the security of the United States

This security paranoia is becoming really tiresome.


A few weeks, ago, a magnificent new steel and glass ferry terminal opened on the west side of Manhattan, serving commuters across the Hudson river to New Jersey. It was designed by the architects William Bodouva & Associates, and was hailed by most of the city's architecture critics as a dazzling new addition to New York's incomparable skyline.


But of course, you can't take photographs of it. After all, you might be a terrorist.


The $56m structure has been ingeniously wrapped around possibly the ugliest structure in the city - a massive brick ventilation shaft for the Lincoln commuter car tunnel below. It really is the most splendid space, a long pavilion filled with air and light. There's an elevated walkway on the river side, with a tiny but brilliant splash of colour in a trio of bright blue plastic loungers for waiting passengers to enjoy the view.


But of course you mustn't take photographs. After all, you might be a terrorist.


There's no sign forbidding photography, however, and I wandered along the walkway snapping to my heart's content. Then a large security guard sprinted up the stairs and ordered me to halt. Many of you are familiar with this kind of discussion. There's no point in arguing. He's just obeying orders. And you're on private property.


My only question is this: why does the New York Port Authority (or whichever municipal body built the place) spend $56m of the public's money on an expensive avant garde architect who builds a beautiful Modernist structure that they don't want anyone to look at ? Why didn't they just build a $5m concrete bunker underground ?


There are now countless locations in New York where you will be harrassed if you attempt to take a photograph. But rest assured that there are also plenty of photographers in the city who will quietly continue to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression - whatever the idiot security twerps say.


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Taken on November 9, 2005