Justin Davidson

Architecture and Classical-Music Critic, Curbed and New York Magazine

Justin Davidson has been New York Magazine’s architecture and classical-music critic since 2007 and was the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2002. He is the author of Magnetic City: A Walking Companion to New York.

  1. street view
    Los Angeles After the FreewayA less car-dependent L.A., already in motion, may have something to teach the rest of the country.
  2. opera review
    Steam Till It Wilts: The Met’s Florencia en el Amazones“Couples converge, turn away, and re-embrace aboard a jungle Love Boat.”
  3. street view
    The New Jersey Hindu Temple Covered With 10,000 SculpturesMarble elephants, ample parking, and a federal investigation into how it all got built.
  4. street view
    Thomas Heatherwick Thinks Nearly All New Buildings Are BoringA critique of his critique.
  5. street view
    Light-Drenched Offices Fill the Shell of Domino SugarA refinery with a dirty past, spotlessly reimagined.
  6. street view
    Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World Was in QueensA museum to a cultural legend emphasizes his unpretentious life at home.
  7. street view
    Need Housing? Need a Rail Line? Stack Them Up.Studio V’s proposal for a Borough Park rail cut.
  8. street view
    Janette Sadik-Khan on Getting Congestion Pricing Right‘We don’t look ready.”
  9. architecture
    Inside the City’s Gleaming New Performance CubeThe Perelman Performing Arts Center is a standout at the reconstructed World Trade Center site. Will people come?
  10. fall preview 2023
    25 New Classical Music Performances to Hear This FallIncluding a fresh Metropolitan Opera slate, a night of Phillip Glass, and more.
  11. street view
    The Two Newest Luxury Towers Are a MoodCharcoal and bronze dominate at Brooklyn’s tallest building and Adjaye’s latest.
  12. city people
    What Dan Doctoroff BuiltUnder Mayor Bloomberg, the power broker remade the city with astonishing speed. Now, as New York is again mired in crisis, he faces his own.
  13. street view
    Reconsidering the Grand Civic StaircaseAt Steven Holl’s Hunters Point Library and across the city, a familiar architectural gesture has become a trap.
  14. street view
    David Adjaye, Falling StarchitectCelebrity architects are propped up by a hive of workers. His may undo him.
  15. street view
    Two Penn Station Plans That Finally Look PromisingCould they converge to make the nation’s worst rail hub much better?
  16. street view
    Is the Spherical Listening Room at the Shed an Innovation or a Gimmick?Trying out the Sonic Sphere.
  17. street view
    Lever House Gets a Squeaky-Clean RestorationPrecisely reproducing its opening-day sheen. Next up: the Waldorf.
  18. institutions
    Mostly Mozart Festival Gains a Music Director, Loses Its NameJonathon Heyward in; Wolfgang demoted.
  19. street view
    Congestion Pricing’s Pitfalls and How to Avoid ThemLessons from London’s 20 years of experience.
  20. opera review
    A Magic Flute With a Few Too Many TricksSimon McBurney’s production draws power from some inventive stagecraft but gradually swamps its singers.
  21. classical-music review
    At the Philharmonic, Dudamel’s First Is Mahler’s NinthHe delivers a showy 2-D performance of a 3-D symphony.
  22. street view
    Developing Governors Island in Order to Save ItA plan that aims to preserve both its low-rise nature and the earth.
  23. opera review
    In Don Giovanni, Ivo van Hove Can Turn Even Mozart DissonantThe director seems to be fighting his musicians and singers.
  24. architecture review
    The American Museum of Natural History Enters Its Modern Stone AgeThe new Gilder Center has folds of pink granite outside, rough shotcrete swoops within.
  25. street view
    The Mexican Architect Making Sublime Modern Buildings From Clay and Pine NeedlesUsing traditional Oaxacan techniques, Juan José Santibañez’s museums and schools have a tactile beauty.
  26. getting around
    This Penn Station Plan May Be the One Everyone Can Live WithAssuming the Garden doesn’t move, most of the stakeholders are gravitating toward a new scheme.
  27. opera review
    In Terence Blanchard’s Opera Champion, Not Every Punch LandsA boxing opera comes to the Met, with a jazz-infused score, powerful movement, and wobbly storytelling.
  28. opera review
    A Lohengrin Where You Might Root for the Bad GuyThe Wagner opera returns to the Met for the first time in 17 years.
  29. street view
    The Bronx Children’s Museum Is Just Antic EnoughLike a peek into a happy kid’s brain.
  30. street view
    MoMA’s ‘Architecture Now’ Exists in Some Other New YorkOne that has fewer impediments and more money.
  31. classical music
    Gustavo Dudamel Will Take Over the New York PhilharmonicBut not until 2026.
  32. street view
    The Upper West Side’s Zone of Pedestrian DeathThe area around 96th Street is dangerous. And it’s hardly the worst in town.
  33. street view
    One Way to a Better City: Ask Disabled People to Design ItWouldn’t everyone fare a little better if (to take just one example) airport luggage-screening counters were lower?
  34. street view
    Two Supportive-Housing Projects Make the Case for Building Many MoreThey’re cheaper than the alternatives, acceptable to the neighbors, and successful among people who were living on the street.
  35. opera review
    The Met’s New Fedora Is Almost Luxe, Almost Enough“David McVicar’s new production for the Metropolitan Opera gets partway to the right degree of too much.”
  36. street view
    An Office Is Wherever We Decide It IsA new book chronicles employers’, architects’, and employees’ relentless reinvention of the workplace.
  37. street view
    Walkable City’s Jeff Speck Knows There Are Worse Things Than Crawling TrafficTen years on, he reflects on pipe dreams turned real (like California’s ADU boom) and not (like truly safe streets).
  38. classical-music review
    Geffen Hall Has Found Its SoundIt’s finally what it ought to have been all along — and it’s so clear, it may be a little too revealing for some conductors.
  39. street view
    Can the Hochul-Adams New New York Actually Happen?The Hochul-Adams mission statement is big on sweeping ideas — and way short on explaining how any of this happens.
  40. street view
    The Upside-Down Building Is No Longer NovelAt Greenpoint’s new Eagle + West, cantilevers are just one more architectural gimmick.
  41. street view
    New St. Nick: The Glowed-up Greek Church at Ground ZeroThe tiny marble Greek Orthodox church next to the World Trade Center finally opens, 21 years after its predecessor was destroyed.
  42. opera review
    The Hours Comes to Roiling Vocal LifeMichael Cunningham’s novel comes to the Metropolitan Opera’s stage.
  43. music review
    Memory Play, With Cello: Michael Gordon’s Travel Guide to Nicaragua“The beauty of this score lies in its refusal of big gestures and its preference for the telling detail.”
  44. street view
    When Caves Were Avant-Garde ArchitectureAt the Noguchi Museum, the joys (and damp) of living below grade.
  45. street view
    Out of Horror, Beauty: A Visit to the New Sandy Hook Memorial“It was worth the wait.”
  46. street view
    Norman Foster’s Skyscrapers Are Perfect for the City That Just DisappearedAn impeccable space for office work arrives with everything—except a guarantee of office work.
  47. street view
    Keeping It Weird at 550 MadisonThe former AT&T/Sony tower gets a few of its spikier details sanded off but retains a lot of its Johnsonian strangeness.
  48. on the podium
    How True to the Conducting Life Is Tár?The road for women is steeper, and even the fiercest maestros aren’t quite so hard on the musicians.
  49. architecture review
    The New Geffen Hall Is Open. How Does It Sound?It’s too early to say. But the inaugural concert today (with two very different types of ensembles) was encouraging.
  50. street view
    On the Vision — and Limits — of a Century of Grand Urban PlansThe Regional Plan Association marks its birthday with a show in Grand Central Terminal.
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