MOST RECENT ARTICLES BY:

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
    The Upper West Side’s Zone of Pedestrian DeathThe area around 96th Street is dangerous. And it’s hardly the worst in town.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.”
  5. street view
    An Office Is Wherever We Decide It IsA new book chronicles employers’, architects’, and employees’ relentless reinvention of the workplace.
  6. 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).
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. street view
    The Upside-Down Building Is No Longer NovelAt Greenpoint’s new Eagle + West, cantilevers are just one more architectural gimmick.
  10. 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.
  11. opera review
    The Hours Comes to Roiling Vocal LifeMichael Cunningham’s novel comes to the Metropolitan Opera’s stage.
  12. 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.”
  13. street view
    When Caves Were Avant-Garde ArchitectureAt the Noguchi Museum, the joys (and damp) of living below grade.
  14. street view
    Out of Horror, Beauty: A Visit to the New Sandy Hook Memorial“It was worth the wait.”
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. music review
    Tyshawn Sorey’s Rituals Take Over the ArmoryThe sound of Monochromatic Light.
  21. opera review
    The Met’s Medea Is the Sondra Radvanovsky ShowThe company finally got around to mounting the 1797 opera, one of two blood-soaked Greek myths to open this month.
  22. street view
    The Emigrant Becomes a Giant Projector ScreenRestored bank building now holds digitally reproduced gold.
  23. fall preview
    42 New Classical Music Performances to Hear This FallIncluding the grand reopening of David Geffen Hall, Medea at the Met, and work by Tyshawn Sorey.
  24. street view
    Morningside Heights Gets That Much HigherTwo seminary campuses monetize their air.
  25. hot garbage
    Voyage of the GrossEven though every other option is better, most of New York’s trash still goes into a hole in the ground.
  26. dystopias
    Westworld Has Become West Side WorldPresent-day New York, with a few digital additions, was perfectly suitable as a dystopian set.
  27. street view
    Waterline Square Is Better Than We Had a Right to ExpectThe last piece of Riverside South clicks into place.
  28. gallery
    Bradley Cooper As BernsteinOn the town and on the set with the biopic version of Lenny.
  29. street view
    What to Do With a Crumbling ChurchWest Park Presbyterian wants to demolish its deteriorating landmark building. We asked an architecture firm for a plan to keep it standing.
  30. street view
    The Morgan Library’s Gilded Age Garden Gets a Glow-upA restoration that looks as rich as it should.
  31. street view
    Two Upscale Developments Offer Two Divergent Futures for the South BronxBrookfield’s Bankside looks to Manhattan; the all-affordable Peninsula aims to raise the standard for locals.
  32. street view
    What’s a Bicycle For?A new book digs into our ambivalent relationship with life on two wheels.
  33. music
    The 18th Century’s Surround-Sound MachineInside the organ at St. Bartholomew’s.
  34. opera review
    Brett Dean’s Hamlet Is Too Mad for Its Own GoodYet there is method in ’t.
  35. street view
    Finding a Future for Ukraine’s Destroyed CitiesThe country’s planners want to reclaim its independent identity and plan for life after Russian oil.
  36. street view
    An Exhibit Imagines How Design Can Reconnect CommunitiesIf only it weren’t illegal.
  37. opera review
    A Lucia di Lammermoor With Rust Belt BloodshedGirl of the golden Midwest?
  38. classical review
    A Blockbuster Evening With John Williams at Carnegie HallJoined by violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and the Philadelphia Orchestra, the composer conducted a night of his greatest movie hits.
  39. street view
    Lincoln Center Resets Itself as a Cultural Town Square for SpringQuinceañeras, dance parties, and underground jazz will animate the plaza, but will that energy extend past Labor Day?
  40. street view
    Is There Still an Architectural Avant-Garde?If there is, it won’t look like a Zaha Hadid swoop.
  41. classical-music review
    A St. Matthew Passion That Speaks Even to NonbelieversAt Carnegie Hall, Bernard Labadie and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s brought out the drama in the Bach.
  42. street view
    The Museum of Natural History’s New Addition Is a Giant Concrete MarshmallowStudio Gang’s design aims to bring the museum into the urgent present.
  43. classical review
    Finding Solace and Defiance at the Met’s A Concert for UkraineThis week, emotions ran high at New York performances by the Met Opera, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Philharmonic.
  44. street view
    What Will It Take for Architects to Stop Working With Autocrats?Designers have long relied on a catalogue of excuses to work with questionable clients. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
  45. architecture
    Pritzker Winner Francis Keré’s Small Buildings Have Things to Teach Big CitiesA lesson from the Pritzker-winning architect: Don’t overlook local materials, no matter how low-tech.
  46. street view
    Can Better Design Redeem the Cruise Ship?Our architecture critic goes to sea.
  47. opera review
    Don Carlos, a Dark Opera for Glum Times, Brings Plenty of Musical BrillianceDon Carlos’s five hours is well suited for the world at this moment.
  48. street view
    The Start-up Aesthetic Defines New York’s Two New Ivy CampusesThey say they want to engage the community, but that outreach is self-limiting.
  49. street view
    The Concrete Innovators of Delhi and DhakaA MoMA show devoted to the inventive post-partition architecture of South Asia.
  50. street view
    La Guardia Airport Is No Longer a HellscapeThe new Terminal B: not bad at all!
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