Jane Jacobs.

In two hours of wandering slowly down Broadway last Sunday, I heard about a solar installation over on FDR drive, the number of bird species that can be seen in New York City (roughly half of all that appear in North America), and an Astor Place riot sparked by two rival productions of Macbeth, one marketed to New York’s upper echelons, the other to its less savory elements. Along with a group of other sightseers, I gazed up at former tenements and butter and egg factories now converted into condos and office buildings. We talked about other neighborhoods we’d visited.

But one thing we did not do was talk very much about Jane Jacobs, her work, or her ideas. Funny, Jacobs was the reason we were all there.