Surprise On The Drive Back From Fire Island


One of the pleasures of the drive to and from Fire Island is the piece of the Hecksher Parkway the Richard Meier's United States Courthouse and Federal Building is on, in Islip, New York. At the almost-end of a long journey from the city comes a bend in the parkway which reveals the white building, orange from the evening sun, set above a hedge of budding trees. The approach from the opposite direction is much the same, as if the building were sited to have this surprise be symmetrical for travelers like me.

Another surprise is that GSA let Meier design such a completely uncompromising building. It's a pleasant surprise.

The building is also visible from The Great South Bay. Meier's whiteness is the perfect color for this part of Long Island: it appears bleached, like the shingled houses on my little resort sandbar. On a clear day, from the ferry, it appears less like a building, and more as a magnificent white mountain. Few contemporary federal buildings can be described as magnificent, but I submit this one for consideration.


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