A New York builder is putting "humour" into his buildings to cheer up the city.?
A New York builder is putting "humour" into his buildings to cheer up the city. Among his creations to make New Yorkers laugh -- or at least take notice -- are "laughing machines" in lobbies which emit laughing noises upon insertion of a coin; giant sculptures on the outside walls; and deliberately exposed and brightly coloured plumbing pipes.
Conservative New York businessmen have criticised the buildings. But space in them is quickly rented out -- and according to the builder Melvin Kaufman, those businessmen who want nothing but glass and concrete "deserve what they get".
SYNOPSIS: New York...and a "laughing machine" which omits chuckles upon insertion of a coin. It's part of a plan by city builder Melvin Kaufman to "cheer up" New York with "humorous buildings" -- like one with an old aeroplane mounted on the roof in take-off position.
Other ideas incorporated into Kaufman's buildings -- a lift which gives the impression of rising in a cloud of blue mist. Kaufman says his buildings are supposed to be humorous. Some people find them so -- while others are attracted, startled puzzled or repelled. But few ignore them.
Sculpted animal figures decorate walls, while plumbing is deliberately left exposed -- and than brightly painted for further effect. For Kaufman, it's a campaign to get away from what he calls "cold, cheerless glass and concrete".
"People say I'm crazy", says Kaufman.
"I may be, but I don't really care". But crazy or not, people rent space in his buildings. And for those conservative New York businessmen who criticise his works and prefer to rent "glass and concrete", Kaufman has a simple answer. "They deserve them", he says.