I've been thinking a lot about architecture this month-- particularly why new residential buildings are so ugly compared to the ones built a century ago here in New York. A part of that is purely subjective, I suppose: I just prefer the weathered brick of the past to the sparkling metal and glass of the present. But I do think there's a legitimate critique here-- many of the newer buildings are of a grossly inappropriate scale, built out of cheap materials, and show very little thoughtfulness to their relation to the surrounding neighborhood. I'm sure materials costs and other economic realities make it impossible to put up elegant, moderately sized apartment buildings, like these on East Houston Street-- but surely we can do better than the stark, empty modernism that I see every day advertised on Curbed and other real estate sites. We've got to-- because trust me: the buildings we are putting up now are going to age badly-- and in a generation, we're going to be embarrassed by them.