Two links, thanks to Tom Taylor.
For three weeks only, a windmill is operating in Dalston. It’s art, obviously. But it’s also a proper mill with blades and turny things and grindy bits and flour. And, because it’s essential to maintain sustainable credentials and ensure low food-miles, there’s even a cornfield alongside.
The bar was called Cucum’ (a name possibly just the right side of amusing), and it was frequented by trendy types with rakish looks. I was surprised how quickly this eco-installation had become the hangout of choice for various faddish folk, more usually spotted quaffing lager within a half mile of Hoxton Square.
You’ve got until August 6th to pop into to Dalston Mill for yourself. You may not stay long, not unless you get engrossed in one of the many artistic projects scheduled between now and then.
The field is basically a re-creation of the Manhattan field from 1982, but it’s much smaller and the backdrop is quite different, in that case an abandoned house and the Kingsland Shopping Centre, which is so absolutely puzzling in terms of style that it actually makes an intriguing and very London-like backdrop for the piece.
It all moves very slowly and does neither generate a lot of flour nor energy, but it’s fascinating to see how the attempt on creating a somewhat autonomous structure in the middle of a highly developed cityscape actually works and above all creates a very pleasant space around itself.
He missed James Kunstler’s assertion that the whole thing should have remained a railroad.
In the early years of this decade, I always wanted to try and walk along the disused railway line from Dalston towards Broad Street. The old bridges dominate the eastern end of what was the the Shoreditch one-way triangle, and the arches form a line of spaces parallel to the High Street, and further north, on the other side of Kingsland Road. However, I never bothered spending enough time to figure out how to get onto it, and I was worried the various bridges would never be safe.
I’ve definitely lost my chance now; the northernmost three quarters of the track bed are currently in the last year or so of the work required to convert them back into a railway line, this time under the auspices of London Overground.
Of course, the geographical surroundings are very different; the High Line is in Manhattan (albeit one one edge), compared to the fringes of central London for the Dalston line, and the need for public transport along its route is far less pressing. (The Eighth Avenue / A-C-E line runs parallel to the High Line, two blocks further east, whereas the new East London line will be filling a fairly large gap in the railway map of London.)
All in all, I suspect the two cities have probably come to the right planning conclusion for each line. Still, I regret not walking what was, for twenty years, London’s High Line.