Document 1 : Changing waters
Now, here it was, the last Saturday in March, and Eddie settled down with his rod. He’d left his studio in the dark, and it was hardly daybreak when he began to fish. On both sides of the Hudson the sky was struck with a hazy pink glow. He’d brought along night crawlers1 and crusts of bread in an old tin pail. Eddie avoided the Harlem River – it was overcrowded and overfished, even more so than the Hudson, littered with oystering boats. Several bridges had recently been built across the waters, disturbing the marsh birds. He knew it wouldn’t be long before the countryside disappeared, as it had in Chelsea, where there was pavement everywhere.
Through the new leaves of the locust trees, Eddie spied Beck fishing farther down along the bank. An encounter with the old man appeared unavoidable, for the hermit gazed over and nodded. Eddie returned the greeting, considering how to best keep his distance. Beck was known to chase off intruders with a rifle, and there were those who said he vowed to kill any man who hunted the wildlife that was rapidly becoming rare, coyotes and fox and the huge, cantankerous2 wild turkeys. Past the area of Washington Heights was Hudson Heights, the highest altitude in Manhattan, at 265 feet above sea level. There was the pastoral village of Inwood, and although the subway ran this far, this section of north Manhattan was still dotted with small farms, including a house once owned by the Audubon family. Eddie joined the hermit in his agitation over the constant building in Manhattan. Apartment buildings were rising everywhere.
Alice Hoffman, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, 2014.
1. night crawlers: worms.
2. cantankerous: bad-tempered.
Document 2 : Mansions in the sky
By 1927, the commanding apartment buildings along Park Avenue were not just tall they were immensely tall, true towers, the first skyscrapers built for permanent living. The tallest of them was the Ritz Tower, shooting up from the pavement at the corner of Fifty-seventh Street and Park Avenue. Built for blue-bloods1 and tycoons by Emery Roth, […] it opened in October 1926 and was one of the first residential buildings in New York constructed in sympathy with the city’s landmark zoning law2 of 1916.
Concerned about diminishing sunlight and fresh air in the canyonlike streets created by the closely massed skyscrapers of lower Manhattan, the city placed a limit on the maximum height and bulk of tall buildings. Height limits were based upon the width of the street a building faced if a developer proposed to exceed the legal limit, the stories above it had to be set back, roughly one foot for each four feet of additional height. […]
Forced to work within the confines of the so-called zoning envelope, architects began constructing “set-back” skyscrapers, with sections of the buildings set back further and further as they rose from their bases into the island’s sky. “Wedding cake” architecture, some New Yorkers called it […].
The Ritz Tower […] was forty-one stories high. The tallest inhabited building in the world, it dominated the skyline of Midtown Manhattan as the Woolworth Building did that of lower Manhattan. Residents of its upper stories had unobstructed views in all directions for a distance of twenty-five miles on clear days, “panorama[s] unexcelled in all New York,” Emery Roth boasted.
It was a new way of living for the rich. They became sky dwellers, their “mansions in the clouds” higher than anyone had ever lived. In its architectural aspirations alone, the Ritz Tower expressed the shoot-for-the-moon spirit of the Jazz Age. Sculpted in rusticated limestone3, it rose from its base “like a telescope,” up through its set-back terraces to a square tower crowned by a glistening copper roof.
Donald L. Miller, Supreme City: How Jazz Age Manhattan Gave Birth to Modern America, 2014.
1. blue-bloods: aristocrats.
2. zoning law: loi d’urbanisation.
3. limestone: type of white stone.
Document 3 : How green could New York City be
© Terreform ONE 2014
(Architecture Group for Smart City Design, Ecological planning, and Art)
1In what city is the scene set Justify with two elements from the text.
21.Who are the characters present
2.What are they doing
3When does the scene take place Copy out the correct answer and justify with two elements from the text.
a) At the beginning of the 20th century.
c) In the 1980s.
41.Name three types of construction that Eddie has noticed in his city.
2.Explain in your own words two ways in which the new constructions have an impact on the landscape.
a)Eddie’s feelings about the changes in the landscape Justify by quoting from the text.
b)Beck’s feelings about these changes Justify by quoting from the text.
2.In your own words, compare and contrast how they react to the changes.
Seul(e)s les candidat(e)s de la série L option LVA traiteront la question 6.
6 What is the overall mood in the passage Explain in your own words how this mood is conveyed to the reader and quote the text to justify (at least two ideas).
7 Pick out information about the Ritz Tower:
1. Name of the architect.
2. Opening date.
3. Precise location. (At least two elements)
8 What shape did some buildings like the Ritz Tower have after ‘the zoning law of 1916’ (l. 8)
9 This type of architecture is compared to two objects in the text. Name them.
10 Pick out one quote to show why the zoning law of 1916 was voted.
11 1. What choices did architects face after the zoning law of 1916 Copy out the correct answers and justify with the text.
a) Limit the number of new buildings.
b) Limit the height of new buildings.
c) Adapt the shape of the buildings.
d) Create parks around new buildings.
2. What made the Ritz Tower exceptional at that time Answer with a quote.
Les candidat(e)s des séries S, ES et L (sauf LVA) traiteront la question 12.
12 In your own words, give at least two reasons why rich people wanted to live in such buildings. Justify with quotes from the text.
Seul(e)s les candidat(e)s de la série L option LVA traiteront la question 13.
13 ‘The shoot-for-the-moon spirit’ (l. 30):
What does this phrase suggest about the 1920s and the attitude of people at that time Explain and justify with elements from the text.
14 What representation of New York City is given in the document Justify with elements from the picture.
Seul(e)s les candidat(e)s de la série L option LVA traiteront la question 15.
15 Comment on the relationship between nature and urbanisation in the document.
The three documents
16 In your own words, compare and contrast the visions of progress given in the three documents.
Les candidat(e)s des séries S, ES et L traiteront le sujet 1 ou le sujet 2. (300 mots, +/- 10 %)
Les candidats de la série L option LVA traiteront les sujets 1 (200 mots, +/- 10 %) ainsi que le sujet 3. (250 mots, +/- 10 %)
1 Eddie finally decides to talk to Beck. Write their conversation about the future of Manhattan.
2 You are Emma/Phil Wilson, an environmental activist. A new holiday resort is going to be built in the middle of a nature reserve. You write an article for Green Living magazine to denounce the problems raised by these plans and to suggest a few solutions.
3 A group of architects is running a contest among students in architecture. You are Emma/Phil Wilson, one of these students. Write a speech in which you give your vision of the ideal city of the future, and try to convince the architects to build it.
Les clés du sujet
Alice Hoffman (1952-) est une romancière américaine surtout connue pour ses ouvrages destinés aux enfants et aux adolescents. The Museum of Extraordinary Things (2014) raconte une histoire d’amour entre deux jeunes d’origine très différente à New York au début du xxe siècle.
Pour en savoir plus : https://alicehoffman.com/
Résumé du texte
C’est la rencontre entre deux hommes, à l’époque où New York commence à se hérisser de gratte-ciel : Eddie qui pêche dans un des fleuves de la ville et un vieil ermite, Beck. Le narrateur souligne les changements qui ont lieu dans la ville.
Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension
To settle down (l. 1) : s’installer a (fishing) rod (l. 2) : une canne à pêche daybreak (l. 3) : le point du jour hazy (l. 4) : brumeux a glow (l. 4) : une lueur a crust (l. 5) : une croûte a pail (l. 5) : un seau to be littered with (l. 7) : être envahi par oystering boat (l. 7) : bateau ostréicole marsh (l. 8) : marais pavement (l. 10) : chaussée locust tree (l. 11) : acacia to spy (l. 11) : apercevoir bank (l. 12) : rive an encounter (l. 12) : une rencontre to vow (l. 16) : faire serment de wildlife (l. 17) : la flore et la faune to be dotted with (l. 22) : être parsemé de.
Donald L. Miller (1944- ) est biographe, historien et enseigne actuellement à l’université de Lafayette, Pennsylvanie. Supreme City est l’histoire de la croissance et la transformation de Manhattan pendant les années 1920, et des hommes brillants qui ont permis cette évolution.
Pour en savoir plus :
Résumé du texte
L’extrait se focalise sur les premiers gratte-ciel – les « manoirs des cieux », sur les contraintes architecturales de leur construction, ainsi que la sociologie de leurs habitants.
Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension
Massed (l. 10) : regroupé the bulk (l. 11) : le volume to be set back (l. 14) : être reculé ou (ici) rétréci a story (l. 14) : ici, un étage to boast (l. 26) : se vanter a dweller (l. 28) : un habitant glistening (l. 32) : scintillant copper (l. 32) : cuivre.
Terreform est une organisation à but non lucratif spécialisée dans l’urbanisation intelligente et la création des éco-quartiers.
Pour en savoir plus : https://www.terreform.org/
Les points de convergence
Les trois documents s’intéressent à l’urbanisation de la ville de Manhattan et à son évolution depuis le début du xxe siècle.
Le sujet d’expression 1
Pistes de recherche
Concentrez-vous sur la manière dont la ville a changé et comment ces changements pourraient toucher les deux hommes. Eddie doit être plus jeune que Beck : comment abordera-t-il le vieil homme, connu pour ses habitudes asociales Beck doit être nostalgique et inquiet face à l’avenir mais peut-être trouvera-t-il un peu de paix, en sachant qu’il n’est pas seul à s’interroger.
Wildlife (flore et faune) to reel in (mouliner) to spread (s’étendre) to sell off (brader) marshland (marécages) mark my words (croyez-moi).
Le sujet d’expression 2
Pistes de recherche
Pensez à diviser votre travail en plusieurs parties : expliquez la situation, dénoncez les problèmes liés à la situation et enfin, proposez quelques solutions. Vous écrivez pour un magazine dont les lecteurs sont déjà sensibilisés à l’environnement, donc vous n’avez pas à les convaincre. Inspirez-vous éventuellement du document 3 et de l’idée que la ville et l’environnement peuvent cohabiter, avec un peu de bon sens et d’investissement.
Endangered (menacé) sustainable energy (energies durables) to sort waste (trier les déchets) to raise awareness (sensibiliser) to live in harmony with nature (vivre en symbiose avec la nature).
Le sujet d’expression 3 (candidats LVA uniquement)
Pistes de recherche
Vous écrivez un discours, donc il faut maîtriser une certaine rhétorique oratoire. Vous avez un public bien ciblé qui vous écoute et que vous devez convaincre d’agir. Réfléchissez aux problèmes urbains de nos jours : la surpopulation, la pollution, les transports, et proposez des solutions pour chacun d’entre eux.
Overpopulation (surpopulation) accommodation (logement) to run out of (être à court de) a lack of (un manque de) to cater for (répondre aux besoins).
1 The scene is set in New York City. Several geographical references confirm this: “The Hudson… The Harlem River” (l. 3-6) “this section of north Manhattan” (l. 21-22).
Manhattan est un quartier de New York, pas une ville !
2 1. Two men are present: Eddie and Beck.
2. They are fishing.
La réponse a) vient par l’élimination des autres réponses, qui font référence à des dates trop récentes par rapport aux éléments d’urbanisme cités.
3The scene takes place at the beginning of the 20th century. “the Hudson, littered with oystering boats” (l. 7), “Several bridges had recently been built across the waters,” (l. 7-8).
“this section of north Manhattan was still dotted with small farms” (l. 21-22) “He knew it wouldn’t be long before the countryside disappeared” (l. 8-9).
4 1. Eddie has noticed bridges, pavement, the subway and apartment buildings.
2. Firstly, the new constructions are replacing nature: where there were once fields and marshes there are now buildings and pavement. Secondly, the skyline has risen: buildings can be seen from all around.
5 1. a) Eddie feels “agitated” about these changes (l. 23). He is unhappy and concerned about them and “he avoided” one of the rivers because of how much it has changed, for the worse.
b) Beck also feels “agitated” (l. 23) and annoyed, he tries as hard as he can to protect the land from intruders (l. 15).
2. Both men choose isolation as an immediate reaction. While he is very aware of it, Eddie avoids the problem and tries to keep it out of his sight by choosing to fish at a different river. Beck, on the other hand, lives near the river and puts up a real fight against anyone trying to intrude and trespass.
Uniquement pour les candidat(e)s de LVA.
6 The overall mood is one of nostalgia and pessimism. Both men are completely powerless when faced by the changes the city is experiencing. The scene takes place at “daybreak”, the author uses poetic language to express the soft lighting and calmness of the scene. Eddie reflects on the past and on the effect urbanisation is having on the city now and how it will continue. The change is described with negative adjectives like “overcrowded”, “overfished”. The old man’s futile attitude to “chase off intruders” and “vow” to kill any poachers seems quite pathetic compared to the obvious power of the city.
7 1. The architect who built the Ritz Tower was Emery Roth.
2. It was opened in October 1926.
3. It is located along Park Avenue on the corner of Fifty-seventh Street.
8 The shape of some buildings was b).
9 This type of architecture is compared to a wedding cake and a telescope.
10 It was voted because of growing concerns about “diminishing sunlight and fresh air” (l. 9).
11 1. Architects had to: b) Limit the height of new buildings: “the city placed a limit on the maximum height and bulk of tall buildings” (l. 11-12) and c) Adapt the shape of new buildings “if (the building) exceeded the legal limit, the stories above it had to be set back” (l. 13-14).
2. The Ritz Tower was “the tallest inhabited building in the world” at this time. (l. 21-22).
Uniquement pour les candidat(e)s des séries ES, S et L qui ne composent pas au titre de la LVA.
12 Rich people wanted to live in such buildings because of their exceptional views “unobstructed… in all directions for… 25 miles” (l. 24-25). It also made them feel superior, like Gods almost as they lived in their “mansions in the clouds” (l. 28) which “dominated” the city (l. 22), they also admired the beauty of the “sculpted” buildings (l. 30) “crowned by a glistening copper roof” (l. 32-33).
Uniquement pour les candidat(e)s de LVA.
13 “The shoot-for-the-moon spirit” is closely linked to the idea of the American Dream. The idea that nothing was impossible and that people should and could aim high. Just like the new architecture that was breaking limits structurally so were the people of the era. The buildings: “sculpted” (l. 30) objects of beauty “crowned by a glistening copper roof” (l. 32-33) they were reminiscent of the fashion and aspirations of the “Roaring 20s”. This extravagance allowed residents to show off their wealth.
14 This image of New York City is futuristic. Modern shapes have been used: oval pods on the right hand side with strange machines which may be mobile lighting units. There is a kind of drone in the sky which could be a surveillance camera. A metallic tramway on the right hand side runs alongside a stream in the centre. This combination of nature and the city makes us think the design company must be conscious of creating a modern city that preserves the environment as well as corresponding to future needs but also has an idealised vision of the future.
Uniquement pour les candidat(e)s de LVA.
15 This futuristic picture shows New York as an eco-friendly city: a place where urban and rural elements combine in harmony. On the one hand, there are tall buildings including a 1920s skyscraper in the background. There is a modern tramway on the right hand side with metallic street lighting and futuristic vehicles on the left. On the other hand, there is a canal or stream running through the centre of the picture with water plants. Some of the buildings have kind of wall gardens: not only does this reinforce the concept of nature in the city but it is also a real space-saving idea as well as a new agricultural concept to produce food. It is both futuristic and natural combining the best of both worlds in one unique environment.
Documents 1, 2 and 3
16 All three documents deal with urbanisation in New York City, especially building construction and more specifically how this development affects New Yorkers.
On the one hand, document A presents a negative view of progress: urbanisation is seen as a destructive force that is disturbing nature and the inhabitants of the city. On the other hand, documents B and C present a much more positive vision. Document B concentrates on the elite population and architecture of the 1920s: progress here is equated with wealth and success. It is presented as something adaptable and sought-after. Laws are required to overcome potential problems, urbanisation is controlled. Document C however is a futuristic vision of progress: it highlights the importance of including nature in urban environments and moves away from the traditional notion of the future as a place that is solely interested in technology.
… He might go about it in the wrong way but ultimately, Beck was doing what he could to protect the wildlife along the Hudson. He obviously felt as strongly about it as Eddie did himself but why, Eddie wondered. The only way to find out was to ask him, so Eddie reeled in his line, picked up the pail and walked slowly down the bank towards Beck, whistling softly to make his presence known.
“Hey Beck”, he called to the old man and he set his things down a few feet from the hermit. “Chilly morning, isn’t it ” he said.
Un peu de vocabulaire
to grunt: grogner
“Hmm” the man grunted, not looking up from the water.
“Caught anything ” Eddie continued, trying to make conversation.
“No”, Beck muttered “because of all those people and machines the fish are nearly all gone.”
“Things certainly are changing around here, aren’t they ” Eddie replied “I bet things were different when you were a boy, eh Beck ”
“Different !” Beck exclaimed “It was another world back then – you’d catch a fish every time you put your rod in the water. The birds were your only worry. But we don’t see many of them anymore either”, he said sadly “and if you ask me, it’s only going to get worse.”
“I think you’re right. The buildings are spreading like a disease, eating up all the countryside around it. I wish there was something we could do!” Eddie added.
“I won’t sell up to those developers, this place is worth more than anything they could offer”, Beck replied angrily staring out across the water.
“But not everyone is like you. So many are willing to sell their marshland for some easy cash” Eddie knew that for a fact.
“They’ll regret it when it’s all gone”, the old man said sadly. “Mark my words.”