The four red characters in the yellow sign at the upper right mean, roughly, “reasonably prosperous life” or perhaps “moderately prosperous life”. Guaranteeing all Chinese a reasonably prosperous life is one of the Communist Party’s stated goals and the expression “小康生活” (xiaokang shenghuo) appears regularly in the Chinese media and Party publications. In any case, I think the expression nicely frames the Beijing street scene going on below the sign.
Boston City Hall opened to a lot of fanfare (and controversy) in 1968. A lot of people saw it as a dramatic symbol of a modern, new Boston. As I recall, that is how it looked to me when I moved to Boston in 1970. Almost 50 years later, the building sure has lost its luster. It looks ugly and out of place in Boston’s otherwise people friendly, rather intimate downtown. Brutalist Modern indeed. When I visited recently, a friend told me Boston is thinking about tearing the place down and building a new city hall, something more comfortable and on a more human scale. Good idea.