Native New Yorker Gil Shapiro founded Urban Archaeology in the early 1970s, when the salvaging movement was just catching on. With a collector’s–and creator’s–eye and an entrepreneurial spirit, he began re-imagining architectural remnants as treasured additions to the home environment. This month the company has been preparing for an auction taking place on March 27th and 28th, handled by Guernsey’s auction house, when nearly 1,000 of their long-treasured pieces of history will be sold to prepare for a move to a new location.
First opened in Soho in 1978, the store’s early customers–including Andy Warhol and other denizens of what was undisputedly the epicenter of the art world–adored the unique and time-treasured aspects of Shapiro’s restored architectural salvage pieces, yet they would always find ways they wished they could customize their favorite items. Finding that he excelled at bringing a fresh perspective to pieces of historical and architectural importance, he started reproducing individual pieces as well as creating new lines of bath fixtures and lighting, many of which originated in places like the Plaza Hotel, New York’s Yale Club and the St. Regis Hotel.
Read our interview with Gil here
Last year’s WantedDesign event in Chelsea, via Ikonphoto+Nudesignstudio
NYCxDESIGN is an annual celebration that brings together the design, commerce, culture, education, and entertainment communities for a full lineup of programs including exhibitions, installations, trade shows, talks, launches and open studios. Now in its third year, the city-wide festival will take place this year from Friday, May 8th to Tuesday, May 19th. The events calendar will be continually updated, but it’s already full of can’t-miss programming.
Check out some of the highlights here
Remains of Riverside Hospital on North Brother Island, via Wiki Commons
Thanks to the underground world of urban explorers, there aren’t many parts of New York City that the public hasn’t seen. One such explorer, photographer Christopher Payne, took special interest in North Brother Island, the 20-acre piece of land in the East River between the Bronx and Rikers Island that was once home to a quarantine hospital and the residence of Typhoid Mary.
The island of building ruins and birds is not open to the public, but between 2008 and 2013 Payne was granted exclusive visitation access. He’ll share his photos and findings in an upcoming event at the Museum of the City of New York called “The Last Unknown Place in New York City: A Conversation About North Brother Island.”
More on the event
Image via Skyscraper Museum
It seems like every other day now we’re discussing the latest supertall tower, whether it be 432 Park topping out or the pricing information for visiting One World Trade Center’s observatory. These stories always include the basics — the tower’s height, number of stories, and architectural design; but we usually discuss these facts in relation to the building as a whole, not focusing on what it is that really sets these skyscrapers apart–their tops. A new exhibit at the Skyscraper Museum hones in on just that, the uppermost floors of the world’s tallest towers.
Ten Tops looks at buildings 100 stories and higher, analyzing “the architectural features they share, including observation decks, luxury hotels and restaurants, distinctive crowns and night illumination, as well as the engineering and construction challenges of erecting such complex and astonishing structures.”
More on the exhibit ahead
Fulton Center, one of the many female-led projects at the exhibit
To mark Women’s History Month, a new exhibit at the Center for Architecture will showcase the work of more than 100 female architects, landscape architects, and engineers across the five boroughs. Built by Women New York City (BxW NYC) is a project of the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation, which started accepting nominations for outstanding female-led design last fall and received 350 submissions.
Among the 98 sites celebrated at the show are the Pepsi Cola Corporate Headquarters on Park Avenue, designed in the 1960s by Natalie de Blois of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; the new Fulton Center, the work of more than two dozen women; and the High Line, another collaborative effort of many females.
More on the exhibit
Expect conditions to be a little more, um, icy. Photo courtesy of Green-Wood Cemetery
What could be more romantic than a cozy mid-winter afternoon trolley ride through one of NYC’s most interesting national historic landmarks, Green-Wood Cemetery? Celebrate this most romantic of holidays with a bit of a gothic twist: Expert guide Ruth Edebohls will lead a tour highlighting historic power couples, romantic monuments and tales of love everlasting, both triumphant and grim.
You can also view Civil War love letters from the Brooklyn Historical Society’s historic archives on display in the Historic Chapel and have some coffee, tea or hot chocolate before the trolley tour begins. The event is on February 14, 1-3 PM; $20 for Green-Wood and BHS members/$25 for nonmembers.
Find out more and buy tickets here: Love Set in Stone: A Valentine’s Trolley Tour.
There’s definitely no shortage of amazing homes to ogle over from your desktop (especially when on 6sqft), but how often do you actually get to experience one of these places up close and personal? PlaceInvaders is a cool new local startup that gives us regular folks the keys to some of the city’s most incredible apartments. Here individuals are invited to schmooze with fellow NYC inhabitants while also wining and dining on often experimental fare. PlaceInvaders recently brought foodies into Cindy Gallop’s infamous “Black Apartment,” while another event found a group eating delicious moose pot pie (yes, you read that right) in an artist’s loft overlooking the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Find out how to sign up here
We get frustrated every time we try to use Saran Wrap on the leftover half of a lemon, so we can’t imagine shrink-wrapping the entire ground floor of a building. But that’s exactly what design firm SO-IL did at the Storefront for Art and Architecture.
The installation is part of Storefront’s latest exhibit BLUEPRINT, which showcases 50 blueprints from various disciplines dating from 1961 to 2013. The show was also curated by SO-IL. By wrapping the exterior of the space, the gallery is “totally open, yet perpetually closed and fixed… wrapped in time and in space.”
More on the exhibit and installation
Even true New York City culture buffs may have never heard of the Elevator Historical Society Museum (or known that such a society exists), so if you really want to impress a crowd with your knowledge of little-known urban trivia, be sure to sign up for tomorrow’s tour of the Long Island City museum. The private tour, hosted by the New York Adventure Club, is being led by the museum’s founder and curator Patrick Carrajat, who has collected more than 2,000 pieces of elevator ephemera like manuals, metal identification plates, pop culture paraphernalia, and obscure mechanical parts from the early days of vertical travel.
More on the museum and tour here
The proposed East Midtown Rezoning has been a hotly debated issue over the past few years. First introduced by Mayor Bloomberg, and backed by Mayor de Blasio, the rezoning would allow developers to build larger and taller than the current Grand Central Terminal district zoning allows in exchange for financial contributions to the area’s infrastructure needs. The Department of City Planning feels the rezoning would ensure that the area maintains its spot as a global business center, but others think it would forever ruin the historic nature of the neighborhood.
One of the most major components of the project is One Vanderbilt, a 68-story, 1,514-foot zigzag tower that will stand adjacent to Grand Central. Along with the building comes a reconfiguration of the Vanderbilt Corridor, the streetscape around the Terminal. A panel discussion at the Museum of the City of New York on January 20th will examine both the tower and the corridor and what they mean for Midtown East.
More about the event here