From the pyramids of Teotihuacan to One World Trade, here are the tallest buildings of the last 5,000 years.
Slovakian artist and designer Martin Vargic created six infographics that chart the history of buildings across Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, South America and Oceania. The infographics, which date buildings (and a few notable monuments) as far back as 2,650 B.C., give a pretty complete look, highlighting the construction’s name, shape, height (which does account for a tower’s spire), the year it was erected, and the years it was its continent’s, if not the world’s (denoted by a red shading), tallest building. The charts also give a good snapshot of the great skyscraper race that took hold in the early 20th century, as well as shifts in global money as seen in the emergence of Asian skyscrapers like Taipei 101 and the Burj Khalifa in the mid-2000s. You can get a closer look by expanding the image ahead.
This way for the complete picture
Chrysler Building elevators via Wally Gobetz on Flickr
Earlier this week, we visited the New York School of Interior Design‘s latest exhibit, Rescued, Restored, Reimagined: New York’s Landmark Interiors, which, on the 50th anniversary of New York’s landmark legislation, features photography and information about more than 20 public spaces, known and little-known, that have been designated as interior landmarks. Looking through images of restored Broadway theaters, perfectly preserved coffered rotundas and period furniture, we couldn’t help getting stuck on one often-overlooked element–the elevator.
For most of us who live in a high rise or work in a typical office building, the elevator doors are just another blank wall that we stare at, only paying attention when they open and usher us in. But when the city’s great Art Deco buildings were rising, the elevators were an extension of the lavish ornamentation and geometric details of the façade and interior lobby. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite Art Deco elevators in landmarked interiors, which means they’re all publicly accessible so you can check them all out first hand.
Go up in style here
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the creation of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, and thereby the Landmarks Law, the city has launched a new educational website, landmarks.nyc, that will grow its content throughout the year. The site offers digital features, a schedule of free- and low-cost events at landmarked sites throughout the city, slide shows from the agency’s historic photo archives, various blog posts, and walking tours.
Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs squaring off
Love him or hate him, Robert Moses left an indelible mark on New York City’s urban infrastructure. Most of us formed our opinions on the city’s master planner after reading Robert Caro’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book “The Power Broker.” But if you’re looking for a lighter (in both senses of the word; Caro’s book weighs 3.3 pounds) read on Mr. Moses, you may want to check out the new graphic novel “Robert Moses: The Master Builder of New York City.” Created by French writer Pierre Christin and Chilean artist Olivier Balez, the “anti-hero comic” is the perfect dramatic portrayal of Moses, both celebrating and criticizing his contributions to the city.
We were saddened here at 6sqft to hear about the passing last week of Leonard Nimoy, an extraordinary actor, director, poet, singer, and photographer, known worldwide for his role as Mr. Spock in “Star Trek.” Closer to home, though, Nimoy was also known as a dedicated philanthropist who adored the Upper West Side’s Symphony Space. In fact, in 2002 the multi-disciplinary performing arts organization renamed its historic Thalia Theater the Leonard Nimoy Thalia to reflect their patron’s generosity.
Just like the storied career of Nimoy, Symphony Space has its own eclectic past, from its beginnings as a food market funded by Vincent Astor to the Crystal Palace skating rink and, finally, to a neighborhood institution frequented by the likes of Stephen Colbert and Cynthia Nixon.
Learn about this history of Symphony Space here
It’s hard to imagine New York City without its streets overflowing with people, but this “home video” we’ve uncovered from 1968 gives us an incredible look at the city during one of its most transformative periods. Although the video quality isn’t all that great—the guy or gal filming this is using ’60s technology, after all—the footage captured is pretty stellar nonetheless. Expect to see a near-desolate Soho, a Strand bookstore that amazingly looks exactly like it does today, and a lot of tucked shirts and knee-length skirts. Though there aren’t any protesting hippies or riots in the near-30-minute video, there are signs of the politically contentious times, including a couple of poster boards urging citizens to join the U.S. Marines and Army.
Starting at the Brooklyn Bridge, going up Broadway, and ending at the lake in a very crowded Central Park, you won’t want to miss a second of this fantastic film.
Watch the video here
The Village People Stepping Out, The Grand Ballroom, NY, NY, June 1978 (l); Three Amigos, Bushwick (r). By Meryl Meisler.
It’s 2015 and Bushwick is on fire. But instead of being lost to the flames of neglect and destruction, buildings are being sold and rented like hotcakes. Photographer Meryl Meisler’s first monograph, “Disco Era Bushwick: A Tale of Two Cities,” published by Bizarre Bushwick gives us an insider’s view of the streets and scenes of New York City during the glam/gritty 1970s and ‘80s when Manhattan’s iconic dance clubs like Studio 54 and Paradise Garage were in their heyday–and there was no brunch to be had in Bushwick.
See more of a bad and bygone Bushwick this way
If you’ve ever wondered what subway lines were the first to appear in NYC, this cool animated map has all the answers and then some. Created by Appealing Industries via Paste Magazine (h/t Untapped), the map shows the evolution of the city’s various lines over the 100-plus years that it’s been in operation. Surprisingly, Brooklyn is the first to see action on the map; the lines were part of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (later the BMT), created in 1896, and followed existing surface railways and streetcar lines. The IRT, which runs in Manhattan and marked the official opening of the subway network, wasn’t established until several years later in 1904. Untapped is also apt to note that the map doesn’t consider the aboveground rail lines that were constructed in the late 19th century, nor does it include the first pneumatically-powered subway line which opened in 1870.
Magnolia Grandiflora via Wiki Commons (L); Weeping Beech Tree via NY State Archives (R)
Last week we looked at the city’s oldest and tallest tree in Alley Pond, Queens, which got us thinking about one of the questions at the Preservation Trivia night we recently attended. What are the only two living things in NYC to have ever been landmarked? We’ll admit, we were stumped. We guessed Peter Stuyvesant’s pear tree and the World Trade Center Survivor Tree, which were both wrong. But they are trees: the Weeping Beech Tree in Flushing, Queens and the Magnolia Grandiflora in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn. And to make it even more exclusive, only the latter still survives; the Beech Tree died and was cut down in 1999.
Find out the history of how these landmarks came to be
A 1776 map that shows Peter Stuyvesant’s farm in the present-day East Village
Cartographers and history buffs will have a field day with this online tool known as NYC Time Machine. Using public data from the New York Public Library, the resource allows users to “navigate perfectly-overlaid maps of NYC from 1660 to present day.” The site is part of Vestiges of New York, which overlays historic photos and current images.