According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), Manhattan boasts about 20 bridges that connect the Big Apple to neighboring areas—many of which have various degrees of landmark status, including the Brooklyn Bridge, the George Washington Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, the High Bridge, the University Heights Bridge and the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge. We often use these marvels without giving them much thought beyond the grandiose size and maybe their engineering, so to give you a little trivia to impress your friends with the next time you cross one these storied bridges, we’re offering up a handy primer on seven of the city’s most famous.
It’s easy to forget that Columbus Day is more than just a day off from work (which we’re not complaining about), but rather a holiday celebrating Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1942. But if you need reminding, look no further than these memorials scattered around New York City.
Photo courtesy of Beyer Blinder Belle
The TWA Flight Center at what is today John F. Kennedy International airport represents both the ephemeral and the ageless; our vulnerability at the end of the “American century” and the enduring beauty of inspired modern design.
The work of mid-20th century Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen, the historic terminal is among the city’s most beloved architectural treasures. It first opened in 1962, a year after the architect’s death, and Saarinen posthumously received the AIA Gold Medal award for the design in 1962.
Despite its storied past and widespread reverence, since the demise of TWA and its subsequent purchase by American Airlines in 2001, the terminal’s iconic “head house” has remained eerily vacant, and its future continues to be a point of contention.
Perusing those bins of vintage postcards at flea markets is always a treat, but who wants to mail and part ways with such fun pieces of nostalgia? A new app called ScenePast: Americana Road Trip, however, lets users send 20th century postcards digitally, so you can share your favorite scenes without tapping into your personal collection.
If that wasn’t enough, ScenePast also has a feature that provides the current-day view of the streetscape depicted on the postcard–a fun tool that is sure to prove addictive for history buffs.
Before there were sports bars and college dorms, there were bratwurst and shooting clubs. In 1855, New York had the third largest German-speaking population in the world, outside of Vienna and Berlin, and the majority of these immigrants settled in what is today the heart of the East Village.
Known as “Little Germany” or Kleindeutschland (or Dutchtown by the Irish), the area comprised roughly 400 blocks, with Tompkins Square Park at the center. Avenue B was called German Broadway and was the main commercial artery of the neighborhood. Every building along the avenue followed a similar pattern–workshop in the basement, retail store on the first floor, and markets along the partly roofed sidewalk. Thousands of beer halls, oyster saloons, and grocery stores lined Avenue A, and the Bowery, the western terminus of Little Germany, was filled with theaters.
The bustling neighborhood began to lose its German residents in the late nineteenth century when Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe move in, and a horrific disaster in 1904 sealed the community’s fate.
The Rainbow Room served its first guests on October 3, 1934, and now, almost 80 years later to the day, the historic restaurant and event space has reopened after a restoration by Gabellini Sheppard Architects.
Located on the 65th floor of the Raymond Hood-designed 30 Rockefeller Plaza (30 Rock), it was the first restaurant located in a high-rise building and for decades was the highest restaurant in the country. Suffering from a decline in business, the fine-dining establishment closed its doors in 2009. But in 2012, the Rainbow Room was declared an official interior landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), and a year later it was announced that the storied space would reopen this fall. Right on schedule, the new incarnation of the venue opened last night for a preview by the Sir John Soanes Museum Foundation.
This weekend, all you old-house lovers will have two opportunities to step back in time and explore the elite Harlem enclave known as Strivers’ Row. Located on West 138th to West 139th Streets, between Adam Clayton Powell and Frederick Douglass Boulevards, the area was once home to prominent, wealthy African-American performers, artists, and professionals who lived in the harmonious row of stately brick dwellings.
Running until Sunday, October 5th is an exhibit at Macy’s called “Strivers’ Row Style: Uptown Comes Downtown,” which will feature vignettes by various designers of what the interiors of these historic homes would have looked like during the heyday. Also on the 5th is the Strivers’ Rome Home Tour, which lets participants inside eight of the distinctive residences and four historic churches.
In the internet hierarchy of “things the internets like”, we’d argue that ruin porn sits wedged somewhere between Buzzfeed quizzes and cats. Images of decaying architecture conjure up unsettling feelings of tragedy and loss, but somehow manage to grip us with its intangible beauty. Whatever the cause for this may be, the thrill and enjoyment we get from looking ruin porn is palpable.
The term ‘ruin porn’ is said to have been coined by blogger James Griffioen during a 2009 interview with Vice magazine in which he criticized photographers who scouted down-trodden Detroit for provocative photos. While ruin porn is the trend at hand, decades before its arrival there was something called ‘ruin value’.
New York City’s architecture and design month is almost here. “Archtober” is 31 days of architecture and design events, including talks, tours, receptions, and festivals. There are dozens of events for you to check out, but we’ve hand-picked ten that will give you a well-rounded and memorable Archtober.
Image courtesy of MNCY
Long considered the capital of Jewish America, this overpoweringly cramped neighborhood was considered by many to be the greatest concentration of Jewish life in nearly 2,000 years.
Between 1880 and 1924, 2.5 million mostly-impoverished Ashkenazi Jews came to the US and nearly 75 percent took up residence on the Lower East Side. According to the Library of Congress, by 1900, more than 700 people per acre were settling in a neighborhood lined with tenements and factories. And as quickly as they descended on the streets, all sharing a common language (mostly Yiddish) and most certainly, similar backgrounds, they quickly established synagogues as early as 1865 (the landmarked Bialystoker Synagogue, whose congregants were mostly Polish immigrants from Bailystok), small shops, pushcarts teeming with goods, social clubs and even financial-aid societies.
By 1910, the Lower East Side’s population was well over the five million mark, but sadly, such congestion habitually caused havoc.