Back in November, the developer/owner of a pair of newly-landmarked buildings at 827-831 Broadway–noted for their cast-iron architecture and a rich cultural history that includes serving as home to artist Willem de Kooning—submitted a proposal for a four-story prismatic glass addition and landscaped roof terrace that architects DXA Studio say was influenced by de Kooning’s work. Yesterday, the Landmarks Preservation Commission received the proposal with mixed reviews, feeling skeptical about whether or not cultural events should influence a building’s architecture. After hearing testimony from a slew of local residents and preservationists who feel the glass topper is too large, the LPC decided to take no action on the plan, instead sending the team back to the drawing board to better detail the restoration aspects and reconsider the addition as perhaps shorter and further setback.
Willem de Kooning
© Estate of Fred W. McDarrah
Perhaps no single photographer could be said to have captured the energy, the cultural ferment, the reverberating social change emanating from New York City in the second half of the 20th century as vividly as Fred W. McDarrah. McDarrah got his start covering the downtown beat of the Village Voice in the 1950s and ’60s, as that publication was defining a newly-emerged breed of independent journalism. McDarrah penetrated the lofts and coffeehouses of Lower Manhattan to shed light upon a new movement known as “The Beats” and went on to capture on film the New York artists, activists, politicians, and poets who changed the way everyone else thought and lived.
Through the generosity of the Estate of Fred W. McDarrah and the McDarrah family, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation was fortunate enough to add to its digital archive a dozen of the most epochal of Fred McDarrah’s images of downtown icons, including Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, Jane Jacobs, and Allen Ginsberg. And just in time for the holidays, you can purchase your own copy (with all proceeds benefitting GVSHP!).
Just a week after the pair of buildings at 827-831 Broadway was landmarked, not only for their cast-iron architecture but for their long cultural history that most notably includes serving as home to world-famous artist Willem de Kooning, the developer/owner has put forth a proposal for a four-story prismatic glass addition and landscaped roof terrace. Though the architects at DXA Studio say the modern topper’s reflectivity is representative of two phases of de Kooning’s work–his 1960s rural and pastoral landscapes as seen through the reflection of surrounding plantings and his late 1950s urban landscapes through the building reflections–local groups are not so convinced.
827-831 Broadway today via Wiki Commons (L); Willem de Kooning in his Fourth Avenue studio, April 1946. Harry Bowden, photographer. Harry Bowden papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.Via The Willem de Kooning Foundation. (R)
Underneath the lyrical and much-admired sherbet-colored facades of the twin lofts at 827-831 Broadway lies a New York tale like no other. Incorporating snuff, sewing machines, and cigar store Indians; Abstract Expressionists; and the “antique dealer to the stars,” it also involves real estate and big money, and the very real threat of the wrecking ball. Ahead, explore the one-of-a-kind past of these buildings, which most notably served as the home to world-famous artist Willem de Kooning, and learn about the fight to preserve them not only for their architectural merit but unique cultural history.
New Yorker Spotlight: Doug Steinberg Keeps the Doors Open at 110-Year-Old New York Central Art Supply, Fri, July 10, 2015
In 1905, Benjamin Steinberg opened up a store on Third Avenue between 10th and 11th Streets. Little did he know then that one day artists like Willem de Kooning would walk through its doors.
For the last 110 years, New York Central Art Supply has served the needs of New York’s amateur and professional artists. Three generations of the Steinberg family have supplied paper, paints, brushes, and canvases to everyone from first-year art students to Keith Haring. And over the last year, Doug Steinberg, Benjamin’s great-grandson, has taken a more active role at New York Central, planning for the store’s future. While Doug never formally joined the family business (he currently owns and runs his own company), New York Central has been a constant in his life. He says he’s worked there “on and off since I was born,” and has a deep appreciation for what his great-grandfather started and his father Steve grew in the ’60s and ’70s.
We recently spoke with Doug to learn about New York Central’s rich history, why so many well-known artists purchased and continue to purchase supplies here, and how the store is preparing for its 21st century evolution.