Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

The Rockefeller Christmas tree is indisputably one of the world’s most recognizable sites. Its lighting ceremony in early December marks the beginning of New York’s holiday season and its sparkling presence throughout the holidays makes the city magical. In 1931, construction workers building the Rockefeller Center pooled together some money for a Christmas tree. It…

Black and White Ball – a Work of Art by Truman Capote

On November 28, 1966, Truman Capote hosted “a little masked ball” for 540 of his closest friends. The event, held at the venerable Plaza Hotel ballroom, went down in history as the Party of the Century. Though hailed as the greatest party ever thrown, it was also shamed for its over-the-top exuberance in the context…

The Amazing Brooklyn Bridge

This wondrous bridge was the first to span the East River and connect Manhattan and Brooklyn. Upon completion it was the longest suspension bridge in the world, with its towers standing taller than the rest of the country’s man-made structures! Designed by bridge-builder genius John Augustus Roebling, the Brooklyn Bridge was an astonishing feat of…

Charging Bull – One Giant Christmas Present

The Charging Bull, representing a rising market, is one of the most easily recognizable symbols of Wall Street. The Charging Bull was created by sculptor Arturo Di Modica in his Soho studio on Crosby Street. Conceived by the sculptor as an antidote for the sour mood caused by the 1987 stock market crash known as…

Central Park — the First Landscaped Public Park in the Nation

Central Park, the green wonder of New York, is the first designed urban park in the United States. It’s not the largest park in New York, falling in size behind Pelham Bay and Van Cortlandt Parks in Bronx, Greenbelt Park in Staten Island, and Flushing Meadows/Corona Park in Queens. Nevertheless, at 843 acres it is…

Rockefeller Center – a City Within a City

Strangely enough, the story of Rockefeller Center starts with that of the Metropolitan Opera. The Met, located at the time on Broadway and 39th, needed a bigger space. The land around 49th Street behind 5th Ave belonged to Columbia University and seemed like an ideal new place for the opera house. As the wheels of…

The Guggenheim – “unlike any other museum in the world”

Solomon R. Guggenheim, a businessman, art collector, and part-heir to a great mining fortune, began collecting abstract art in the 1920s. After retiring from his business endeavors, he became a full-time art collector, focusing specifically on modern and contemporary art. In order to display his collection, he founded the Museum of Non-Objective Painting in 1939. The collection,…

How the Metropolitan Museum was Born

On July 4, 1866, while celebrating America’s Independence Day in Paris, a group of American businessmen, financiers, artists, and thinkers of the day decided that New York City needed its own art museum. Thus, the idea of the Metropolitan Museum of Art was born. After four years of discussions in which American civic leaders, art…

Statue of Liberty Pedestal and the Invention of Fundraising

Nobody had attempted building a colossus since the Colossus of Rhodes, the towering wonder of the ancient world — until the Statue of Liberty. Constructing such an edifice presented not only titanic technical obstacles but also a formidable financial challenge. Raising funds for building the modern-day colossus — Lady Liberty — is the story of…

Statue of Liberty – an American Colossus

The iconic statue was a gift to the people of the United States from the people of France. Location: Liberty Island (Bedloe Island) Built: 1884 Dedicated: 1886 Sculptor: Frederic Auguste Bartholdi Engineer: Gustave Eiffel Pedestal: Richard Morris Hunt Lady Liberty was christened “Liberty Enlightening the World” and gifted to the people of the United States…

Diego Rivera’s Rockefeller Center Mural

Diego Rivera, a prominent Mexican painter and giant of 20th century art, was commissioned by the Rockefellers to create a monumental fresco for the lobby of the newly-built RCA building, the largest structure of Rockefeller Center. The mural was to be titled, laconically, “Man at the Crossroads Looking with Hope and High Vision to the…

Lunch atop a Skyscraper – a photo with a story

The iconic photo depicting 11 workers casually eating their lunch 840 feet above ground was staged as a promotion for the newly constructed Rockefeller Center. The photo is mesmerizing, as it plays on the contrast between the ease in the men’s demeanors and the danger of sitting on a narrow beam 69 floors in the…