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…

The Woolworth Building – “Cathedral of Commerce”

Location: Broadway b/t. Barclay St and Park Pl Built: 1913 Architect: Cass Gilbert Height: 792 feet Stories: 57 The Woolworth Building became the tallest in the world in 1913 and kept that distinction for the next 17 years. In 2013, 100 years after its construction, it still stood remarkably as one of the twenty tallest…

New York Yacht Club, Born in Hoboken

Despite its name, the New York Yacht Club, one of the world’s most exclusive private clubs, was not formed in New York. The club was established and originally located across the Hudson River – in Hoboken. The idea was born during an outing on John Cox Steven’s yacht Gimcrack. While on the boat, a group of…

Ode to a Brownstone

The character of New York’s many residential streets is defined by the perfect rhythm and uniformity of adjacent houses lined up in rows right next to one another and forming a solid street facade. Combining Yankee practicality with the romantic old-world feel, the brownstones are the soul of 19th century New York. Built all over…

Paramount Building

Built 1926 Architects Rapp & Rapp In 1926, Paramount Pictures, one of the major American motion picture companies, built its headquarters along with a cinematic theatre right in Times Square. At the time of its completion, it was the tallest building in Times Square and its illuminated glass globe could be seen as far as…

The Dorilton – One Beautiful Aberration

Address: 171 W 71st St, New York, NY 10023 Architect: Janes & Leo Opened: 1900   One cannot help noticing it. It’s elaborate, it’s bright-colored, it’s imposing… it is the Dorilton. The twelve-story structure is located at the corner of Broadway and 71st street across from its stylistic counterpart – the Ansonia. In contrast to the lacy and…

Chrysler Building

The most recognizable Art Deco silhouette in the city, it was the tallest in the world for a brief eleven months. Location: Lexington Ave @ 42nd Street Built: 1930 Architect: William Van Allen With its glistening spire and glorious triangle-shaped crown, the Chrysler Building is considered by many to be one of the finest buildings…

MetLife Tower – a Piece of Venice in New York

The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Building Architect: Pierre LeBrun of Napoleon LeBrun & Sons Date: 1909 Height: 700′ Floors: 50 Where in the world does the prosaic practicality of an insurance company come in the shape of a Venetian campanile? In New York City, right around Madison Square Park! The MetLife Building, and subsequently its tower, was…

St. Patrick’s Cathedral – one spectacular folly!

Architect: James Renwick Jr. Built: 1858-1879 John Hughes, Archbishop of New York, had a vision for a new, grandiose Catholic cathedral that would offset the indignities suffered by the Catholics in 19th century New York. They called it Hughes’ folly. Up until the 19th century, New York was a Protestant stronghold with an insignificant Catholic…

The Flatiron – what’s in the name?

Architect Daniel H. Burnham Date 1902 What better way to advertise a successful company than to have a striking building bear its name! The Fuller Company, one of the largest construction companies in the United States (aka the world), erected a highly unusual building to house its headquarters that was to be called the Fuller…