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…

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…

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…

Washington Square Arch – a Triumphal Arch and a Small Revolution

Triumphal Arch was built to celebrate the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration as the first President of the United States. Location: Washington Square South @ 5th Ave Opened: 1892 Architect: Stanford White Sculptors: Hermon Atkins MacNeil, Alexander Stirling Calder Style: Beaux-Arts Built to celebrate the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration as the nation’s first President,…

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…