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New York City has historically looked to Europe for architectural inspiration, particularly in the Beaux-Arts and City Beautiful eras. The penchant for monumental arches has its roots in the great works of France, Italy, Greece, England and other countries. The arches in New York City form the gateways to numerous well-known landmarks in the city, but first we thought we would begin with the arches that are now lost.

1. Madison Square Park Victory Arch

Victory Arch-Flatiron District-NYC-UntappedImage via Library of Congress

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The Public Theatre at Astor Place

October promises to be an exciting month for the New York City architecture world, as the festival Archtober begins October 1st. An initiative of The American Institute of Architects New York Chapter and the Center for Architecture Foundation based at 536 Laguardia Place in SoHo, this event will give the public the unique opportunity to attend more than 150 architecture and design lectures, conferences, programs, and exhibitions happening at the Center for Architecture and collaborating institutions across the city.

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Brooklyn Army Terminal-Myths-Balconies-Atrium-NYCImage by Andrew Gustafson

Last week, we began our series on the myths of the Brooklyn Army Terminal, letting you know where Elvis set foot on the premises (not where you think!) and clarifying the “abandoned” status of the building. Today, we’re continuing with another myth. Join us for our next tour of the magnificent building on Sunday, October 26th with Turnstile Tours. Tickets here.

1. What is up with those crazy balconies?

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Penn Station-Ron Ziel-Photoshop-Then and Now-NYCImage by Ron Ziel

The original Pennsylvania Station was a marvel of architecture from its Beaux-Arts exterior that stood like an imposing entrance to New York City’s west side to its lofty steel interior that harkened back to the Belle Époque of France. Its loss, which was one of the clinching demolitions that cemented the preservation movement, is still felt in New York City’s historical consciousness today. Architectural competitions seek to return the station to its glory, while better serving the population. And now, a play called The Eternal Space is in the works about an untold story from the demolition.

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As part of the Open House New York Weekend, on Saturday, October 11th Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will offer the public an exclusive look at a series of original maps housed in the Municipal Building at 1 Centre Street. Highlights will include the 1811 Commissioners’ Plan and the Randel Farm Maps, two snapshots of the history of the development of Manhattan’s streets as we know them today.

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Fordham-armory-untapped-nycArmory Hall at Fordham University. Image via Fordham.edu

New York City’s historic armories can be seen all around the city, and are currently used for all kinds of purposes in addition to some that retain their original function. They were built between the 18th and 20th centuries for New York State volunteer militia, serving as storage of arms and housing. These monumental fortresses were meant to remind the public of the military’s might and ability to maintain domestic law. Thankfully for us, the militia took great care in designing their fortresses and we have been left with remarkable armories that remind us of an important time in our city’s history. Some still function as National Guard posts, but many have been repurposed since the mid 20th century.

Here is a list of the remaining armories in the five boroughs of New York City.

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