This article is by Jack Kelly, the author of Heaven’s Ditch: God, Gold, and Murder on the Erie Canal (St. Martin’s Press), a lively account of the canal and the many excitement generated along its banks that was published in July.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the Erie Canal made the Big Apple. In the early decades of the nineteenth century, a number of cities were competing to be the nation’s greatest port and commercial center. That honor depended on tapping the abundant supply of grain, lumber and other resources of the vast Middle West. The audacious, 360-mile waterway that New York State built between 1817 and 1825 solidified New York’s claim, pushing the city ahead of New Orleans, Baltimore and Philadelphia. Today, signs of that great project are scattered around New York, although the city itself is the greatest symbol of the canal’s phenomenal success.
The Four Seasons Restaurant, in its iconic original incarnation at the Seagram Building closed on July 16th. Tomorrow at 10am, Wright’s auction of its mid-century interior decor and serving items will begin in the Pool Room of the restaurant. Fortunately, because the building is an interior and exterior landmark, the interior will remain in its fundamental form.
The interior of the restaurant was designed by Philip Johnson with tableware and cookware by Garth and Ada Louise Huxtable, special-ordered Knoll furniture, and custom designs by Johnson, Eero Saarinen, and Mies van der Rohe, who designed the Seagram Building.
Here are some highlights from the upcoming auction:
Occupy Wall Street via Michael Fleshman on Flickr
From the Occupy Movement to Stonewall and all the way back to the Suffragette movement, New York City has been a center of political change. Since the Europeans first arrived in New York, movements have developed both inside homes and out on the streets and in other public spaces. Here are 10 spaces to check out and explore NYC’s radical past as you wander the city.
The Museum of the City of New York will present an extensive new exhibition, New York At Its Core, this fall and one of the first launches in connection with the exhibit is an update of the film Timescapes: A Multimedia Portrait of New York, 1609-Today that has been playing a the museum since 2005. The 28 minutes film covers over 400 years of New York City history and now includes the era after 9/11. One of the coolest aspects is how the film melds vintage photography into present day scenes. It’s hard to get a true preview of the film because it’s projected across three screens simultaneously in a theater custom designed for the film, but the museum has generously lent us some images and clips that combine the reels.
Governors Island beach. Image via Goldstar
New York City may have once had a natural coastline but it was primarily marshland. Today, with continued human intervention on the landscape of the New York City waterfront, you can find some great beaches, albeit man-made. From Governors Island to Brooklyn Bridge Park, and two under-the-radar spots in the Bronx, here are seven man-made beaches to check out:
Last year, French street artist JR installed a massive public installation on the side of 100 Franklin Street, in Tribeca. The 75-foot tall piece, of a ballerina in midair, taken from his 2014 documentary Les Bosquet, has mostly disappeared. Less than a year after the ballerina went up, JR and his team went back to Tribeca to install a new piece over the old one. The piece “Unframed, Ellis Island” is 95-feet tall and is a blown-up photograph of a group of immigrants on Ellis Island in 1908. In this one-minute time-lapse video, you get to see how JR and his staff install the wheat-pasted work of art, one piece at a time. In 2014, JR placed pieces in abandoned hospitals on Ellis Island. He would later film a documentary titled Ellis, featuring Robert DeNiro, actor and head of the Tribeca Film Festival.