Earlier this week, we published a photo essay about notable spots along the Hudson River in “Thirteen of NYC’s Most Important Architectural Sites on the Hudson River.” The East River, in contrast, is in a different state of development with new sleek skyscrapers abutting both active and abandoned industrial sites. Untapped Cities photographer Troy Hahnwent by East River Ferry to photograph these elements on the Brooklyn side, showing how new and old co-exist. Inevitably with the course of development, some industrial elements will be lost but sites along the East River such as Long Island City and the Brooklyn Navy Yard have embraced or built around their historical elements.
New York City wouldn’t be the same without the scores of statues that decorate its many parks, plazas and other public spaces. From Christopher Columbus at Columbus Circle to Atlas supporting the world on his shoulders at Rockefeller Center, New York City sculptures range in subject, size and style, from historic stone and bronze to brightly-colored modern and even post-modern sculptures. But every now and then, a statue stops you in your tracks as you wonder, what is that doing here? We’ve rounded up the quirkiest and most surprising statues in New York City, from a former communist leader to a giant bronze rat.
1. Vladimir Lenin atop a building in the East Village
Our favorite sculpture in Manhattan has to be this bronze replica of Communist leader Vladimir Lenin atop a building in the East Village. What could it possibly be doing there? It turns out the statue was originally a Soviet-commissioned work, but when the Soviet Union collapsed, it was never unveiled. Developer Michael Rosen, a former professor of radical sociology at NYU, wanted a sculpture of Lenin for Red Square, his luxury apartment building on East Houston Street between Avenues A and B. A team of art dealers found the sculpture in a dacha in Moscow and brought it back for Rosen. (more…)
New York City has five hundred miles of coastline, yet we tend to forget that the shores along the Hudson River used to be a working waterfront. In the early 20th century, there were many factories, warehouses, and distribution facilities along the Hudson, and battle ships docked on the Upper West Side until the 1950s. Of course, construction of new buildings, including such major architectural landmarks as the future home of the Whitney Museum and the Freedom Tower, will continue well into the future. Last week, we joined Openhousenewyork for an architectural cruise up the Hudson River narrated by Tom Mellins, architectural historian and curator, and Bill Miller, maritime historian and author, where we learned a host of facts and fun stories about notable architecture along the Hudson. Here are thirteen of the most interesting and “untapped” buildings, bridges and landmarks. (more…)
Summer Streets route map showing the seven miles of open streets, plus the six main rest stops.
In 2008, New York City kicked off the first ever Summer Streets, an event designed to get city-dwellers out of their cars and onto the streets. The Department of Transportation closed off routes usually meant for vehicles, stretching from Wall Street all the way up to Central Park, and opened them up to runners, bikers, bladers and walkers. Six years later it’s still going strong as an annual event held on three consecutive Saturdays in August. Back with the same route (Lafayette Street to 4th Avenue to Park Avenue), the 2013 Summer Streets has some very new art to check out.
“The original Battery Park City design was about as banal as could be imagined—bland modernist towers in a Corbusian park-like setting,” architecture critic Francis Morrone is saying to his audience of some 25 attentive New Yorkers, who’ve signed up for one of his renowned Municipal Art Society tours. “Fate in the form of the 1975 fiscal crisis saved us, decreeing this could not be built. By the time it started up again, a whole new generation of architects—Young Turks—had replaced the old.” How lucky for New York, because the Battery Park City we’re about to see with Morrone is by universal assent superior to what would have been. (more…)
In addition to being the setting for numerous films and novels, New York City maintains a special connection with children’s literature. Scores of authors set their stories here, which makes New York City a fairytale world for many children. New York City also possesses a marvelous array of sites associated with well-known works of children’s literature. So for your children or your inner child, here is our guide to sites where children’s stories come alive in New York City.
1. Eloise at The Plaza Hotel
In 1955, Eloise was published. Written by Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight, the book followed the adventures of six year old Eloise who lived on the top floor of the Plaza Hotel. The books, and its sequels, have been accepted by the Plaza as a part of its heritage. A portrait of Eloise hangs in the hotel’s lobby and the Eloise store allows readers to “dress up, so mini-Eloises can model their favorite looks from the podium…enjoy ‘park views’ and watch their favorite Eloise movie clips, or enjoy story time.” The store even hosts birthday parties. At the Eloise Tricycle Garage, children can rent Radio Flyer tricycles, children bikes and scooters (in addition to bicycles). (more…)