We previously rounded up 8 beautiful historic districts in Manhattan that were smaller than a block and we decided it was time to look at all of New York City. All the boroughs except Staten Island have historic districts smaller than a city block, as defined by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. We’ll go in order, from the smallest number of houses in the district.
This little historic district is really just a corner at the northwest corner of 89th Street and Lexington Avenue. In addition to this set of 6 buildings along Lexington Avenue, the district includes one narrow townhouse at 121 E. 89th Street. According to Ephemeral New York, Henry Hardenbergh, who designed the homes, “also designed the Dakota and the original Waldorf-Astoria on 34th Street.”
As riders of the New York City City, we’re all familiar with the rats and supposed mole-people, the trash and mold, and have come to ignore–or accept–the many unpleasantries of the NYC subway. What we often forget is that the MTA had originally planned for a ride on the subway to be a luxurious experience, as evidenced by the glorious (and decommissioned) City Hall subway station. By combining art and technology, New Yorkers back in 1904 had high hopes for their new underground.
The original Interborough Rapid Transit Company pulled in artists to create civic works specifically to enhance the subway experience. At the time of the international Arts and Crafts Movement, architects and artists designed ceramic ornament for subway signage. The signs not only announced the name of the stop, but planners also hoped that color, design elements, and eventually illustrations would be recognizable by non-English speakers so that they could orient themselves. Most of the tile designs were done by Heins & LaFarge (1901–1907) and Squire Vickers (1906–1942).
There are constantly additions being made by artists, local schools, and others, but we’re sharing with you some of our favorite original Arts and Crafts/Beaux Arts-style ceramics from around when the subway first opened in 1904:
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.
Image via Library of Congress
Armory 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.
This year’s Open House New York is coming up the weekend of October 11th and 12th–and we’re not the only ones getting excited for this year’s events at some of our favorite New York City locations. Every year, the country’s largest architecture and design event puts on an impressive number of great events to educate the public about architecture and design culture in NYC. Our favorite OHNY events are the tours of locations that are usually closed to the public and although not all have been announced quite yet, we’ve highlighted 16 locations so far that you should check out:
We know that some of our favorite locations are being reopened for OHNY tours this year. These include:
Earlier this year, we presented 8 combination coffee shops in New York City, ranging from record shop coffee shops to flower shop coffee shops and everything in between. Since then, we’ve come across a lot more combination joints where you can get a drink, sip a coffee or grab a slice of pizza, all while reveling in another fun activity ranging from board games, arcade games, video screening or even getting your hair cut.
Image via Not Just Geeks