Many of New York City’s museums are located in grand buildings designed specifically to show off the grandeur of their collections and to make a statement regarding the cultural standing of New York City. However, when the City’s museums were nascent they had to make due with whatever space they could. Their early homes were, for the most part, smaller, mirroring the size of their original budgets and collections. Looking back at the former homes of eight New York City institutions enables visitors to fully appreciate their current state.
From left to right: A. Stewart as the Fuller Building, Leonard Schultze as the Waldorf-Astoria, Ely Jacques Khan as the Squibb BuildingWilliam Van Alen as the Chrysler Building, Ralph Walker as the Irving Trust Building, Arthur J.Arwine as a low pressure heating boiler, and Joseph Freelander as the Museum of the City of New York. Source: NY Times
Looking at this photo from the 1931 Society of Beaux-Arts Architects Ball, we get the feeling that costumes were more…creative back then. The theme that year was “Fête Moderne – a Fantasie in Flame and Silver,” a celebration of the future of designing buildings. Appropriately, at least two dozen architects came as buildings that they had recently designed to exemplify their vision for the future.
All six of the buildings, from the Chrysler Building, to the Waldorf Astoria and the Museum of the City of New York, are still prominent in New York City life today. Perhaps these costumes, and this indelible image, helped spread the buildings’ popularity. After all, they are pretty memorable, especially William van Alen’s Chrysler costume. (Towering headpiece aside, he is the only one in the photo that chose not to don the generic tunic worn by the others!).
The Beaux-Arts Ball is an ongoing annual event, held in New York by the Architectural League. Hopefully, they’ll do a similar dress-as-your-project theme sometime soon, because we’d love to see David Childs’s attempt at a One World Trade Center hat.
Our curated events picks for this week: Participate in video installation art with Made in NY, taste Bronx Brewery’s new Belgian Pale Ale, Gimme the Loot film screening at IFC.
MONDAY, MARCH 18: Attention Heroes, villains, crusaders, cyborgs, mutants and creatures of the night. The Super-human Underground comes together to celebrate our collective feats of wonder with a night of Underground movies and dangerously cheap booze at the infamous Gotham city lounge. Featuring: “Bodega Chips” Directed by Jamie Idea, an award winning short film by Maxwell Cohn, a speciel preiview of our new secret film project, and the premier of “The Life and Times of Dr. Adventure”. This is a special event, please come in costume and prepared for a night of mind-bending superhuman feats. 7pm at Gotham City Lounge, 1293 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn. RSVP for the password. (more…)
Our curated events picks for this week: E.L. Doctorow reading at MCNY, No Longer Empty + Local Roots 5 course fundraising dinner, Chinatown Restaurant Week.
MONDAY, MARCH 11: “We stood in the shadow of the Trylon and Preisphere, and I felt these familiar forms, huge and white, granted some sort of beneficence to my shoulders.” So says the narrator of World’s Fair: A Novel, the 1986 National Book Award Winner by celebrated novelist E.L. Doctorow, which recreates the magic of the 1939 New York World’s Fair as seen through the eyes of a young boy. Join Mr. Doctorow as he reads excerpts from his novel, followed by a discussion with the audience. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Designing Tomorrow: America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930s. 6:30pm at MCNY, 1220 5th Avenue. Reservations required. $6 Museum members / $8 students & seniors / $12 general admission. RSVP here. (more…)
Our curated events picks for this week: Basquiat at Gagosian, No Longer Empty’s Tiki Tiki Club performance, David Zwirner’s new gallery opening.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11:Jean-Michel Basquiat at Gagosian. Featuring over fifty works from public and private collections, the exhibition spans Basquiat’s brief but meteoric career, which ended with his death at the age of twenty-seven. Thirty years after Larry Gagosian first presented his work in Los Angeles, twenty years after the first posthumous survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1992–93), and eight years after the Brooklyn Museum of Art retrospective (2005), viewers will have a fresh opportunity to consider Basquiat’s central role in his artistic generation as a lightning rod and a bridge between cultures. Gagosian Gallery, 555 West 24th Street. FREE.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12: New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman will lead a conversation about how New York City can tackle large-scale public projects in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, both effectively and fairly. With architectural historian Hilary Ballon, University Professor at NYU and curator of the Museum’s blockbuster exhibitions on Robert Moses and the Grid; Adam Freed, Director of the Global Securing Water Program at the Nature Conservancy; Adriaan Geuze, founding Principal of West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture (Rotterdam and New York); and Philip Orton, Research Scientist at Stevens Institute of Technology and an expert on storm surges and physical oceanography. 6:30pm at MCNY, 1220 Fifth Avenue. Reservations required. $6 Museum members; $8 seniors and students; $12 general public. Buy tickets here.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13:The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (MFIT) presents Shoe Obsession, an exhibition that examines our culture’s ever-growing fascination with extravagant and fashionable shoes. Shoes by established designers such as Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin continue to be bestsellers, while the number of rising stars within the footwear industry is multiplying. Over the past decade, heels have reached new heights —as have prices. High-heeled shoes—the fashion shoes of the 21st century—have become so tall that even a 4-inch heel is considered “low.” Shoe Obsession will feature approximately 150 examples of contemporary footwear, highlighting the extreme, lavish, and imaginative styles that have made shoes central to fashion. 12-8pm at MFIT, 7th Ave at 27th Street. FREE.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14:Kostume Kult‘s Original Sin Valentine Party. The apocalyptic year is over and rebirth is at hand. Some call it sin, most call it love and we call it an all-night, naughty garden of Eden — starting with a happy-hour community gathering and growing into hot-house dance party with heavenly visions and sinful delights. (And extra special DJs after midnight.) Mixing the Chinese Year of the Snake with forbidden fruits, phallic flowers and suggestible natives, expect a night of divine naughtiness and dirty pleasures in a crazily creative venue with a pumping sound system and convenient downtown access. 8pm-4am at Kostume Kult, 34 Vandam Street (between 6th Ave & Varick). $5 before 10pm; $10 after 10pm.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15: The day after Valentine’s day, join No Longer Empty and artists Shaun Leonardo, Andrew Leonardo and Ivan Monforte in re-defining the Tiki Tiki club, a popular Queens nightclub phenomenon. Originating from Mexican and Central American nightlife culture, these clubs invite men to pay a female $2 to be their dance partner for a song. Unlike strip clubs, women do not take off their clothes – just provide companionship during a cumbia, salsa, merengue or bachata song. The Tiki Tiki Club revises this ‘romantic transaction’ by giving women the chance to pay men for a dance – reversing the exchange. The exhibition space will be transformed into into a nightclub for the evening, with music and drinks contributing to the night club atmosphere. 7-10pm at The Clocktower, 29-27 41st Avenue, Long Island City, Queens. FREE.
Also on Friday: Coinciding with the gallery’s 20-year anniversary, David Zwirner is pleased to inaugurate a new five-storied exhibition and project space with a presentation of works by Dan Flavin and Donald Judd. Designed by Selldorf Architects, the building incorporates ca. 30,000 square feet over five stories. It will be the first commercial art gallery to receive LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. Its outdoor garden spaces will be created by Piet Oudolf, who designed the gardens and plantings on the nearby High Line. Also contributing to the project are Renfro Design Group (for architectural lighting) and Atelier Ten, engineering design consultants and engineers. David Zwirner Gallery, 537 West 20th Street. FREE.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16:Marcel Proust‘s In Search of Lost Time is one of the most influential and ambitious literary works of all time. The Morgan celebrates the 1913 publication of the first of its seven volumes, Swann’s Way, with a fascinating selection of the author’s notebooks, preliminary drafts, galley-proofs, and other documents from the collection of the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The works on display will provide unique insight into Proust’s creative process and the birth of his masterpiece. Also on view will be period postcards with depictions of Illiers, which served as the inspiration for Proust’s fictional town Combray, and Paris. Several letters between Proust and his mother, Jeanne, from the Morgan’s collection, will be included. Ongoing until April 28, 10am-6pm at The Morgan Library, 225 Madison Avenue (at 36th Street). $15 adults; $10 students/seniors/children.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 17: Check out Chinatown’s annual Lunar New Year celebration for stunning visuals, tantalizing treats and impressive performances. This street party features all sorts of vendors, food and festivities for all ages. Walk the main streets of Lower Manhattan—from Little Italy through Chinatown—to catch a glimpse. 1pm starting at Mott & Hester Streets, continuing down Mott toward East Broadway, then onto Eldridge and finally finishing at Forsythe & Broome. Cultural Festival & Booth: Sara Roosevelt Park (Canal & Forsyth St.). FREE. Check out our column Sunday in Chinatown for restaurant recommendations.
Basque restaurant Txikito will host Egg and Butter Road’s tapas & wine tasting event. Photo credit: Ryan Charles.
Our curated event picks for this week: New York Review of Book’s 50th anniversary celebration, Joios & Jimmy beer tasting, Chinese New Year Firecrackers.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 4: Three chefs. Six courses. One night. This is the Underground Eats SUPPER BOWL. The day after the Super Bowl, whether you are sulking over a loss or dancing with triumph, you may feel a bit lost and disheartened knowing that the final, ultimate match-up of the year is over. Until… You realize you are going to Louro for a one-night-only dining experience with an all-star trio of chefs that includes James Beard Award-winner Sean Brock, Aldea’s formidable George Mendes, and Louro’s rising star, David Santos. These superstars will combine their talents to offer an exclusive six-course tasting menu that will highlight the flavors and cooking techniques for which each of these critically-acclaimed chefs are so well-known. 6pm or 9pm at Louro, 142 West 10th Street. $150. Buy tickets here.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 5: The New York Review of Books: 50 Years. Spend an evening with contributors John Banville, Mary Beard, Michael Chabon, Mark Danner, Joan Didion, Daniel Mendelsohn, Darryl Pinckney, along with Robert B. Silvers, who, with the late Barbara Epstein, was a founding editor of The New York Review of Books, in February 1963. Each guest will receive a facsimile edition of the first issue of The New York Review of Books. 7:30pm at The Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street. $15 for New York Review subscribers; use discount code NYRB50. $20 General Admission. $10 Students with valid ID. Buy tickets here.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6: Joios & Jimmy Beer Tasting. Guests will taste at least 6 different varietals (and eat Jimmy’s noted foods). As usual, we’ll rate the beers and debate their merits. A crew of beer experts will chime in to make the debate lively. We’ll have a competition too, with a prize for the winner of our “Name That Beer” contest. 7-9pm at Jimmy’s No. 43, 43 East 7th Street. $28. Buy tickets here.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7: Join NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg, the author of Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone (Penguin, 2012), and Jerilyn Perine, Director of the Citizens Housing and Planning Council, for a discussion about the rise of single adults in New York, Paris, Tokyo, and other world metropolises– and its implications for urban life as (we think) we know it today. This is the launch event for the Penguin paperback edition of Going Solo (Jan. 2013). Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers. Reception and book signing to follow. 6:30pm at MCNY, 1220 Fifth Avenue. Reservations required. $6 Museum members; $8 seniors and students; $12 general public. Buy tickets here.
Also on Thursday: Ruins of Modernity: the failure of revolutionary architecture in the 20th century with Peter Eisenman, Reinhold Martin, Joan Oakman, Bernard Tschumi. Where does architecture stand at present, in terms of its history? Are we still — were we ever — postmodern? What social and political tasks yet remain unfulfilled, carried over from the twentieth century, in a world scattered with the ruins of modernity? Does “utopia’s ghost” (Martin), the specter of modernism, still haunt contemporary building? How can architecture be responsibly practiced today? Is revolutionary architecture even possible? 7-10pm at NYU Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square S. FREE. RSVP on Facebook.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8:City Bakery’s 21st Annual Hot Chocolate Festival is ongoing until February 28. Regress to childhood with skillfully concocted mugs of hot chocolate courtesy of this downtown canteen. Owner-mastermind Maury Rubin will serve a different flavor of his intoxicating cocoa every day during February and today’s is Bourbon. All day at The City Bakery, 3 West 18th Street. See the calendar of flavors here.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9: Butter & Egg Road Chelsea gallery crawl and Basque tapas tasting at Txikito. We will meet at David Zwirner Gallery at 4:30pm for a behind-the-scenes tour with Mollie White, former show director of Scope Art Fair, who will lead us through two more private gallery tours in the area, before tapas and drinks at Txikito. Butter and Egg Road is a new private traveling dining club for the curious class. Bringing travelers and locals together in intimate culinary and cultural experiences in the cities we love, Butter and Egg Road inspires members to be a local anywhere. To attend you must be a member or purchase a one-time, non-member ticket in advance. No tickets will be available at the door. Sign up to be a member here.