In a lead up to next week’s Municipal Art Society’s After Dark Party for young NYC urbanists, to be held in a Park Avenue Gilded Age venue, the organization held a private event with the author of What Jackie Taught Us: Lessons from the Remarkable Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis at the home and studio of architect Santiago Calatrava. For those just getting to know the name, Calatrava is the architect of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, bringing his signature style to the urban forest of downtown Manhattan.
The event itself was situated in a Park Avenue townhouse, a survivor from a larger series of Queen Anne townhouses built when Park Avenue was not quite so wide. Though a home, the second floor serves much as a gallery. In fact, all of the artwork and sculptures were done by Calatrava, ranging in from Grecian-style pottery, to large-format paintings to watercolors.
Tina Santi Flaherty, author of What Jackie Taught Us, spoke about Kennedy-Onassis’ work in the landmark preservation effort, testifying to her unique blend of celebrity and cultural know-how that helped save icons like Grand Central Terminal and St. Bartholomew’s Church and landmark the Riverside/West End Historic District, among others. Kennedy-Onassis had a unique blend of direct and indirect action, and others in the room spoke to her tenacity in getting what she wanted.
Next week, before the After Dark Party, the Municipal Art Society will present the 2014 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal to Bruce Ratner and Maryanne Gilmartin of the Forest City Ratner Companies, which has been a controversial choice particularly in light of the Atlantic Yards project and the preservation battles waged there. Read more about the debate on Capital New York.
Nevertheless, the After Dark Party which follows the award is an annual opportunity for young NYC urban enthusiasts to join together and support the effort to make New York City a more livable place. This year’s event will be held at 583 Park Avenue, a landmarked and recently restored venue.