Want to explore New York City’s oldest library, which is housed inside a landmarked townhouse? Or see the stunning features of the city’s oldest synagogue in continuous use? You can join us on these and more adventures this February as an Untapped New York Insider.
In January, Insiders got to explore the curious collection of books an artifacts inside the rare book room at the New York Academy of Medicine, sip their way through the city’s oldest cafes on a coffee tasting tour of Greenwich Village, and see the latest exhibition at the Grolier Club.
In February, we will also go behind the scenes at the opulent United Palace Theater (which turns 90 this year!), explore the historic features of Central Synagogue, admire the architecture and rows of books at the New York Society Library, and more. Check out all of the events happening this coming month. Not an Insider yet? Become a member today to gain access to behind-the-scenes tours and special events all year long!
Tuesday, February 4th – FutureCity: The Past, Present and Future of New York with Jason Haber Presented by Landmark West!
Moses and Jacobs were the Goliath and David of 20th century New York City development. Photo from Wikimedia Commons from Library of Congress.
More people live in cities than don’t for the first time in history. By 2050, 2 billion more people will live on our planet, two-thirds of whom will live in cities. Simultaneously, many cities, including New York, are ill-prepared for the next storm. New York faces unprecedented challenges. Climate change, mass transit, health care, and housing expenses are creating their own storm. Yet, at the same time, solutions exist that can also make New York better than ever. The question is: how? In FutureCity, using history as a guide, author, public policy professor, political advisor, and real estate expert Jason Haber will explore the perils and possibilities facing New York, and will inspire us to fulfill Jane Jacobs’ visions of a dynamic, supportive city. Presented by Village Preservation and co-sponsored by The New School.
Wednesday, February 5th – Behind-the-Design Tour of Studio ST Architects
Photograph by Esther Sperber
Tour the offices of Studio ST Architects, a woman-owned, full-service architecture firm based in Manhattan, to meet the firm’s founder Esther Sperber and learn what goes on behind-the-design. Studio ST Architects employs a design approach that is “simultaneously personal and collaborative, providing innovative and responsible design solutions on projects ranging from synagogues and community centers to high-end apartments and low budget real-estate developments.” On this visit, Esther will introduce the firm’s work in small real estate developments, high-end residential apartments, community centers and international competitions. Insiders will also lean more about three special projects: a 5-story residential development in NJ and 2 synagogues, Kesher Synagogue: a suburban house that has been adapted into a synagogue; and the SynaCondo, a residential condominium and synagogue hybrid that could potentially provide a solution for a Manhattan congregation’s need for financial sustainability.
Saturday, February 8th – Explore the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art with Executive Director Q&A
Explore the Jacques Marchais Tibetan Art Museum and meet the museum’s Executive Director Meg Ventrudo. Insiders will take a guided tour of the Library and Gallery space, hear an introduction about the founder of the Museum, Jacques Marchais, and the learn the history of the museum buildings. You will get to explore artifacts in the collection that come from Tibet, Nepal, Mongolia, Northern China, and beyond. Insiders will also get to take part in a Q & A session with Executive Director, Meg Ventrudo.
Monday, February 10th – Go Behind-the-Scenes of the Opulent United Palace
New York City was home to many opulent movie palaces during the first golden age of cinema in the first half of the 20th-century, but sadly many grand movie theaters have been lost. This year, one of the theaters that has managed to stand the test of time, the Loew’s 175th Street Theatre in Washington Heights, is celebrating its 90th anniversary. Originally built in 1930 as one of the five Loew’s Wonder theaters, the theater showed first run movies and vaudeville shows. Today, the 3,400-seat theater now serves as a venue for all kinds of entertainment and community events in a space that is almost identical to when it first open, thanks to careful restoration projects. Untapped New York Insiders are invited to celebrate the theater’s special anniversary with a behind-the-scenes tour!
February 13th – Destination Deco: An Illustrated Look at Jazz Age Architecture on the Upper East Side
Gilded Age opulence is what the Upper East Side might be better known for rather than for the glittering spires of New York’s Art Deco skyscrapers, but that doesn’t mean the neighborhood doesn’t have its share of Deco Destinations. Join FRIENDS of the Upper East Side at The Church of the Heavenly Rest (dedicated 1929) for an illustrated lecture by Architectural Historian, and author of The Guidebook to New York Art Deco , Anthony W. Robins. From icons like The Carlyle and Bloomingdales to lesser-known townhouse and apartment buildings designed by Deco masters like Raymond Hood and Harry Allen Jacobs, we’ll find out what makes the Upper East Side a Jazz Age dream!
This event is free to the first 15 Untapped New York Insiders who sign up. If you are an active member and are logged in, you will see the special Insiders promo code at the link below. Click on the code and paste it into the box labeled “FRIENDS Member Code” at checkout. Non-members can purchase full price ($25) tickets here!
February 11th and February 16th – Uncover the Forgotten History of an African American Village in Central Park
Discover the history of Seneca Village, the lives of its residents, and what recent archaeological discoveries reveal about this remarkable community and its place in 19th-century New York on a newly enhanced tour of the Seneca Village site in Central Park from the Central Park Conservancy. Untapped New York Insiders are invited to take part in one of two members-only tours led by the Central Park Conservancy’s Historian Marie Warsh.
Tuesday, February 18th – Illuminating Forgotten Histories: New York City’s Early Black Communities
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Image courtesy Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture/NYP
Celebrate Black History Month, at the Schomburg Center’s Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery and Village Preservation as they partner to illuminate aspects of New York City’s early Black neighborhoods. From Seneca Village, a community now being memorialized in Central Park, to Greenwich Village’s “Little Africa,” our group of experts will address the work of discovery, preservation, and documentation of these and other historically significant, but widely-forgotten Black communities. Speakers include Leslie M. Harris, professor of history at Northwestern University and author of numerous books, Jamila Brathwaite, a trustee of the African American Historical Society of Rockland County, John Reddick, an architectural historian and Columbia University Community Scholar who is active in Harlem’s culture, art, and preservation and Michelle D. Commander, associate director and curator of the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery at the Schomburg Center.
Wednesday, February 19th – Explore the Stunning Sanctuary of NYC’s Central Synagogue
Explore the sanctuary of the oldest synagogue in continuous use in New York City, Central Synagogue. Designated a New York City Landmark in 1966 and a National Historic Landmark in 1975, this synagogue was designed by prominent Jewish architect Henry Fernbach. On this docent led tour, Insiders will get to see the stunning 1,400 seat sanctuary which features two domed towers, colorful stained glass, including a great rose window which represents an interpretation of the Dohany Street Synagogue in Budapest, ornate stencil work on the walls, the Gabe M. Wiener Memorial Organ, intricately carved walnut and ash pews and beautiful patterned floor tile work. The beauty of the synagogue today is thanks to extensive renovation work that took place after a fire in 1998 which caused part of the roof to collapse. Thankfully, all of stained glass windows, the exterior walls, and the original ark were saved.
Sunday, February 23rd – House of SHOWFIELDS, An Immersive Art and Retail Experience
Photograph Courtesy of SHOWFIELDS
Immerse yourself in the funky art and fun products at House of SHOWFIELDS, a revolutionary new art and retail space in Manhattan! Untapped New York Insiders are invited to get a top to bottom look at this innovative new space filled with interactive art installations and pop up shops. The experience will start at The Loft, the top floor of the building, where special events are held. After exploring The Loft, Insiders will dive into the House of SHOWFIELDS. A short slide down to the second floor transports you into an immersive theatre experience that bridges art and retail. Here you will get to touch, smell, eat, and test all products and artwork onsite. House of SHOWFIELDS is a self-guided experience, but Insiders will have a personal guide who will share more in-depth knowledge on each art installation. After experiencing the magic realism of House of SHOWFIELDS, you will have the chance to shop the site’s unique brands and grab a snack or cup of coffee at the cafe.
Friday, February 28th/Sunday, March 1st – Go Inside NYC’s Oldest Library, The New York Society Library
The Assunta, Ignazio, Ada and Romano Peluso Exhibition Gallery displays historic books and materials and is open to the public whenever the Library is open. (Photo by Beth Perkins; courtesy of The New York Society Library)
Explore the oldest library in New York City on a members-only tour. Established in 1754 by the New York Society—a group of six civic-minded individuals—The New York Society Library opened 141 years before the public library system was created. The library’s current home is a landmarked, Italianate townhouse built in 1917 by architects Trowbridge and Livingston (the architects of the Wall Street headquarters of J.P. Morgan & Co. and the St. Regis Sheraton Hotel) for John S. Rogers and his family. On this tour, Insiders will get to explore the historic reading, reference and research rooms of the library including spaces that are open to the public and spaces open just for members of the library, while learning about the history of the library and its exciting current programs.