Entries Tagged as 'historic preservation'

Pennsylvania Station: Its Glory and Death

February 18th, 2014 · 2 Comments · Columns and Features, Explore New York

If ever a hallowed place existed for the travel of the common man and woman, it was New York’s original Pennsylvania Station. Yet a magnificent, soaring station that Alexander Cassatt and the Pennsylvania Railroad built for the ages and opened in 1910 lasted barely over a half-century. Two days after workers started tearing down the […]

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The Enduring Wonder of the Rookery

December 30th, 2013 · No Comments · Beyond Gotham

One could be forgiven for thinking that one of the crows in terra cotta on Chicago’s Rookery building depicts a current leader of the U.S. Congress. Some of our greatest buildings possess an expressiveness that speaks not only of the time period in which architects and builders created the structure but also to today. The […]

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The Child Who Became Sojourner Truth

October 14th, 2013 · 2 Comments · Beyond Gotham

In her strong legs and the bare, vulnerable feet; in a long, deep gash on her back; in the upright posture and gaze; and in the sight of the two large jugs she is carrying are the visual reality that children lived as slaves in the United States. This statue is sure to inspire many […]

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Town to Unveil Sojourner Truth Statue

September 16th, 2013 · No Comments · Beyond Gotham

History will never be able to restore Sojourner Truth’s childhood to her. When she was a young girl known as Isabella, growing up as a slave in the Hudson Valley, she worked day in and day out for several owners, sustained terrible beatings, and lost almost all her brothers and sisters because slave owners sold […]

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New York’s Dark Days: The Draft Riots

July 18th, 2013 · No Comments · Explore New York

On July 13, 1863, Chief Engineer John Decker of the New York City Volunteer Fire Department stood before a mob that had ransacked a building and were now intent on setting it afire. It was known as the Colored Orphan Asylum, a refuge for hundreds of black children located on Fifth Avenue between 42nd and […]

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An Iconic Carousel Is Now a Landmark

June 28th, 2013 · 8 Comments · Explore New York

To call the Forest Park Carousel a rare work of art is understatement. In an age when we’re so often attached to complex 21st century electronic devices, a simple ride on a carousel still enchants its young and young-at-heart riders, just as it did those who rode carousels a century ago. In the Golden Age […]

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What Is the Future of Midtown East?

May 31st, 2013 · 2 Comments · Be a Mindful Activist, Explore New York

One person’s “beautiful” is another person’s “dowdy,” and someone’s pronouncement of “architectural significance” is another’s “obsolescence.” These are the terms people are using in a clash over zoning and related plans that will likely shape a historic part of New York City for the future. Consider the character and skyline of Manhattan’s Midtown East, where […]

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Splashy Art Deco on a Staid Block

December 6th, 2012 · 11 Comments · Explore New York

Some musical riffs can suddenly elevate the mood. So, too, can a jazzy building. It can bring your senses alive, make you perk up and pay attention, if even for a short time. Buildings aren’t passive entities; the very good ones generate an active engagement. The best architects know this to the core. In a […]

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Statue to Show Sojourner Truth as a Child

October 24th, 2012 · No Comments · Beyond Gotham

Sojourner Truth knew the importance and the power of the visual. One day, as an orator and crusader against slavery, she faced a hostile group of northern students who jeered her. Truth chose a very powerful visual proof of slavery’s horror to confront them. She opened her dress collar and bared her skin to show […]

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Tracing Sojourner Truth’s Escape Route

July 31st, 2012 · 6 Comments · Beyond Gotham

Like the guiding light of daybreak that accompanied Sojourner Truth as she walked from her slave owner’s home to escape to freedom, much more illumination now reveals the early days of her life. Named Isabella when she was born into slavery, the abolitionist and champion of human rights spent the first 32 years of her […]

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In Sojourner Truth’s Footsteps

May 31st, 2012 · 7 Comments · Beyond Gotham

She never knew most of her 11 brothers and sisters. She hoed corn and lugged bottles of molasses or liquor for one slave owner when she was barely a teen. She endured merciless and unrelenting beatings at the hands of another slaveholder. Long before she changed her name, Sojourner Truth was Isabella, a slave in […]

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Redeemer Lutheran’s Staying Power

October 5th, 2011 · 8 Comments · Beyond Gotham

When we behold a beautiful historic house of worship, we may well find a sturdy and durable congregation that has also withstood the test of time. Both materials and people become a study in resilience. Redeemer Lutheran Church in Kingston is a sweet and brightly warm church set within the Rondout neighborhood of this Hudson […]

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Stained-Glass Glory in Chicago

July 11th, 2011 · 3 Comments · Beyond Gotham

The names Healy and Millet likely will never be as well-known as Tiffany. But to those who look up at two stained-glass ceilings in the building that housed Chicago’s grand first central public library, George Healy and Louis Millet created an artwork that is dazzling, like Louis Tiffany’s, in that “can’t take my eyes off […]

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A Bit of the 19th Century on Lispenard

June 10th, 2011 · 14 Comments · Explore New York

Every once in a while I turn down a street in New York and suddenly think, “How have the bulldozers and the glass towers not obliterated this one?” Lispenard Street is one such place, a quiet street of a few blocks that is seemingly forgotten just one block south of the crazy, hustle-bustle free-for-all of […]

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Wal-Mart Will Not Build at Battlefield

January 26th, 2011 · 4 Comments · Be a Mindful Activist, Beyond Gotham

Preservationists today hailed the decision by Wal-Mart to drop its plans to build a supercenter within the original boundaries of the Wilderness Battlefield in Virginia. In an unexpected move early Wednesday in Virginia’s Orange Circuit Court, Wal-Mart revealed it was abandoning its proposal to construct a store on the property. The retailer said it was […]

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Order Unheeded at Underground RR Home

December 13th, 2010 · 6 Comments · Be a Mindful Activist, Explore New York

One hundred and fifty years ago, escaping slaves found a safe shelter at the home of Quaker abolitionists who lived at 339 West 29th St. in New York City. The family risked their lives in harboring the slaves. During the Draft Riots that erupted in the city in 1863, the family came under attack for […]

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Going Dutch at Kingston’s Wiltwyck Inn

October 22nd, 2010 · 6 Comments · Beyond Gotham

Call it Old Europe and the Dutch colonies meet the early 20th century. The Wiltwyck Inn is a petite building, by no means grand. This two-and-a-half story structure, tucked among plenty of historic buildings in the Uptown Stockade neighborhood of Kingston, conjures up faraway places and times long ago, thanks to its personality and out-of-the-ordinary, […]

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Savoring Leroy Street’s Details

August 2nd, 2010 · 7 Comments · Explore New York

Often a street in New York just beckons you to walk down. Leroy Street in Greenwich Village is one of those places. On a walk down Leroy Street between Bleecker and Bedford streets and then around the corner, noise peeled away and the buildings drew my eyes to their features. It’s another era, no longer […]

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The Wilderness: An “Endangered Place”

May 21st, 2010 · No Comments · Be a Mindful Activist, Beyond Gotham

The land on which thousands died in the cause to end slavery and keep the United States together cannot speak for itself. For generations, people have walked the land of the Wilderness Battlefield, remembering on this hallowed ground the harsh and brutal battle the Union and Confederacy fought in May, 1864. Now, a new generation […]

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Transported Back at 20 Exchange Place

May 14th, 2010 · 11 Comments · Explore New York

Buildings are like stories, marked by scenery, time and place, and plot. They often have a rise and decline, and maybe a rise again. Buildings evoke an era, and characters conceive, design, build, and inhabit them. Like the times when we read only a few pages or a chapter of a story, we may see […]

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