Saturday, April 21, 2012
Prodigies of Midtown New York
It was an almost perfect day out. It's my last Saturday before tsunamis of grading start breaking against my shore. So I decided to do something I've been meaning to do for a long time. I joined the tourists in Midtown Manhattan and took my trusty little digital camera to take some pictures of some of the prodigious skyscrapers. I stayed away from the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center for the time being. There's no shortage of pictures of those buildings. I concentrated today on buildings that I teach in modern art classes, and that I think have too few photos of the architectural details, or that I've never been satisfied with the pictures available.
I took all of these pictures, and any educators out there who don't live quite so conveniently close to these things as I do, then please help yourselves.
40 Wall Street topped out at 5 feet higher than Van Allen's Chrysler Building. During Severance's press conference, workers in the Chrysler began raising the spike up through the top adding another 100 feet, making the Chrysler the tallest building in the world very briefly until the Empire State Building went up.
elevator doors with all the inlays in rare woods.
The 640 feet tall building is set back in stages because of the 1916 Zoning Code to keep air and sunlight on the street level. The upper parts of this building, of the Chrysler, and of others of this period are tall and narrow because of air flow. During hot months, windows could be open to let a cross breeze through. Just as the elevator made buildings taller, so the invention of air conditioning later on would make them fatter.
Some of the amazing ornamental terra cotta work on the ground floor of the old GE building
And a certain retired librarian in Thibodaux, LA seems to have a presence everywhere; in this case, up on Lexington and 84th Street
Next time, I'll post pictures of the first glass and steel office tower in the USA (and possibly the world), and pictures of what I think is the Parthenon of glass and steel towers that set all the standards.
Posted by Counterlight at Saturday, April 21, 2012
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Oh what a treat you've given us!! Thanks.
Those are better than some cathedrals! Thanks!
As I've always said, these are the real cathedrals of New York, proclaiming what the city really believes in, the transformative power of money.
I got it Doug --!!!! I really got it! I knew it --but now I 'see' it!
Your pictures, informed by your commentary are wonderful.
The G.E. Building in particular was a completely new experience for me personally.
That's my New York franchise.
The Chrysler building is amazing in its excellence and is still my favorite skyscraper. The ceiling mural is beautiful. They don't make 'em like that any more.
Oy vey: I made a specific pilgrimage to Chicago in the late 70s to see the skyscrapers. Whereas I lived in NYC for 4 years, and naturally, didn't see them in any where NEAR the detail you've given us here, Doug. [I have a vague awareness of the top of "570 Lexington", but never studied it up close. Wish I'd had a pair of binoculars when I lived in the Big Apple. (Must bring if/WHEN I visit again!)]
A correction: Where is says "1913 Zoning Law" should read "1916 Zoning Law."
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