Gilded Age New York Landmarks The Gilded Gentleman

New York Architecture Week: Podcasts About Skyscrapers and Beaux-Arts Style

Presenting new episodes of the Bowery Boys podcast and The Gilded Gentleman podcast, both tied to the story of architecture in New York City. After listening to both of these, you’ll understand the nature of city skyline and unlock the secrets to New York’s most famous landmarks.

The American Renaissance: Beaux-Arts Architecture in New York City

On the latest episode of The Gilded Gentleman, Carl is joined by noted architect, interior designer and author Phillip James Dodd for an in-depth discussion of the “look” of the Gilded Age — a style known as American Beaux-Arts.  

Architecture constructed during the height of America’s Gilded Age most certainly had a distinctive look. It was a uniquely American combination of stylistic elements of classical antiquity, the Renaissance palaces of the Medici as well as the more flamboyant styles of France’s Belle Epoque

But just how does one define this eclectic style that came to be known as American Beaux-Arts and who were its most famous and influential practitioners? 

In this episode Carl and Phiilp discuss these concepts in general to arrive at a definition and understanding of the Beaux-Arts Movement. They also take a look at major examples such as the the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library and the Morgan Library, as well as the architects who created them: Richard Morris Hunt, Charles Follen McKim, and the architectural team of Carriere and Hastings

After having listened to this unique episode, you’ll look at the Gilded Age and New York City with whole new eyes. 

Courtesy NYPL

The Chrysler Building and the Great Skyscraper Race

The Chrysler Building remains one of America’s most beautiful skyscrapers and a grand evocation of Jazz Age New York. But this architectural tribute to the automobile is also the greatest reminder of a furious construction surge that transformed the city in the 1920s.

After World War I, New York became newly prosperous, one of the undisputed business capitals of the world. The tallest building was the Woolworth Building, but the city’s rise in prominence demanded new, taller towers, taking advantage of improvements in steel-frame construction and a clever ‘wedding cake’ zoning law that allowed for ever-higher buildings.

Into this world came William Van Alen and H. Craig Severance, two former architectural partners who had unamicably separated and were now designing rival skyscrapers. Each man wanted to make the tallest building in the world.

But Van Alan had the upper hand, backed by one of America’s most famous businessmen — Walter Chrysler. His automobiles were the coolest, sleekest vehicles in the marketplace. His brand required a skyscraper of radical design and surprising height.

Subscribe to both the Bowery Boys Podcast and The Gilded Gentleman on your favorite podcast players (including Spotify, Apple, Overcast, Pocket Casts, iHeartRadio and more.

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