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Preservation Skyscrapers Women's History

Ada Louise Huxtable, still shaping the New York skyline

Ada Louise Huxtable, born 100 years ago today, redefined the field of architecture writing, first for the New York Times and then for the Wall Street Journal until her death in 2013. We really can’t do a podcast an any building in the 20th century without first checking in with Ada to see what she […]

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Podcasts Skyscrapers

The World Trade Center in the 1970s

PODCAST The World Trade Center opened its distinctive towers during one of New York City’s most difficult decades, a beacon of modernity in a city beleaguered by debt and urban decay. Welcome to the 1970s. EPISODE 350 This year, believe it or not, marks the 20th anniversary of the attacks on the Twin Towers on […]

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Podcasts Skyscrapers

Steam Heat: The Gilded Age miracle that keeps New York warm

PODCAST It’s hot in the city — even during the coldest winter months, thanks to the most elemental of resources: steam heat. EPISODE 347 This is the story of the innovative heating plan first introduced on a grand scale here in New York City in the 1880s, a plan which today heats many of Manhattan’s […]

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Skyscrapers

Ten & Taller: Height Makes Might in the latest Skyscraper Museum exhibition

Skyscrapers feel like constructs of the modern age because their appearances are constantly evolving — from Frank Gehry’s 76-floor twisty, silvery rocket at 8 Spruce Street to the elegant glass monolith of One World Trade Center. But buildings with ten or more floors are an invention of the Gilded Age. Skyscrapers are older than subways, recorded music, and […]

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Skyscrapers

25 GREAT BOOKS ABOUT NEW YORK CITY ARCHITECTURE

“Manhattan has been compelled to expand skyward because of the absence of any other direction in which to grow. This, more than any other thing, is responsible for its physical majesty. It is to the nation what the white church spire is to the village – the visible symbol of aspiration and faith, the white […]

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Skyscrapers

The grand opening of the World Trade Center on April 4, 1973; Richard Nixon, labor strikes and “General Motors Gothic”

Photography on this page, from various periods, by Edmund V. Gillon, courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York.  Check out their online gallery for some more beautiful black-and-white shots.  Let me take you back to a simpler time, back to a time where it might have been okay to hate the actual World […]

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Podcasts Skyscrapers

The Tallest Building In New York: A Short History

  PODCAST One World Trade Center was declared last year the tallest building in America, but it’s a very different structure from the other skyscrapers who have once held that title. In New York, owning the tallest building has often been like possessing a valuable trophy, a symbol of commercial and social superiority. In a […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf Skyscrapers

Supreme City: The ascent of Midtown Manhattan in the 1920s

A view of Midtown Manhattan, looking southeast, by the Wurts Brothers (NYPL)Supreme CityHow Jazz Age Manhattan Gave Birth to Modern Americaby Donald L. MillerSimon & Schuster Supreme City, by Donald L. Miller, certainly one of the most entertaining books on New York City history I’ve read in the past couple years, is also one of […]

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Skyscrapers

Before Woolworth: The early towers of lower Broadway at the birth of the skyscraper boom

Next week is the 100th birthday of the opening of the Woolworth Building.  The classic skyscraper designed by Cass Gilbert changed everything about perceptions of tall buildings in Manhattan — for good and ill.  Suddenly, towers could be as graceful and important as monuments, and as playful and enigmatic as castles. New Yorkers were anxious […]

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Skyscrapers

The Big Wind of 1912: New York skyscrapers in peril, as monster gales hurl “men and women down city streets”

Trauma in Times Square: An electrical sign destroyed by the massive windstorm of February 22, 1912. One Times Square sits to the left, and the Hotel Astor is in the distance. [LOC] Shorpy has an another angle of this damaged storefront. “The great gale that blew in with Washington’s birthday will not soon be forgotten. It […]

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Skyscrapers

A century ago, excitement builds as the Woolworth ascends

The Woolworth Building, as it appeared on January 20, 1912 (Courtesy LOC) The Woolworth Building was the biggest story in real estate one hundred years ago, long before it was even completed. By the waning moments of 1911, something finally began to rise out of the belching smoke and clutter collecting at the northwest corner […]