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Blog Posts by Subject: Architecture

March Author @ the Library Programs at Mid-Manhattan

A new approach to health care reform ... 20 years of Harlem Street Portraits ... humanist architecture ... The Extreme Life of the Sea ... New York City's unbuilt subways ... mothers ... the power of storytelling ... a century of candy ... New York's lost amusement parks ... the public library ... 11 missing men of WWII ... great city planning.Read More ›

Gustave Eiffel Beyond the "Useless and Monstrous" Tower

Gustave Eiffel who was born 15 December 1832 in Dijon, Côte-d'Or, France was much more than “just” the creator of the Eiffel Tower. A man of many passions and accomplishments, Eiffel attended high school at Lycee Royal where he studied engineering, history and literature. He graduated with a degree in both science and humanities. He first studied at the École Polytechnique but later transferred to the École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures in Paris, graduating in 1855 with a diploma in …chemistry. He was interested in construction from an early age and a couple of years after Read More ›

Flying a Drone Around the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

I have a friend who has a drone.

I realize that not many people can say that. It's akin to saying "I know a guy who knows a guy in New York City who once ate 300 sandwiches in a single sitting." Just within the realm of believability.

But I do. His name is Nate Bolt, and he lives in San Francisco. He was recently in New York for a conference, and wagering on the fact that he often travels with Lucy IV (as his drone is so lovingly named) (don't ask about Lucys I-III), I reached out to him about coming to the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building to shoot 

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How and Where People Live: Upcoming Programs at the Mid-Manhattan Library

Although I've lived in New York City for the past 35 years I grew up in New England with a traditional New Englander's point of view about living and spending—if you can't afford to buy it, don't, and if you decide to buy your home pay it off as soon as you can.

Certainly, not everyone has this point of view, and economists might say a slowdown in consumer spending could cause a slowdown in the economic recovery. Regardless, how and where people live fascinates me. I have spent many, many hours driving up and down streets in various neighborhoods in and out of 

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Design for a Lifetime, or: "What Do We Do About the Bathtub?"

Would you consider New York City "age-friendly"? That is, is it a place where people of all ages—including the very old—can feel comfortable, safe, and happy?

One million people aged 65 and over call New York City home, and a half-million more are expected to swell those ranks by 2030. New York City's top-notch public transportation system and rich access to cultural institutions contribute toward making it a place where these folk will want to stay; most are not planning to leave for southerly climes anytime soon, if ever.

 

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September Author @ the Library Programs at Mid-Manhattan

The centrality of sunshine… the most fascinating New York Times obits of the year… the riddle of the

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A Library as Beautiful as the Bronx: NYC's First Municipal Green Building

Photo credit - Dattner ArchitectsI remember it vividly. It was the morning of January 17, 2006, I was on my way to work—when an MTA bus zoomed pass me. It was then I noticed it, on the side of the bus, a poster size picture of the building with the caption "A library as beautiful as the Bronx." I looked in astonishment, then with pride and joy as I recognised the building—it was where I was headed!

Such was the start of the day which 

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August Author @ the Library Programs at Mid-Manhattan

What is it like to be a convicted murderer just released from prison? What company was the Apple of the 1960s and 70s? Can you forage for edible plants in New York City? How much do you know about life in

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July Author @ the Library Programs at Mid-Manhattan

Dangers of the 'foodopoly'... secrets of the original West Village... how Manhattan became capital of the world... a survey of time in love, war, crime, art, money and media... the spectrum of

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The Woolworth Building: The Cathedral of Commerce

April 24th sees the one hundredth anniversary of the opening of the Woolworth Building, at 233 Broadway. In 1913 the Woolworth Building was the tallest inhabited building in the world, and would remain so until the opening of the Chrysler Building, in 1929. The Milstein Division's collections include a series of photographs, taken by the photographer Irving Underhill, that chart the building's construction. This post looks at those photographs, and at the man who commissioned the building's construction, Frank W. Woolworth, and its architect, Cass Gilbert.

The term 

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The Future, the 1960s, and the Allen Room

Though there’s very little chance, apparently, of accurately predicting the future, it seems we’re hardwired to try.  History, reason, and desire seem to be the main tools in this quixotic venture. It helps if you don’t go too far, as The Economist does. But for longer visions, the results are often, in hindsight, hilarious.

I don’t think that will accurately describe tomorrow’s lecture,

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Skyscrapers and the Wertheim Study

Who doesn't like a skyscraper? Acrophobists. But who else can resist those clean (usually) lines, impressive (always) feats of engineering, massive symbols of power (the jury's out on that one)?  New Yorkers are lucky that we have, still have, so very many admirable ones about. Perhaps my favorite is one close to the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building — the Springs Building.

It's deceptively simple, with as clean a line 

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I ♥ G-Dubs: A Love Letter to the George Washington Bridge on Its 80th Birthday

The George Washington Bridge (Photo: Jason Megraw)

Most New Yorkers, when asked to name NYC landmarks, will conjure up the familiar array of iconographic symbols that make up our city: the Statue Liberty, the Empire State Building, Times Square, the Ground Zero Memorial, etc. — but having grown up in Washington Heights, I can’t help but place the George Washington Bridge among the great monuments of Gotham pride. Ever since its completion in 1931, this stunning suspension bridge has remained a sight that never gets old, one which 

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Celebrating the Centennial: The Tilden Library

Detail of Vernon Howe Bailey's drawing of the "Tilden Library" reading roomContrary to what you may have heard — or thought you heard, at least — this year does not mark the centennial of The New York Public Library. The centennial marks the opening of what many still think of as the Library's "main branch" on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, the Beaux-Arts landmark recently rechristened the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. But we could also call it the centennial of the Tilden Library, as I'll 

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New York City Land Conveyances 1654-1851: What They Are and How They Work

On microfilm, in olde worlde language, in undecipherable hand writing. Who cares? This is digitized, right? Yes, sometimes, often, and not yet. Being a librarian, I spend a lot of time rummaging through old documents, seemingly dull and indecipherable tracts that often prove to be invaluable sources of the good stuff. Land conveyances are just such a document. The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society recently donated to the New York Public Library's 

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The Jefferson Market Courthouse/Library Archive: A Sneak Peek with Barbara Knowles-Pinches

Did you know that the Jefferson Market library has an archive of images, papers and press clippings dating back to the 1800s?  This collection of Greenwich Village history has recently been processed and made available to the public by archivist and librarian Barbara Knowles-Pinches, who began working at Jefferson Market in 2009.  The digitizing process has just begun; images and a finding aid will be available online in the near future. Here, Barbara tells us about some of her favorite items from the 

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A Tour of the Stacks

On Sunday, December 5, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building was the site of the 2010 Holiday Open House, the Library's annual thank-you celebration for donors at the Friends level ($40) or above. Besides enjoying building-wide party fun, attendees were offered a rare opportunity to glimpse a part of the Library that is normally hidden from public view: the building's central stacks 

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Heist Society: A Review

Katarina Bishop grew up all over Europe, but she isn’t an heiress. She has a Faberge egg, but she isn’t a Romanov. Kat is used to looking at a room and seeing all the angles, but that was before she stole a whole other life at the Colgan School only to walk away from it months later without a trace.

That was before everything went sideways.

While Kat was busy trying to steal a new, legit, life the family business prospered. When a powerful mobster’s priceless art collection goes missing it isn’t all that surprising that 

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The House That Elmer Built

  Last week, the Tottenville community lost a piece of its history. On September 9, the century old Manor House, a beautiful waterfront mansion located at 500 Butler Boulevard, was demolished. Although the Butler Manor Civic Association attempted to preserve the historic house, it was torn down by its new owner to make way for the building of luxury homes.

According to the

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You are here: 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue in 1857

I am at the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue. According to plate 78 of my map atlas—Williams Perris’s 1857 “Maps of the City of New York”—the massive (2) block long stone structure at the southwest corner of this Manhattan intersection is not the ... Read More ›
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