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Blog Posts by Subject: Architecture

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 Palestine? What does America owe to its

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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 

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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 

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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 ›

My Library: Sam

Sam is a researcher who makes use of both research and circulating collections at the NYPL. We hope he gets another grant so that he can write "The Library Space as Public Living Room (With Great DVDs): An Anthro-Architectural Analysis." Read More ›

Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took on New York’s Master Builder and Transformed the American City

Robert A Caro’s tome The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York is a thick, unwieldy book at 1344 pages. It sits on my shelf with yellowed pages. I bought it shortly after I moved to New York City 30 years ago. I enjoy history and learned after I moved here that Robert Moses was an important piece of the NYC history puzzle. The book upon first reading was lost to me. I had no real understanding of New York City at that point and Robert Moses’ story 

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Art in the Stacks: Part One

Collis P Huntington mansion, interior, Central Hall with painted lunette murals by H. Siddons Mowbray, c. 1894. Altered photograph courtesy Yale University Art Gallery.Those who use the resources of the Art & Architecture Collection come in splendid variety: old and young, sophisticated and naive, happily curious and relentlessly searching. We love it, for where else could you be asked "just what is that building in back of that Madonna" followed by a search for more of Grandmama's old Limoge 

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The Craft of the Book--TONIGHT!

Interested in learning how books were made during the hand-press era? If so, please join me at the Library this evening for an illustrated history of the craftsmanship of paper making, printing, and bookbinding. I’ll be gathering some how-to books on book arts from our collections to share with you too, to help you get started making books.

There's no need to register, and it’s a free class—here are the details:

Wednesday June 10th, 6:00 to 7:00pm (classroom will open at 5:45pm) New York Public Library

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A Slide Lecture & Discussion on Stanford White, Architect with Samuel White on Tues, April 14 at 6:30 at Mid-Manhattan Library

I first learned about Stanford White in E. L. Doctorow’s book Ragtime. It was the lurid tale of lust and murder regarding Stanford White that remained in my mind until I moved to New York City many years ago. Over a long period of time, I have come to learn Stanford White was much more than the scandal that I first associated with him. Stanford White was a master designer and instrumental in many of the great architectural works of the city.

Without knowing it, I came across the legacy of Stanford 

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