8.05.2008

10 Fascinating Buildings in Manhattan

Manhattan features many famous buildings, many of which can be readily identified by individuals who have never set foot in New York, such as the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, Radio City Music Hall, the Guggenheim Museum and Rockefeller Center, for example. The list goes on. So many notable, but less iconic buildings, however, bear a closer look. I've come to not only appreciate but to love certain buildings in the city, and I had a hard time winnowing down a list of favorites to just ten. Of the following structures, some are old, some are new, some are tall, and some are narrow. One is large and pink.

• 40 Bond. 40 Bond St. Completed over a year ago, this stylish and innovative condo in NoHo by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron updates the classic loft with handmade Barcelona glass and a fence "skirt" that's in part Gaudi, part graffiti. Herzog and de Meuron are in the news as the designers of the National Olympic Stadium in Beijing.

• The Ansonia. 2109 Broadway. Style: Beaux-Arts. One of the grand apartment buildings on the Upper West Side. Home to many famous actors and sports figures in the early decades of the 20th century, among them actress and good witch Billie Burke. Born in the US, Burke moved to London where her family settled, and she decided to become an actress while seeing plays in the West End. She lived in the Ansonia with husband Florence Ziegfeld. I love Burke in Dinner at Eight.

• Narrowest House. 75 1/2 Bedford St. The narrowest house in New York is 9 1/2 feet wide and the perfect place to burn your candles at both ends. Edna St. Vincent Millay and her husband lived in and renovated the house from 1923 to 1924. During the 1930s cartoonist William Steig and his family lived there. As the place is occupied by the current owners, I would advise not to speak too loudly outside their windows. They must get sick of people pointing out their cute tiny house and making remarks. If nearby Chumley's, the famous speakeasy, wasn't closed right now, I would send everyone there, but the renovations following the collapse of an interior wall are taking forever.

• Palazzo Chupi. 360 W. 11th St. Style: Post Texas-Renaissance, or Bo's-Arts. I would like to ad a new phrase, to schnabel, to the English language. To schnabel means to renovate an existing building so as to shock the neighbors. The phrase derives from artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel, who schnabeled a building on W. 11th Street by adding many floors and painting it a pinkish color. A favorite walk of mine is a morning stroll through the West Village that begins in Washington Square Park and ends at one of the piers on the Hudson. I'll pick up a festively-iced cupcake and a cup of coffee at the nearby Magnolia and then stroll by the pink palace. The preservationists loathe this building, but I have no problem with it. The only issue I have is that, for some reason, looking at this Schnabel-designed building makes one of my eyes blink faster.

• Appellate Court Building. 27 Madison Avenue. 25 E. 25th St. 1900-02. Architect: James Brown Lord. Style: Beaux-Arts. This building is laden with so many symbolic sculptures that it's hard to believe that there's a building underneath it or that it can stand up to the weight. I found this slideshow and discussion at Museum Planet.

• The Daily News. 220 E. 42nd St. Style: Art Deco. It's hard to believe that the lobby of the Daily News is real. And indeed, you've seen this Hood-Howells structure in a Superman movie. When I find myself walking west on 42nd St. near Grand Central, I look for this building and peek into the lobby. When the Daily News first opened it was discovered that the globe rotated in the wrong direction, so they had to fix it.

• Forward Building. 175 East Broadway. I discovered the Forward building during the course of a walk on the lower Lower East Side, and I was amazed to learn all about this 1912 Beaux-Arts building that served as headquarters for the Yiddish-language socialist newspaper with sculptures of Marx and Engels on the front. About a week after I wrote the post on the Forward, I noticed that an unusually large number of readers visited that one item, and I soon learned that actress Tatum O'Neal had just been busted for buying drugs and that she lived in the building.

• American Radiator Building. 40 W. 40th St. I love this big dark Raymond Hood building on Bryant Park so much I've written about it twice, the first time in context of the Raymond Hood series, and the second, as part of the series about the artist who made it famous in a painting - Georgia O'Keeffe.

• Fourteenth Ward Industrial School. 174-324 Mott St. A Victorian building designed in 1888 by Calvert Vaux and George Radford, on Mott in NoLita, built by the Astors for the children of neighborhood immigrant children.

• Tilden Mansion (National Arts Club). 15 Gramercy Park South. So pretty, but I will save the description for an upcoming future post.

Images of Palazzo Chupi (with Richard Meier's condo towers). W. 11th St. and Appellate Court Building by Walking Off the Big Apple.

5 comments:

David Thompson said...

Next time I get to New York, I heading straight to the Daily News Building.

Copykatrights said...

I typed in "walking battery park" & came across your blog. Its great, thanks for all the details & pictures. Its a shame that I barely notice any of those landmarks & bldgs in NY & I lived here all my life.

Copykatrights said...

I typed in "walking battery park" & came across your blog. Its great, thanks for all the details & pictures. Its a shame that I barely notice any of those landmarks & bldgs in NY & I lived here all my life.

Mike Roush said...

First, I love this blog! Great concept and a fun read.

While visiting NYC this past weekend, I followed a couple of your suggestions.

E42nd St from Grand Central to see 2nd Ave the Daily News bldg. (Really several blocks of cool bldgs!)

West Village to Hudson River Park. Then Bleecker St eating tour. John's Pizza for lunch (great sausage pie and a rare window seat). GROM Gelato for dessert.

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