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Showing posts from August, 2013

Sea Longing at the Cunard Building, 25 Broadway

The Cunard Building at 25 Broadway, while no longer housing the grand "Ticketing Hall" for the great ocean liners, still evokes dreams of a long voyage at sea. Designed by architect Benjamin Wistar Morris with Carrere & Hastings and completed in 1921, the grand neo-Renaissance building at the top of Bowling Green solidified the company's position as a leader of transatlantic travel and  commercial shipping. In 1917, the company had built an equally impressive European headquarters in Liverpool.



The Great Hall, once a bustling scene for those making arrangements for sea voyages, sported high vaulted 65-foot ceilings with detailed paintings of marine life. It must have been grand to stand in line for tickets here and look up at the Roman-like display of seahorses, seashells, mermaids, dolphins, and flying birds, but even more thrilling to board the Cunard ocean liners themselves - the RMS Carpathia, the ship that brought the Titanic survivors home, and later, the Queen…

New York Egyptian Deco, 1926: Thomas Lamb and the Pythian Temple

(updated) Anyone strolling along West 70th between Columbus Avenue and Broadway on Manhattan's Upper West Side may want to come to a full and complete stop in front of 135. Here rises the commanding pharaonic authority of the Order of Knights of Pythias, a fraternal organization dating to the time of the Civil War, and for whom architect Thomas Lamb designed this Egyptian Art Deco extravaganza in 1926.


Members of the Knights of Pythias, founded in Washington, D.C. in 1864, committed themselves to a Supreme Being, all-around clean-living, and general civic-mindedness. Back in the day, a friend of mine from Texas won a Knights of Pythias high school debate contest, a big deal then and for which he was mighty proud. In the heyday of the Pythians, the members built splendid temples throughout the country, many of which are still extent and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Thomas W. Lamb, a NYC architect specializing in movie palaces and theaters, made a good choice …