Wednesday, August 7, 2013

New York City

Manufacturers' Hanover Trust
Photo ©Darren Bradley
Last summer, I took the family back to New York City for a quick trip (just a few days) to attend a family wedding. We didn't have much time to sightsee (or do much photography), but I did bring my camera, of course, and take some shots while running around town. There are many, many modernist landmarks to see and photograph in that fair city. This is only a random sampling of them. 


The above building is one of my favorites. Coming out of the depression, banks were mistrusted and disliked. It was widely accepted at the time that banks should be built of stone, to resemble castles or greek temples, with thick masonry walls to convey a sense of permanence and stability. But they were dark and closed. What better way to instill trust and convey openness than to build a bank out of glass? Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill created this masterpiece in 1953. The design was a huge success and was then widely copied throughout the rest of the country and the world.
Manufacturers' Hanover Trust
Photo ©Darren Bradley
This building recently closed as a bank branch and was the subject of some controversy, as the developer was going to split the building into two separate retail structures - destroying the look of the building. Also, two art pieces by Harry Bertoia that were part of the original design were removed. But after a lawsuit and strong outcry from the public, the developer agreed to keep it more or less intact, and to put the sculptures back in their original spots. It's now a clothing store and the Bertoia sculptures are well cared for.
"Golden Arbor"
Photo ©Darren Bradley
Lever House
Photo ©Darren Bradley
Speaking of Mr. Bunshaft and SOM, this building's more famous cousin is just a few blocks down the street... The Lever House. 

The Lever House predates the Hanover Trust building by a few years (1951), and is in fact the first glass curtain wall skyscraper. It's been widely copied - It seems like every city in America has a version of this in its downtown core. But most copies pale in comparison to the original. 

Many people reading this will know that the Seagram Building is just behind me here, and will be expecting a photo of that next. But for some reason, I couldn't ever find my photos that I took of it on my camera so you're going to have to google that if you're interested. My friend Chris Schroeer-Heiermann has some nice photos of that, otherwise. 

While in mid-town, we also stopped by Paley Park, which is one of my favorite little spaces in New York City. 
Paley Park
Photo ©Darren Bradley
And of course, we went to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), which I seem to visit every time I'm in the city. But I have to admit that I've never really taken to the place as much since the huge remodel... 
Museum of Modern Art
How long do you think I had to stand there and wait for somebody to come down those stairs?
Photo ©Darren Bradley

It feels less intimate and the collections are more dispersed and in a less logical, pedagogical order. My daughter liked it, though. 
Museum of Modern Art
Photo ©Darren Bradley
We also did a quick trip uptown to pay homage to Mr. Wright...
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Photo ©Darren Bradley
I can never decide which side I like better. 
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Photo ©Darren Bradley
It's really annoying that they don't let you take photos from on the ramps - only the atrium level. Of course, everyone ignores that or feigns ignorance, so it's a never ending game of cat and mouse with the guards. I guess it gives them something to do. 
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Photo ©Darren Bradley
I'm in New York City a fair amount, between work and family obligations. But I'd never made it to the High Line before this trip. New Yorkers being New Yorkers, they all think that this is a novel concept that they invented. But in Paris, we used to walk along the viaduct park in the 12th all the time (also an elevated, linear park made from an elevated railway line that had been abandoned, and the inspiration for the High Line). Still, have to admit they did a nice job and the amphitheater here is a great (and novel) idea. 
The Urban Theater at the High Line Park
Photo ©Darren Bradley
Giving credit where it's due, Diller Scofidio + Renfro were the architects on this project.

While we were doing typical tourist things, the Staten Island Ferry was an obligatory stop to see the Statue of Liberty. On the way out of the ferry terminal, we ran into this rather unusual hot dog stand.
New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion
Photo ©Darren Bradley

I knew nothing about it but took a quick photo while my daughter finished her hot dog. Turns out, it was designed by the Dutch firm, UNStudio (love those guys) as the Netherlands Pavilion for an exposition that took place in the city (NY 400). It was donated to NY by the Dutch government after the expo (I guess they didn't want to pay to ship it back to Holland?) and was placed at the foot of Battery Park, in Peter Minuit Plaza, to serve as a hospitality center and snack bar. Only the snack bar was open when I was there.

Hopefully, I'll get a chance to go back again soon with my camera and hit a few more noteworthy buildings that are on my list. So look for a part 2!







6 comments:

Neu! said...

It's amazing to me that the original FLW designed building actually conceals the newer addition behind it from the first angle. Seems impossible. Great stuff as ususal.

Isabel Asensio Andrés said...

Great Post!!!
WOWOWOWOW
"EPIC"

.,.like a present!!!

Brian Moore said...

So Darren,...Just how long DID you have to stand there waiting for people to come down those stairs? :-)

Excellent blog as usual.

Unknown said...

Un immense merci pour votre blog, je vous suis depuis des années sur Flickr, et je lis avec grand plaisir chaque nouvel article de ce blog incroyablement intéressant !
fabrice

Darren Bradley said...

Thanks, everyone! Merci, Fabrice!

Romy Kaiser said...

Love NYC soo much and you definitely show the right places everyone should go to!