Saturday, October 27, 2007


New York is surprising. I would not say New York is a beautiful city, but it is a city with a lot of beauty in it. New York is gritty and serious in a way that a city where things get done has to be I find Milan, London, and Moscow similar in that respect).

New York, however, will surprise you. Because New York is a vertical city, you can really turn a corner and be amazed by the 19th century street you've fallen into, or the beaux-arts building you "discovered." Many of New York's most impressive buildings are obscured by the construction of the last thirty years or so and as a result you can't see what in the past were considered monumental buildings (City Hall for example, which when it was built was mean to be grand and imposing and is now so dwarfed by the building around it that it seems quaint, and it is).

I have a great respect for the hodgepodge of architecture that is New York City, which cannot blame or accredit the diversity of it architecture to fire or war, but to greed and vision of its own citizens.

I recently discovered that many of my favorite New York City buildings were designed by the same man: Cass Gilbert (pictured above). You can see some of his building here. My personal favorites are the United States Court House, Hamilton Custom House, and the Municipal Building, which Stalin like and copied in Moscow many times. Cass was a very European inspired architect who very much wanted to work in England, but who life brought back to the states. He did, however, design on an American scale and did amazing works (like the Woolworth building, which is essentially a Gothic skyscraper). He also did the Supreme Court build, which is perhaps what he is most famous for.

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