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Thread: Endangered NYC - Lost & Threatened Treasures

  1. #301

    Smile Fantastic shot of the Airline Building.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas West View Post
    Oh man....you can say that again.

    I photographed the magnificent Airlines Terminal Building in December 1975. At the time I had already heard rumors that it was coming down.

    Also interesting in this picture are the cigarette ads on the 42nd St crosstown bus, and the Automat Restaurant in the bottom of the Terminal building; at the time maybe one of two left in New York (the other on 57th St I believe.)

    My name is Nicholas West; this is my very first post to this forum, and if there was ever I place where I was interested in the subject, this is it. A nearly lifelong New Yorker; I've been making pictures of New York for over 30 years. It's beyond criminal what has been done to NY architecture in the past 40 years or so....almost unbearable to think about.

    I offer greetings to everyone here on this forum and thanks to you all for creating such a fantastic repository of priceless stuff.

    THE eptimome of Art Deco, in my mind. I used to go there to purchase my airline tickets. There was an escalator inside. I loved that building. I wonder where some of the statues wound up? I think the younger generation doesn't know what they are missing. Perhaps when their favorite mall is torn down 30+ years from now, they'll know.

  2. #302
    Forum Veteran TREPYE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas West View Post
    Never noticed that junk in front of GCT before. Now that I know what it replaced it is an even more offesive piece of junk. I wish I was still oblivious to it....ignorance can indeed be bliss sometimes.

  3. #303

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas West View Post
    Thank you all for your kind comments!

    Out of curiosity I walked by the Airlines Building site yesterday and took a snapshot from the same position as my 1975 shot.

    As we see, the old Deco masterpiece was replaced by this wretched dismal piece of junk, built by the Philip Morris Company and occupied in part by The Whitney Museum. Lethally boring to look at, it sucks the light and air out of the whole area and has about as much visual charm and interest as the plastic address window on a credit card bill. Fitting that it was built by a cigarette company, as you can develop cancer just looking at it.

    As a matter of fact, the whole intersection is polluted with pure junk. The crappy mall-style street lamps with the oversized cardboard street signs, colored blue and white to look vaguely like the old enamel ones from the 30s.

    The stately original lamps that were once along the roadway above the Grand Central entrance canopy have been unaccountably stripped off, leaving granite stumps and rusty bolts where they used to be. An eagle on a ball has been incongruously stuck there instead. An ugly orange traffic sign sticks up where the lamps used to light the way.

    I have no explanation for all of this other than the conclusion that Americans hate nice things and much prefer to be surrounded by hideous crap; and I say that as an American and a lifelong New Yorker. That and they enjoy destroying old things like mindless automatons, believing that new things will always and without fail be better. It's interesting that the Chase bank, on the second floor of the building on the right edge, is still there.



    Anyone know where and when these eagles turned up? They remind me of the statues that were dumped when Penn Station came down.

  4. #304
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Jeannie, see this post earlier in this thread, regarding where the eagles are now.

  5. #305

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    Quote Originally Posted by Merry View Post
    Jeannie, see this post earlier in this thread, regarding where the eagles are now.
    I think she's referring to the eagle they stuck over the GCT entrance canopy.

  6. #306

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    If that's the eagle in question, there's a photo of it in this thread.

  7. #307

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    They paved paradise, put up a parking lot......

  8. #308

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    Quote Originally Posted by Merry View Post
    Jeannie, see this post earlier in this thread, regarding where the eagles are now.
    Thanks, Nick. I saw your thread re: Best Foods. How disgusting for them to wind up there.

  9. #309

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    If that's the eagle in question, there's a photo of it in this thread.
    I'd still like to know where these "new" small eagles came from. I haven't been in the city in a long time but only just noticed them a week ago.

  10. #310
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    Probably carved our of pigeon sh*t accumulated on that spot over the years.

  11. #311
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeannie View Post
    I saw your thread re: Best Foods. How disgusting for them to wind up there.
    It is a shame they're not still in NYC, but at least they're intact and somewhere, and not smashed to smithereens and occupying landfill.

    As for the GCT/S eagles:

    http://home.att.net/~berliner-Ultrasonics/rreagles.html

    The Cast Iron Eagles of Grand Central Station





    http://www.architecturaliron.com/gallery/eagles.htm

  12. #312

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    Have I told you lately you're an amazing photographer?The 'ole apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
    Last edited by Edward; August 18th, 2009 at 11:18 AM. Reason: No quoting whole posts, no images in quotes, regular font in post

  13. #313
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    I just found this blog with an entry about the Airlines Terminal building. They've very kindly mentioned WNY and this thread, too .

    This photo appears to be the same as the one in New York 1930:



    Here is the passage from the book about the Airlines Terminal Building:

    "Demonstrating the difficulty of effective airport design, the most architecturally significant air transportation building was, ironically, not located at an airport but rather in the center of Manhattan at the southwest corner of Forty-second Street and Park Avenue, facing Grand Central Terminal. As designed by John B. Peterkin, the Airlines Terminal Building, which served the consolidated reservation, ticketing, and baggage needs of the nation's five major airlines and functioned as the city's main airport limousine terminal, presented a vigorous Modern Classical challenge to its neighbor across the street. Realizing the building's potential to constitute a grand urban gateway, the principal facade was an entrance set within a concave indentation containing Otto Bach's polychromatic stainless steel mural map of the world. The facade was further articulated by Rene Chambellan's decorative carvings and sculpture, including two stylized representations of eagles, which surmounted the building and flanked an oblong light fixture and a flag pole; the treatment at once suggested the theme of flight and patriotic sentiment while augmenting the building's appropriately monumental appearance. Inside the terminal, the walls of the large waiting room were embellished by Chambellan's mural depicting flight. A sumptuously appointed restaurant incorporated a mirror-backed bar, and a curved stairway with metal balusters whose form suggested airplane propellers led to another dining room. Peterkin's scheme not only presented a glamorous streamlined vision of an aviation-oriented future, it exploited technological innovations, including conveyor belts to transport luggage, a pneumatic tube system for rapid circulation of tickets and baggage checks, and oil-hydraulic lifts to carry limousines from basement level to street level, allowing the terminal to fully load and dispatch six limousines every eight minutes. The building also housed stores and a 528-seat newsreel theater, directly accessible from Forty-second Street where travelers could conveniently spend a spare hour."

    The blog includes some amazing historical photos, including this closeup of the entrance:



    And the theater:


  14. #314
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Great find, merry.

    That same blog mentions another plan for this site:

    In the late 1920s plans were made to construct an 85 storey skyscraper but the stock market crash and subsequent depression resulted only in an empty lot.
    Anybody know what that 85-storey proposal might have been?

  15. #315
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Some info on the newsreel movie theater in the Airlines Terminal Building, listed as 125 Park Avenue (but given the info at Emporis it seems it should be 126 Park Avenue).

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