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Thread: History New York 20th century

  1. #121

    Default Manhattan 1940s

    1949 Special: 100 Park Avenue Building

    Hello! We're back in this trip through the history of New York skyscrapers. For close with finishing touch the 1940s, we will speak of the 100 Park Avenue Building, considered the first great office skyscraper that rises in Grand Central Terminal District since the construction of the Chrysler Building, in 1930.

    Located in the west side of Park Avenue South between streets 40th and 41st Streets, the 36-story 100 Park Avenue Building was designed by the Kahn & Jacobs, under rigid norms of 1916 Zoning Law (a design in steps that is finished off by a slim tower) in modern style, where begins to have a predominance of aluminum and glass in the facade, own of the International Style Modernism, accentuating its verticality, with white brick columns. The skyscraper was built between 1948 and 1949, in the site of the old Murray Hill Hotel and its presence was contrasting with or the old Art Deco skyscrapers surrounding it, like Lincoln, the Chanin or the Chrysler Buildings.

    Ely Jacques Kahn showing a rendering of 100 Park Avenue Building to business men. 1947.

    Construction of 100 Park Avenue Building. September 1948.

    Robert M. Stern (1997) says about the 100 Park Avenue Building:

    “The thirty-six-story building was built on the site of the Murray Hill Hotel (Stephen D. Hatch, 1883), on the west blockfront between Fortieth and Forty-first streets. Construction began in 1948 after months of legal battles with the hotel’s residents, who where reluctant to move. Unlike the same firm’s two-year-old Universal Building, 100 Park Avenue utilized a rather more traditional vertical aesthetic. It consist a large base containing 32,000-square-foot floors that emerged free from the nearest window, was justified by installation of air conditioning, a novelty at the time. Kahn & Jacobs had hoped to clad the building in metal and glass, but compromised on a scheme with facades consisting of expressed columns clad in white brick, between which ran a vertically continuous glass-and-aluminum window wall. From the point of view of real estate economics and functional accommodation, 100 Park Avenue set the standard for postwar office buildings. The building was rented for plans before it actually opened; it provided flexible, well-lit, climate-controlled office space; and it offered large floors fro major tenants as well as accommodations for smaller companies” (Stern, Robert. A.M. Mellins, Thomas. Fishman, David. New York 1960. Architecture and urbanism between the Second World War and the Bicentennial. New York. The Monacello Press. 1997. Page. 299).

    The 100 Park Avenue Building. (Kahn & Jacobs. 1949)

    The new building from the Empire State. September 1949.

    He continued:

    “The aesthetics of 100 Park Avenue, however, were less decisively contemporary. Lewis Mumford described the design as ‘halfway between the ticker-tape and the layer-cake styles,’ but he also had praise for it: ‘The structure by no means tries to tell its whole story in glass, as the United Nations Secretariat Building does, but it nevertheless has a sort of white, ethereal elegance that gives it an ever greater air of lightness’” (Stern. 1997. Page 299).

    100 Park Avenue Building. October 1950.

    Next. The first part of the United Nations complex: The Secretariat Building.

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  2. #122

    Default Manhattan 1950s

    1949-1950 Special


    The Secretariat Building. (1950)


    Hello everybody! We continue in this trip through the evolution of by always called “The Skyscraper City”. We are began the 1950s and we began with a great event in New York's and world architecture history: the conclusion of the first building of the United Nations complex, the 39-story Secretariat Building; the city's first glass curtain wall facade skyscrapers. This is the first part of the history of the construction of the of the United Nations headquarters.

    The 39-story skyscraper for the Secretariat of the United Nations was the first building that was finished of the famous world organization that fight for world peace, that was formely founded in October 24, 1945 as a result of the signature, by more than 50 countries, of the United Nations Charter, in San Francisco, in April of that same year, at the end of World War II.

    In April - June 1945, representatives of fifty countries congregated in San Francisco to hold the United Nations Conference on International Organization. Those delegates deliberated to constitute the United Nations Charter in accordance with the proposals given by the delegates of the major Allied powers amid the Dumbarton Oaks Conference in August - October 1944. Subsequent to the lengthy discussions, the Charter was signed on 26 June 1945 by the delegates of the countries. Poland, not represented at the Conference, signed it soon after and became one of the original fifty-one Member States. The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, and a majority of other signatories (United Nations. Founding of the UN -San Francisco Conference. Flickr. Link.

    The signature of United Nations Charter. San Francisco. June 26th, 1945. Photo: United Nations. Link:

    The commitment of the UN is to foment world peace with action as the combat against hunger and poverty, like mediator of international conflicts, plead for the suppression of the atomic and conventional guns and give to poor countries nutritional and educational support through subdivisions like the FAO and UNESCO. United Nations fight for women and children rights, for the ethnic minority perople dignity and fight to be avoid a new world war, that could be deadlier. At the moment they are more than the 190 member countries in the United Nations, include, with pride, my country, Mexico.

    For their multicultural and multiracial character, when lodging numerous populations of foreign people New York are the Capital of the World. Its position was ratified when, in December of 1946, the city was elected for placed the United Nations permanent headquarters. The place that was chosen to build the new building was the Manhattan island East River shoreline, between 42nd, and 43rd. Streets, that was donated by John B. Rockefeller Jr. Meanwhile, the UN settled down in the old 1939 World Fair New York City Pavilion (now the Queens Museum), in Flushing Meadows Park, Queens.

    “The area was a region of slums, slaughter houses and breweries when on December 11, 1946, Warren R. Austin, the Permanent Representative of the United Nations, made a important announcement to the Assembly then meeting in its temporary quarters at Flushing Meadow, on Long Island. Austin said that John D. Rockefeller, Jr., an American philanthropist and financier, had offered $8,500,000 to buy the East River site as permanent home for the United Nations. The Assembly had been considering various proposals from many localities in North America, including San Francisco and the Westchester and Connecticut areas, but within thirty-six hours this offer was accepted. New York City acquired and gave to the United Nations the remaining land needed to round out the Headquarters site as it exists today and deeded over the streets and the waterfront rights along the East River. To a joint program of improvements with the United Nations the city has contributed $26 million” (Your United Nations. The Official Guide Book. New York. United Nations Office of Public Information. Eleventh Edition. 1961. Pages 3 and 4).

    The site for the United Nations. 1947. Photo: United Nations. Flickr.

    A new group of architects international, leader by Wallace K. Harrison, and advised by the famous French architect Le Corbusier, was united to project the new buildings for the United Nations, in 1947.

    Eric P. Nash (1999) write about the UN project:

    “The American leader of the design board, Wallace K. Harrison, had designed the emblematic Trylon and Perisphere for the 1939 World’s Fair, and was searching for similar Platonic forms to set on a greensward. Le Corbusier seized upon the Secretariat tower as his personal mission. The rest of the team, largely undistinguished except for Oscar Niemeyer of Brazil, were selected according to global political spheres. Mies Van der Rohe and Walter Gropius were omitted because they were associated with the defeated enemy, Germany and Alvar Aalto was left out because Finland was not yet a UN member, Frank Lloyd Wright, never much of a team player, was not seriously considered” (Nash, Eric P. Manhattan Skyscrapers. New York. Princeton Architectural Press. 1999. Page. 99).

    Robert M. Stern (1995) says:

    “Though flawed, the U.N. complex as crystallized in the spring of 1947 was the long-awaited, triumphant realization of interwar-era Modernist architecture and urbanism. The dynamic composition of the buildings consisted of the unencumbered mass of the Secretariat slab, distinguished by he diagrammatic clarity of its cladding –two walls of glass and two of stone- and, as a foreground set piece, the Assembly Building with its hourglass plan. The shape of the Assembly Building was designed to provide a midsection lobby between the Assembly hall and a room for the Security Council. Because the shape was a particular favorite of Harrison’s, and because it had been approved by the now-disbanded Board of Design, it was retained even after budget problems required the elimination of the council chamber. The rooftop dome was added at the request of Senator Austin, who felt it was a necessary design feature to convince Congress of the building’s suitability and thus to obtain government funds for the building’s completion” (Stern, Robert. A.M. Mellins, Thomas. Fishman, David. New York 1960. Architecture and urbanism between the Second World War and the Bicentennial. New York. The Monacello Press. 1997. Page. 617).

    UN. Headquarters model. 1947. Photo: United Nations/

    Stern continue:

    “Demolition of the fifty buildings on the U.N. site began in July 1947. Only one building on the site was not cleared to make way for the world headquarters, a seven-story, 70,000-square-foot, exposed-concrete building built for the New York City Housing Authority (1947) on the northeast corner of Forty-second Street and First Avenue; this was first used for offices and in 1951 was converted to use as the U.N. Library” (Stern. 1997. Fragment).

    He continued:

    “Groundbreaking for the Secretariat Building took place on September 14, 1948. By October excavation for the first three buildings was well under way. By June 1949, with the steel skeleton of the Secretariat rising, the thirty-nine-story glazed slab, 544 feet high, 287 feet wide and 72 feet thick, with 5,400 operable windows and 5,400 glass spandrels, began to take form. It attracted the attention of architects, who marveled at its slender shape and technological innovations, and the general public, who hadn’t seen a comparable large-scale construction project on New York since the completion of Rockefeller Center. To commemorate the founding of the world organization four years before, the Secretariat’s ceremonial cornerstone was laid on October 24, 1949, proclaimed U.N. Day by Mayor O`Dwyer” (Stern. 1997. Pages 617-618).

    The Secretariat Building under construction. Midtown Manhattan in the background. June 1949.

    The Secretary Building. November 1949.

    Finally, the Secretariat tower was completed in the Spring of 1950 and its facade of wall curtain, totally had in green-blue crystal woke up the admiration of the critics.

    Eric P. Nash (1999) says about the Secretary:

    “The slab form of the Secretariat, with glass curtain walls bookended by 72-foot-deep walls of white Vermont marble is an evolution of Le Corbusier’s solid-edged slabs of the Pavilion Suisse (1932) in Paris and his Ministry of Education and Health Building with Oscar Niemeyer in Rio de Janeiro (1938). There were still battles to be fought: Le Corbusier wanted windows that opened and were protected by an awning-like brise-soleil as a natural means of climated control. Harrison insisted that air-conditioning was the cornerstone of the Pax Americana, and designed an innovative curtain wall cantilevered two feet, nine inches, in front of the steel structure so that it formed a flush skin of blue-green Thermopane heat-absorbing glass. The Termopane spandrels between the window bands were painted black on the inner face. With French invective Le Corbusier dismissed this ‘cellophane veil’ as ‘sepulchral repression.’ Nonetheless, the slab was a crisp précis and set the pace for glass curtain-wall buildings in New York and around the world. For American, Internationalism represented postwar prosperity; for Europe it was a chance to rebuild; and for developing countries it stood for a brighter future” (Nash, Eric P. 1999. Page 101)

    The new UN Secretariat Building and the Empire State Building. 1951.

    The Secretariat Building at night. 1951. Photo: Ewing Galloway.

    Aerial view of United Nations headquarters with Secretariat building.

    Next, a general panorama of the city of 1950.

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    Last edited by erickchristian; December 18th, 2009 at 04:51 PM.

  3. #123

    Default Manhattan 1950s


    Hi!! We're continue our trip around the evolution of New York skyscrapers. Now we, began in 1950 when the great innovations of the city architecture of the year where the curtain wall of the United Nations Secretariat Building. The glass skyscraper were arrived to the city and a new age of a future building design were come.

    The construction activity were grew in these year and new office buildings were built besides the UN Secretariat tower: the 40-story 1407 Broadway Building, near Times Square, designed by Kahn & Jacobs, in the wedding cake minimalism style, and construction works were quickly in the modern wedding-cake style Look Building, in Madison Avenue and 51st. Street.

    Housing projects were build on Lower East Side, the most important were the Alfred Smith Houses, near Brooklyn Bridge, that completed in 1950.

    Now a general panorama of the city in 1950.

    Times Square at night. February 1950. Photo: Andreas Feininger.

    Aerial view of Midtown Manhattan and Stuyvesant Town looking northwest. March, 1950. Part 1.

    Part 2.

    100 Park Avenue Building. May 1950.

    1407 Broadway Building (Kahn & Jacobs), in Times Square district, nearby complete. June 1950.

    Aerial view of Lower Manhattan skyline looking northeast. June 1950. The picture showing the new design of Battery Park and the ventilation building of the new Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.

    The Carlyle Hotel. June 1950. Photo: Samuel H. Gottscho.

    St. Paul Chappel. June 1950. Photo: Andreas Feininger.

    Aerial view of Lower Manhattan looking west from East River. July 1950. Photo: National Geographic.

    Lower Broadway canyons looking south from Park Row. July 1950. The building in foreground is the old AT&T Building. Photo: Andreas Feininger.

    Midtown Manhattan looking west from East River showing the new 39-story UN Secretary Building. July 1950.

    Lower Manhattan looking north from Governors Island. July 1950.

    Some New York's first skyscrapers were build in old Newspapers Row. Here from Park Row. July 1950. Photo: Andreas Feininger.

    Woolworth Building from the City Service Tower looking northwest. July 1950.

    The old and the new in Grand Central District. Beaux Arts Lefcourt Colonial Building (1930) and Modernist 100 Park Avenue Building (1949). October 1950.

    Next, a general panorama of the city in 1951.

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  4. #124

  5. #125

    Default Manhattan 1950s


    Hi!! We're back on this trip through the history of New York skyscrapers. Now we're in 1951. More and more skyscrapers were build in Manhattan, especially in Midtown, were the construction of the United Nations headquarters and the need of more office spaces estimulated a building construction activity. The building boom were begun.

    In early 1951 works for Lever House office building, in Park Avenue were begun, and in this year the new 32-story white-brick Chrysler Annex Building were build and in the end of this year the slyscrapers were completed and open for business.

    Other office buildings were completed in this year were the 22-story Look Building, in Madison Avenue, near St. Patrick's Cathedral; the 20-story 260 Madison Avenue Building, between 39th to 40th Streets and the Mutual of New York Building (MONY), near Central Park, in Broadway and 55th Street. A new 24-story apartment building gave a new face for Upper East Side and it was the first postwar upper income housing skyscraper in the zone: the Manhattan Apartments (Skydmore, Owings and Merril, 1951).

    In early 1951, a new 219-foot TV transmision tower was put in the top of 102-story 1250-foot Empire State Building's mooring mast. It increased to Empire State to 1469-foot high.

    Now, a general panorama of the city in 1951.

    Times Square looking north. February 1951.

    The Empire State Building with its new TV tower in the top. Photo from the New York Life Building looking northwest. May 1951.

    The Grand Central Terminal looking north from Park Avenue and 40th Street. June 1951.

    Another minimalism zigurat: the Look Building. June 1951.

    Lower Manhattan looking southwest from East River showing a section of Brooklyn Bridge's road. July 1951.

    The Bowling Green. July 1951. Photo: Andreas Feininger.

    Aerial view of Midtown Manhattan looking southwest showing United Nations. July 1951.

    Midtown Manhattan looking south from RCA Building showing the Empire State Building and its new TV tower. July 1951.

    The Empire State Building. July 1951.

    The Mutual of New York (MONY) Building, near Times Square. July, 1951. Shreve, Lamb & Harmon designed this 29-story skyscraper in the Empire State Building's style. It was the first skyscraper with a electronic clock in the top.

    The United Nations Secretariat Building and the Empire State Building. July 1951.

    Aerial view of Midtown Manhattan looking south. August 1951. Check the Lever House Building under construction in foreground, at left. Photo: Fairchild Aerial Surveys.

    Aerial view of Midtown Manhattan looking southwest from East River, showing Queensboro Bridge. August 1951.

    Revolutionary, a glass wedding-cake skyscraper: 20-story 260 Madison Avenue Building. (Sylvan Bien, architect). November 1951.

    Night view of Midtown Manhattan looking west from East River showing United Nations headquarters. November 1951. Photo: Ewing Galloway.

    The United Nation from a Queens cementery. December 1951. Photo: Andreas Feininger.

    Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick's cathedral from Park Lane Hotel. December 1951.

    Next, a 1952 special for Lever House.

    You opinion are very important. If you have some commentary or you want to show a some picture, show here.
    Last edited by erickchristian; December 4th, 2009 at 05:19 PM. Reason: Added more information

  6. #126

    Default Manhattan 1950s

    1952 Special


    An architectural revolution

    Hi!! We're back on this trip through the history of New York skyscrapers. Now, we're in 1952 and this year were important in the American modern architecture history because in this year, the 22-story glass slab Lever House Building, in Park Avenue were completed.

    Located in the west side of Park Avenue between 53 and 54 streets, the headquarters of Lever Brothers Company, a company that famous of many soap and detergent products, was the first corporate skyscraper all covered in glass. It is the modernism in all expresion.

    Robert M. Stern (1997) says about the Lever House:

    “The design of Lever House announced the transformation of the aesthetic of American corporate architecture. With the building’s completion the thirty-year old utopistic ideas of Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier were at last realized at full scale. No longer an art of solid and void, of mass displacing and defining space, architecture was now a play of light and shadow on glass, an art of literal transparency and surface reflectivity. The construction of Lever House marked not only the fulfillment of an architectural but also an urbanistic vision: with the building slab lifted on a base and turned a right angle to the grand axis of Park Avenue, the traditional street –the rue corridor so loathed by Le Corbusier- was no longer an exalted standard. The old order of the ensemble was replaced by a new urban order of individual, objectilike buildings ‘liberated’ in space and set apart form one another” (Stern, Robert. A.M. Mellins, Thomas. Fishman, David. New York 1960. Architecture and urbanism between the Second World War and the Bicentennial. New York. The Monacelli Press. 1997. Pages 338-339).

    The Lever House. May 1952.

    Originally, the Lever House was planned for the headquarter of company in Chicago, in the mid 1940s, but Lever Brothers decided built its new offices in New York because it was the advertising company.

    Stern continue:

    “In the mid 1940s Nathaniel Owings, of the firm Skydmore, Owings & Merril (SOM), had prepared for Level’s management a sketch model of a slablike scheme for a site opposite Chicago’s Drake Hotel; and in 1949 SOM’s Charles D. Wiley had a prepared a design for a downtown Chicago site that consisted of a slab of pilotis locked into a low mezzanine that wrapped around a small open-air courtyard. But Lever Brothers decided to build their headquarters in New York rather than Chicago because, as a company representative slated, ‘The price one pays for soap is 89 percent advertising … and the advertising agencies of America were there’” (Stern. 1997. Page 339).

    He, continue:

    “On April 29, 1950, a new era in the relationship between commercial enterprise and architectural expression was inaugurated when the Lever Brothers Company, a large multinational corporation famous for its soap products, made public its plans to build a headquarters building on a blockfront site on the east side of Park Avenue between Fifty-third and Fifty-fourth streets. The one-story taxpayer structure that had been built on the site of Robert Goelet twelve years before was demolished to make way for the new twenty-one-story, 302-foot-high, 280,000-square-foot building, which would house 1,200 employees and consolidate company operations in New York as well a bringing jobs to the city from such locations as Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Chicago. Lever House was a remarkable oddity among skyscrapers in that owner wanted only to house the company’s staff, choosing not a build excess space to let out to tenants. It was a corporate headquarters pure and simple. In addition to approximately 150,000 square feet of office space, the building included an employees’ dining room, and auditorium and an underground garage for fifty-five cars” (Stern. 1997. Page. 338).

    The architect of the building was Gordon Bunshaft, who joined in SOM in 1949 and design the new building under de International Style Modernism ordinances. The importances of this glassed building was it was build just after the completion of 39-story United Nations Secretariat Building and like this building, Lever House syntethizes the Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier ideas. The building were finally completed in march, 1952 and accelerate the metamorphosis of the residential caracter of Park Avenue to a new office skyscraper area.

    Stern (1997) continue:

    “SOM’s design effort was led by Gordon Bunshaft, who had become a partner in the firm in 1949. At Lever House, Bunshaft created a dynamic composition of horizontal and vertical planes that expressed, as one writer pointed out when the building was still a project, ‘the striving of all modern architects to make visible pure geometric shape to unlike earlier skyscrapers with their street-to street mass and their ziggurat-like setbacks’. The horizontal element was a one-story-high slab containing 22,000 square feet of space –used for mail and stock rooms, offices and business machines- raised one story above the street on columns and punctured to create a courtyard. The vertical element, an eighteen-story slab with 8,700 square feet of office space on each floor, was set perpendicular to the avenue, and seemed to float above it because of a deep shadow recess at the third floor, where the cafeteria overlooked a landscaped roof terrace. The elevators were located at the west end of the tower where they could link up with a future tower should the company decided to expand its operations. Both horizontal and vertical elements were entirely sheathed in blue-green glass; unlike the United Nations Secretariat, whose north and south facades were solid, all of Lever House’s exposed surfaces were wrapped in glass. At night, Lever House appeared to be a once an illuminated jewel and a transparent cage, and extraordinary effect against the solidity of traditional Park Avenue” (Stern. 1997. Page 339).

    The architectural historian, Leland M. Roth (1979) says:

    "The structural columns supporting this curtain wall are enterly hidden so that the wall is a nonsupporting skin, just the reverse of the traditional heavy bearing wall of McKim, Mead & White's Raquet Club, 1916-19. Bunshaft turned his back on Park Avenue, so carefully defined by the older traditional buildings, carving out a hole in the wall of the street. By itself, in the early 1950's, this was a pleasant accent, but when every new succesive office towe stood in a similar wind-swept plaza, the street as a defined space slipped away". Roth, Leland M. A Concise History of American Architecture. New York. Icon Editors. 1979. Pages. 278-279)

    The Lever House. May 1952

    A detail of the facade. June 1952.

    The Lever from a future site of Seagram Building.

    At night, fully illuminated.

    Another picture of the building at night.

    Another detail of the night illumination.

    Paul Goldberger (1981) says about the Lever House:

    "Lever's abstract beauty remains powerful, more than a quarter century after its completion (1981), and its genuine modesty of scale brings to the streetscape a sense of humanism that has been desperately lacking in today's standars -the break with the street wall on Park Avenue, so liberating in the 1950's, now seems nedless a not a little narcissistic. The open ground floor, which seemed the very embodiment of enlighened urbanism when it was new, seems now somewhat dull and sterile, its public space little used. And the premise of 'structural honesty' on which the buildings was said to be based is, of course, an exageration. The double-slab form is a pure composition, as much as was the crown of the Chrysler Building; and the use of spandrel glass -the glass that covers the structure between the floors, making the entire outside look as if it were made of glass -is not structural honesty at all, but merely a modernist brand of ornament" (Goldberger, Paul. The Skyscraper. New York. Alfred A. Knopf. 1981. Page 107).

    The Lever House. 1953.

    Next, a general review of the city in 1952.

    You opinion are very important. If you have some commentary or you want to show a some picture, show here.
    Last edited by erickchristian; December 4th, 2009 at 07:35 PM.

  7. #127

    Default Manhattan 1950s


    Hi!!! Continue our trip throught the history of New York skyscrapers year by year. In 1952 the city continue to building boom. The United Nations headquarters were completed with the dedication of the General Assembly Building. Perhaps, the mean city's architectural event of the year, was the dedication of 21-story glass slab Lever House Building, that accelerates the metamorphosis of Park Avenue to a new office district.

    Now a general panorama of the city of 1952.

    Aerial view of Midtown Manhattan looking southwest showing the United Nations headquarters. February 1952.

    The Lever House. May 1952.

    Midtown Manhattan looking southwest from Manhattan House. May 1952.

    Night view of Lever House. May 1952.

    Another pic of Lever House. May 1952.

    Manhatan House. June 1952.

    Night view of Lever House. June 1952.

    Night view of Midtown Manhattan looking northeast from Empire State Building. June 1952.

    Another night detail of Lever House. June 1952.

    Is not a skyscraper, but is interesting. The New York Port Autority Terminal. June 1952.

    Aerial view of Financial District skyscrapers looking northwest from East River. July 1952.

    Aerial view of Manhattan Island looking north. July 1952. (Compare with a 1948 picture on page 8).

    Aerial view of Midtown Manhattan looking northwest from East River. July 1952.

    The Empire State Building looking southjwest from Lincoln Building. July 1952.

    Night view of Midtown Manhattan looking south from RCA Building.

    Lever House's facade details. July 1952.

    Aerial view of United Nations headquarters looking northwest showing Midtown in the background. August 1952.

    Lever House. August 1952.

    Midtown Manhattan looking north from Empire State Building. October 1952.

    Midtown skyscrapers and East Side Airlines Terminal. December 1952.

    Night view of Fifth Avenue looking north. December 1952.

    Next, a general panorama of 1953.

    You opinion are very important. If you have some commentary or you want to show a some picture, show here.
    Last edited by erickchristian; December 18th, 2009 at 05:13 PM. Reason: Re edit te blog.

  8. #128

    Default Manhattan 1950s


    Hi!! We're back on this trip trough the evolution of New York skyscrapers. Now, we're in 1953. The building activity were increassed and new office building were raised in Midtown Manhattan. In these year, the 29-story Sinclair Oil Building were completed in Fifth Avenue, in the Rockefeller Center's style. This building were built independent of the Center. Finally, this building were added at the Center in 1963. Another big office building were the 31-story 261 Madison Avenue Building (AMF Building) that its west facade were totally covered in glass.

    Many of the new buildings were build on the East Side of Midtown were a minimalism version of old 1920-1930s wedding pie skysccraper, many of this less of 30 story high, but the need of more office space for office workers and commercial and financial companies were continued growing it. While, the high-rise apartment building construction for lower and middle income families were growing, many of these buildings, were build for the city's goverment and were build in Lower East Side. A real urban renewal explosion.

    Now, a general panorama of New York skyline in 1953.

    St. Patrick's Cathedral. January, 1953.

    Lower Manhattan looking northwest from Governors Island. January 1953.

    Night view of the Empire State Building from Lincoln Building. January 1953.

    Midtown Manhattan looking south from RCA Building. Febrruary 1953. Photo: Andreas Feininger.

    The Lever House. February 1953.

    The new face of 42nd Street, with modern buildings: UN Secretariat (1950) and Chrysler Building Annex (1952). May 1953. Photo: Andreas Feininger.

    Aerial view of United Nations headquartes from East River. May 1953.

    Lower Manhattan skyline and Brooklyn Bridge. May 1953.

    Old 1930's Financial district office towers were eclipsed with a new viaduct construction for Brooklyn Bridge aproach. May 1953.

    Midtown Manhattan looking west from East River showing UN Headquarters. May 1953. Photo: Ezra Stoller. Part 1 of 2: Empire State Building, Tudor City apartment buildings, UN Secretariat and Security Council Buildings, Chrysler Buildings.

    Photo 2 of 2: UN General Assembly Building, Rockefeller Center, Newsweek Building (444 Madison Avenue) and Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

    Aerial view of Midtown Manhattan looking northwest from Hell's Kitchen. June 1953.

    The original Chrysler Building (1930) and its new modern annex building (1951) looking north. June 1953.

    The 29-story Sinclair Oil Building, in June 1953. In this time, it was not a Rockefeller Center building perhaps it was build in a Center's style. This building was incorporate at Rockefeller Center complex until 1963.

    Skyscrapers on 42nd Street from Third Avenue looking west. July 1953. Photo: Andreas Feininger.

    Aerial view of Midtown Manhattan looking southwest from East River. July 1953.

    Manhattan from Bedloe (Liberty) Island. July 1953.

    Financial District looking northwest from Hudson River showing the S.S. America. July 1953.

    Night view of United Nations headquarters looking southwest from East River showing Midtown Skyline. July 1953.

    The Chanin Building from Chrysler Annex Building looking west. July 1953. The parking lot in foreground is the site for future Socony Mobil Building.

    The UN Headquarters from East River. July 1953.

    Colored night view of Midtown Manhattan looking southeast from RCA Building. August 1953.

    The 261 Madison Avenue Building (AMF Building. Robert & Sylvan Bien). September 1953.

    Lower Manhattan's Radio Row (Future WTC site) skyline from a Trasatlantic ship on Hudson River. October 1953. Photo: National Geographic.

    Midtown Manhattan looking northeast from Empire State Building in a foggy day. October 1953.

    Midtown Manhattan looking south from RCA Building in a foggy day. November 1953.

    Next, a general review of 1954.

    You opinion are very important. If you have some commentary or you want to show a some picture, show here.
    Last edited by erickchristian; December 18th, 2009 at 05:17 PM.

  9. #129

    Default Manhattan 1950s


    Hi!! We're back on this trip around the New York City Syscraper history and we continue our trip through 1950s.

    Now we're in 1954. The office building construction were increased, responding to the demand of the commercial and banking companies of more space for its operations. At the same time high-rises housing buildings complex for the families of the working-class also were increased, especially in Lower East Side, creating a new urban renewal era heades by the city's parks and housing commisioner, Robert Moses.

    Back in the office skyscraper topic, that are the objective of this blog, in the demand of these buildings were increasses in 1954, which, in their majority do not exceed the 30 stories height. A tendency in Madison and Park Avenues at that time was the renovation of old residenial high-rises buildings, that were "modernized" and with a new glass facade, were conditioned by office use. That was the destiny of a luxurious 16-story residential 430 Park Avenue Building, originally build in 1916, but after subjecting to an extensive renewal, in 1954 was re-inaugrated as a flaming glass "miniskyscraper" destined to offices.

    That year, under the influence of te new ALCO Building in Pittsburgh, New York begun the construction of skyscraper with aluminum facades. First of them were build in 99 and 460 of Park Avenue, between 1954 and 1955. In 1954, construction works were begun in the 25-story Colgate Palmolive Building, in 300 Park Avenue and new 47-story aluminium facade Socony-Mobil Building, schedule for its completion between 1955 and 1956, respectly.

    Now a general review of 1954.

    Midtown Manhattan looking west from East River. March 1954 The UN Headqarters showing in foreground.

    Midtown Manhattan lookng east from Hudson River. May 1954. Photo: Nationa Geogaphic.

    UN Headquarters, News and Chrysler Buildings from East River. May 1954.

    Aerial view of Empire State Building. June 1954.

    Sunset view of Empire State Building from RCA Building. June 1954.

    Night view of Times Square area from Empire State Observation Deck. July 1954.

    Night view of Midtown Manhattan looking south from RCA Building. July 1954.

    The Empire State Building from RCA Building. July 1954.

    New York's first aluminium facade skyscraper: 25-story 99 Park Avenue Building (Emery Roth & Sons). September 1954.

    Night view of Midtown Manhatan looking west from Lincoln Tunnel approach. September 195. Photo: National Geographic.

    Lower Manhattan skyline from Empire State Building, looking south. October, 1954.

    The United Natons Headquarters. October 1954.

    Demolition work on the Rockefeller Center's Center Theatre. November 1954.

    A serie of photos of Midtown Manhattan from the Empire State Building. November 1954. View looking northwest showing old McGraw-Hill Building, the Navarre Building, and 1407 Broadway Building; Hudson River and Times-Square.

    View looking north: Sixth Avenue, Rockefeller Center, Central Park, Bryant Park, 500 Fifth Avenue Building, Fifth Avenue, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Madison and Park Avenues; Du-Mont Building, Newsweek Building, Lever House, the steel skeleton of the Colgate-Palmolive Buildin under constructon and the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. (Compare with the late picture in 1952)

    View looking northeast: Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York Central Building, Lincoln Building; the Lefcourt-Colonial Building, 22 East 40th Street Building, AMF Building, 100 Park Avenue Building, 99 Park Avenue Building; the Chanin Building, Chrysler Building and its new annex building; Daily News Building, Tudor City apartment buidings and UN Headquarters. The costruction site show under the Chrysler Annex Building is the Socony-Mobil Building under construction

    Next, the 99 and 460 Park Avenue Buildings.

    You opinion are very important. If you have some commentary or you want to show a some picture, show here.

  10. #130
    Forum Veteran Tectonic's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    New York City


    Nice shots, I'd love to see a photo of Citigroup Center under construction.
    30 Rock was a bit dirty back then.

  11. #131
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002


    Over the 40's and 50;s you can watch the slow death of the Singer Building in these photos. It is almost completely obscured from every angle - overshadowed by more muscular towers. Its not even pointed out in guides to Lower Manhattan in the 50's apparently.

    The new angular glass towers with big floor plates is the final nail in the coffin. I can see the developers thinking - who will miss this stubby toothpick tower? No one even remembers that its there!

  12. #132

    Default Manhattan 1950s

    1954-1955 Special:

    99 and 460 Park Avenue Buildings and Colgate-Palmolive Buildings.


    Hello!! Here again with our trip through the history of New York skyscrapers. We continue with the 1950s and in this 1954-1955 special, we will see the rise of city's first aluminum curtain wall skyscrapers: the 99 and 460 Park Avenue buildings and the Colgate-Palmolive Building, all of them designed by Emery Roth & Sons.

    In 1952, in Pittsburgh, the America's first aluminum skyscraper was open:the 33-story, whose designed by Harrison & Abramovitz. In the case of the buildings the 99 and 460 Parks Avenue, Emery Roth & Sons designed the facades of both skyscrapers inspired by the design of ALCOA Building, but they designed a system of prefabricated panels that allowed the assembly of the facade in a single journal of work.

    ALCOA Building. Pittsburgh. (Harrison & Abramovitz, 1952). Photo: R.M.B. Flickr. com:

    99 Park Avenue Building

    26-story 99 Park Avenue Building,located in the east of Park Avenue between East 39th and 40th Streets,Building 99 of Park Avenue, was New York first aluminum skyscraper. It was build between 1953 and 1954 and was designed by the Roths for the National Destilers Company.

    Robert M. Stern (1997) says about the 99 Park Avenue:

    “In 1952 Emery Roth & Sons drew plans for the National Distillers Building (1954), at 99 Park Avenue, a twenty-six-story, Thirty-ninth and Fortieth streets. The new building filled several long-vacant lots, including one on the northeast corner of Thirty-ninth Street that during the Depression had server as the temporary site of two exhibition houses: a Georgian-style house designed by Roger Bullard and Clifford Wendehack and an all-steel house designed by William Van Allen. The National Distillers Building also replaced several mid-nineteenth-century row houses, including one at 99 Park Avenue, on the southeast corner of Fortieth Street, which had been occupied by the Nurse’s Club” (Stern, Robert. A.M. Mellins, Thomas. Fishman, David. New York 1960. Architecture and urbanism between the Second World War and the Bicentennial. New York. The Monacelli Press. 1997. Page. 300).

    Georgian Style House on a 99 Park Avenue Building's future site. 1934.

    99 Park Avenue Building (Emery Roth & Sons. 1954).

    Stern continue:

    “The Roth’s design marked a significant achievement in technology: the prefabricated curtain wall, comprising 1,800 two-story-high panels, was the first in the city; and it was erected in a six-and-a-half working days, a remarkable feat compared with the eight weeks or more that a conventional masonry facade would have required. Although masonry was originally specified, the decision to switch to aluminum was made after plans were begun. The change was triggered by executives of Tishman Realty & Construction Company, the building’s developers, who had been impressed with the façade of the Aluminum Company of America’s Pittsburgh headquarters, designed by Harrison & Abramovitz (1953). Though the Roth’s window wall was ingeniously designed, it was not particularly handsome. A four-faceted pattern was introduced on each panel to provide strength and reduce glare. Lewis Mumford found some value in the ‘effective contrast of light and shade’ that resulted from the curtain wall’s faceted surface, but the cautioned against overuse of the material: ‘A whole avenue of aluminum walls would be dismal, and as grime overlaid the surface, it might likewise become dingy, too.’ Although Mumford felt that the ‘dour’ quality of unwashed metal might suit the grimy industrial atmosphere of Pittsburgh, he noted that ‘in New York, which has hitherto lifted a bright, almost feminine face to the sky, this material can be welcomed only as an occasional note of contrast’ (Stern. 1997. Pages 300-301).

    460 Park Avenue Building: Curtain Wall in one day

    In that same year, 22-story 460 Park Avenue Building, located in the corner the northwest of Park Avenue and 57th Street, also designed by Emery Roth & Sons and in the middle of 1954, was the second skyscraper in Manhattan whose facade was designed in aluminum, in the same way that the 99 Park Avenue Building. The assembly of the prefabricated facade was realised in a time record of fourteen hours, the June 21, 1954.

    Robert A.M. Stern (1997) says about 460 Park Avenue Building:

    “(…) the Davies Building (1952-1954), at 460 Park Avenue, on the northwest corner of Fifty-seventh Street, contributed little to the public’s appreciation of the new aesthetic. Kahn & Jacobs were initially selected to be the architects of this 264,000 -square-foot, twenty-two-story building, which was financed by the actress Marion Davies. But so powerful was the impact of Emery Roth & Sons’ aluminum curtain wall for 99 Park Avenue that sometime in 1953 the Kahn & Jacobs firm was replaced by the Roths, who clad the frame with a similar wall. The aluminum-paneled curtain wall was erected in fourteen hour on June 21, 1954. The twenty-three-foot-high, four-and-a-half-foot-wide panels, each with two windows in them, were bolted to steel brackets already affixed to the steel frame. Finished with a grayish tint, they were intended to be glare-free” (Stern. 1997. Page 334).

    The installation of 460 Park Avenue Building's curtain wall facade: June 21, 1954. Photos: Yale Joel. LIFE Magazine.





    The 460 Park Avenue Building (Davies Building, Emery Roth & Sons. 1954). Photo: Ezra Stoller, ESTO.

    Colgate-Palmolive Building.

    But the 25-story cream aluminum facade Colgate-Palmolive Building, in 300 Park Avenue between West 49th to 50th Streets, was complete, the first stage of Park Avenue metamorphosis were complete, a mean a transition between the first minimalism ziggurat skyscrapres tahat buildi in the Avenue since 1947, to the future tall glass towers to going to build here: when the Colgate-Palmolive was complete, construction works begun for the 38-story Seagram Building few blocks northeast.

    The design of the Colgate-Palmolive Building was consisted across of a skyscraper whose curtain wall cream aluminum facade and glass, reflects the elegant lines of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, in front.

    Robert A. M. Stern (1997) says about Colgate-Palmolive Building:

    “The most imposing of the avenue’s setback office buildings was 300 Park Avenue, the Colgate-Palmolive Building (1954-55), designed by Emery Roth & Sons for the Uris Brothers. Occupying the block-long site of the former Sherry’s Hotel (Warren & Wetmore, 1921), on the west side of the avenue between Forty-ninth and Fiftieth streets, and utilizing air rights leased from the New York Central Railroad, the 555,000-square-foot office building rose fourteen stories in a sheer cliff above Park Avenue before setting back to reach its ultimate height of twenty-five stories. Except for its red granite base, the Colgate-Palmolive Building was entirely sheathed in a curtain wall of aluminum and glass, with the spandrel panels painted a warm cream that complemented the buffs and yellows of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel across the street. Inside, the office space was conventional, but it attracted a number of important tenants, including Kaiser Aluminum –which retained Welton Becket & Associates to design a suite of offices that would take full advantage of aluminum –and Knoll Associates, manufacturers of high-style Modernist furniture, who set up showrooms there” (Stern. 1997. Page. 335).

    The Colgate-Palmolive Building on 300 Park Avenue (Emery Roth & Sons, 1955). Photo: Samuel Gottscho

    Next, a general panorama of 1955.

    You opinion are very important. If you have some commentary or you want to show a some picture, show here.

  13. #133

    Default Manhattan 1950s


    Hi!! we, continue our trip through the history of New York skyscrapers through 20th Century. Now we're in 1955. While America begun to dance Rock & Roll music and enjoy the economic prosperity, New York rises more, more, more skyscrapers. The Modernist metamorphosis were notorius in Midtown area. Since the completion of UN Secretariat Building, five years ago, Manhattan dont build any building over 30 stories or more, but, in 1955 the first 30 stories or more skyscrapers were buiilt. In this year the 45-stories aluminum curtain wall Socony-Mobil Building were under construction on Third Avenue, and plans for 38-story glass and bronce curtain wall Seagram Building were begun.

    In the same year, many modest heigh skyscrapers were completed; for example, the 25-story Colgate-Palmolive Building or 16-story US. Rubber Annex Building, in Rockefeller Center, build on the site of former Center-Roxy Theatre. Construction works were for 26-story Colliseum Building, in Columbus Circle.

    The construction of 45-story Socony Mobil Building and Chrysler Building Annex few years before, and the need of more office space stimulated the real state market on Third Avenue, this urban renewal plans were definitively consolidated with the demolition of the old Third Avenue Elevated Railroad (EL) in autum of 1955.

    While, the Rockefellers and real state developter, William Zeckendorf and Harrison & Abramovitz begun plans to expand the Rockefeller Center west of Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue).

    Now, a general panorama of 1955.

    Night view of Lower Manhattan looking north form Governors Island. March 1955.

    460 Park Avenue Building (Davies Building). May 1955. Photo: Ezra Stoller.

    Park Avenue looking south from 51st Street, showing the Colgate-Palmolive Building nearby completion. May 1955.

    The 1930 Downtown Athletic Club. May 1955.

    A worker walking on the steel frame during the construction of Socony-Mobil Building. June 1955.

    The Empire State Building looking southwest from Lincoln Building. June 1955.

    Night view of Lower Manhattan skyline looking west from Brooklyn Docks. July 1955.

    The Rockefeller Center from Plaza Hotel looking south. July 1955.

    Aerial view of Midtown Manhattan looking southwest from East River. August 1955. The skeleton of Socony-Mobil Building under construction were left of Chrysler Building. Photo: Skyview Aerial Surveys.

    Aerial view of Midtown Manhattan looking northwest showing Central Park. August 1955. Photo: Skyview Aerial Surveys.

    Aerial view of Midtown Manhattan looking west from East River. August 1955. Photo: Skyview Aerial Surveys.

    The Colgate-Palmolive Building. August 1955. Photo: Samuel H. Gottscho.

    The Rockefeller Center's Esso Building. September 1955.

    Aerial view of Midtown Manhattan looking south. October 1955. Compare with a 1951 aerial on Page 9.

    Aerial view of Rockefeller Center looking southwest. October 1955. Photo: Thomas Airviews. Compare this aerial with a 1947 aerial on Page 8.

    Midtown Manhattan looking northeast from Empire State Building. October 1955.

    Aerial view of Manhattan Island looking north. November 1955.

    Aerial view of Midtown Manhattan looking west from East River showing United Nations. November 1955.

    The Lever House looking northwest from Seagram Building site. December 1955. Photo: Ezra Stoller. ESTO.

    Now I take a holliday vacations and I'm back on January 4th, 2010 with a Rockefeller Center special about the demolition of Center (Roxy) Theatre and the US. Rubber Annex Building, the Socony-Mobil Building special, the NY. Colliseum Special and a general review of 1956.

    You opinion are very important. If you have some commentary or you want to show a some picture, show here.






  14. #134
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    The Daily News Building

    The Globe in the lobby of the New York Daily News Building in 1931.

    Daily News building in 1948

    Please permit us to close out our photo series with a nod to our own former home, the wonderful midtown building this newspaper lived in for some 65 years.

    Starting life in shabby rented quarters down on old Park Row in 1919, the Daily News by 1927 was the nation's biggest newspaper, fat and flush, entirely ready to move into the gleaming new tower that founding publisher Capt. Joseph Patterson intended to commission once he finished buying up and demolishing 48,000 square feet of residential properties between 41st and 42nd Sts. just off Second Ave. (It was said that Time magazine publisher Henry Luce, a sneering non-fan of 1920s-style tabloid newspapering, wondered aloud how such a rag as The News could possibly afford a $7 million building designed by such acclaimed architects as John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood and practically fainted when he was informed what kind of money the paper made.)

    Construction of the 36-story tower began in April 1929, and for all that year Midtown East was dramatically transformed day by day as the News Building climbed into the sky alongside its equally showy new neighbors the Chrysler and Chanin buildings, and it was finished by February 1930, save for the famous giant rotating globe in the lobby, which took a few more months to install. We resettled in other pastures in the mid-1990s, but our place is still there at the same old stand, a landmark now and one of the city's treasures.

  15. #135

    Default Manhattan 1950s

    1955 Special

    The Rockefeller Center

    Chappel 2. Part. 2.

    The Demolition of Center Theatre and the construction of U.S Rubber Annex Building.

    Hello!! After enjoying the Christmas and New Year Eve vacations, we initiated the 2010 with a trip through the history of the skyscrapers of New York, through Century XX. We continue in the 1950's, and followed with our visit in 1955 with the second part of the second chapter of the Rockefeller Center history, with the demolition of the Center Theatre, to make way to U.S. Rubber Annex Building.

    As it were mentioned in the first chapter, the Center Theatre was the Rockefeller Center's building that to be completed, in spring 1932. Since these year until its demolition, in fall 1954, the Center Theatre was operated in the shade of legendary Radio City Music Hall.

    Thus, for more than twenty years of history, the Center Theatre was used with several intentions: like theater, movie theater and radio studios, and in 1950 were use for TV studios forNBC, that finally preferred the amplest studies in the RCA Building, carefully designed for that use since 1933.

    Death's sentence against the Center Theatre was dictated in 1953. The reason: the intentions of the U.S Rubber Company to build a new 19-story addition to its main building, in the Sixth Avenue.

    According to Alan Balfour (1978) speaks:

    “G.S. Eysell, who had been brought in to save to Music Hall in 1933 and had since risen to the position of president of the Center Corporation, made the decision to demolish the Center Theatre in 1952 and was supported by the president of the board, Laurance Spelman Rockefeller. Knowing the U.S. Rubber Company, mayor tenant of the tower building adjoining the Theater, was keen to expand, Eysell approached the company with the proposal to replace the theater with commercial space. The announcement was made in the summer of 1953, and the theater was demolished in 1954. It has disappeared without trace” (Balfour, Alan. Rockefeller Center. Architecture as Theater. New York. McGraw-Hill. 1978. Page. 98).

    The demolition of Center Theatre, behind U.S. Rubber Building. November 1954. Photo: Life Magazine.

    The U.S. Rubber Annex Building were designed by Harrison & Abramovitz and build in 1955 and it was inaugurated in December of that same year.

    Aerial view of Rockefeller Center in October 1955, with the new addition for the U.S Rubber Building. Photo: Thomas Airviews.

    Next: The 1955-1956 Special: The Socony-Mobil Building.

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