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Thread: New York City Books

  1. #61

    Default New York City Books

    I have 1 about Book Derek Jeter, 1 New York Yankees book, Joe Torre and Tom Verducci The Yankees 2 books about New York City. I will buy and get other books about New York City as Christmas gifts and birthday gifts starting aorund Christmas vacation 2009.

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    anybody know when a new AIA guide to nyc will be coming out? i think the last was in 2000.

    and while i'm at it, are any of the older versions of the AIA guides any better or worse than the 2000 version? just wondering if anyone can comment on the differences/similarities of the editions over time. thx.

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    Quote Originally Posted by meesalikeu View Post
    anybody know when a new AIA guide to nyc will be coming out? i think the last was in 2000.
    Spring 2010. See this post.

    and while i'm at it, are any of the older versions of the AIA guides any better or worse than the 2000 version? just wondering if anyone can comment on the differences/similarities of the editions over time. thx.
    I also have the 1968 and 1988 editions (there was also a 1978 edition).

    The format of the 2000 edition is more user-friendly and easier to read in my opinion. The location maps are much better and there are a lot more of them.

    There isn't much difference between the 1968 and 1988 editions except that there are many more entries in the 1988 edition, of course.

    The photos in the 1968/1988 editions are positioned within the building entry text and are mostly larger than the 2000 edition. The format of the 2000 edition has the photos mostly in the left/right margins and they are therefore much smaller. There are some larger photos within the building entry text. The photos differ from one edition to the next.

    The symbols used to indicate architectural style are located in the (narrower) left/right margins in the 1968/1988 editions and at the beginning of and within each building entry in the 2000 edition.

    As per the article in the above link, the 1988 edition contains a Necrology section, missing in the 2000 edition, which they plan to reintroduce in the new edition.

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    wow, thee perfect reply -- thx so much merry!

    i always look at it in the bookstore, but oddly enough i have never bought one. guess i'll hold on for spring 2010.

  5. #65

    Default New York City Books

    The Rough Guide To New York City

  6. #66

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    http://www.amazon.com/New-York-Novel.../dp/0385521383

    New York - Edward Rutherford.

    I havent read it but I plan to soon. Im currently reading the authors book 'London' and Im really enjoying it. His books take you through time following different families through the city's history. Its a great premise and he writes it very well. I also have his book Russka to read which is the same concept.

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    Quote Originally Posted by meesalikeu View Post
    wow, thee perfect reply -- thx so much merry!

    i always look at it in the bookstore, but oddly enough i have never bought one. guess i'll hold on for spring 2010.
    Glad it was useful, meesalikeu. I forgot to mention that, based on a cursory look at each, apart from the odd word or sentence, the text doesn't differ much between the 1988 and 2000 editions.

    From the article:

    Virtually every entry is being rewritten.
    So, I guess we may get a completely new take on things with input from Francis Leadon and his students. I'm glad I have the 2000 edition just for comparison, and to look back at the original, often very amusing, "damn with faint praise" approach.

    Some old buildings are being dropped in favor of more interesting and important newcomers...
    Well, if they dispense with any of my favourites, I'll still have the 2000 edition .

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    New book depicts New York City's efforts to shelter the Great Depression homeless

    New York City in the Great Depression: Sheltering the Homeless

    During a time when fear of a second Great Depression lingers in the minds of America’s people, it is important to remember what was done over 80 years ago. Following the stock market crash of 1929, the rising unemployment rate and widespread depression made it necessary for the city of New York to provide more commodious quarters for the city's homeless.

    In a new book by Arcadia Publishing, local author Dorothy Laager Miller uses vintage photographs to present the faces of New York citizens dealing with poverty, unemployment and homelessness during one of the worst economic times in recent history.

    Highlights of New York City in the Great Depression: Sheltering the Homeless:

    • Features over 200 vintage photographs from the archives of Joseph A. Mannix, the New-York Historical Society and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum
    • Showcases the Municipal Lodging House and its annexes in Manhattan, the farm colony at Camp LaGuardia and the rehabilitation center at Hart Island
    • Includes images of the famous Great Depression breadlines, Tammany Hall, the city's immigrants and tenement housing
    • Spotlights Mayor Jimmy Walker, Gov. Al Smith and other pivotal city leaders


    Dorothy Laager Miller has worked as a teacher on Long Island for 30 years and is a member of the Three Village Historical Society. She began researching New York City’s Great Depression after the discovery of her grandfather’s archive of photographs documenting the Municipal Lodging House, where he was the superintendent.

    http://www.prlog.org/10339686-new-bo...-homeless.html

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    New York Books to Look for this Fall

    Greg Mortimer

    Posted: September 17, 2009 11:27 AM

    The five boroughs have never been lacking in their own body of literature, and so far 2009 (the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's voyage) has given us several books worth celebrating. Among many are E.L. Doctorow's Homer and Langley (Random House, $26) about the infamously reclusive Collyer brothers and their Fifth Avenue mansion; Colum McCann's acclaimed Let the Great World Spin (Random House, $25), a kaleidescope of New Yorkers' lives during the tumultuous summer of 1974; and Bronx zoologist Eric Sanderson's Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City (Abrams, $40) which traces the ecological evolution of the island with an astonishing array of charts, maps, drawings, and photos.

    But we still have a few months until the holidays. Here are some of the books that should be on the radars of New Yorkers this fall:

    Chronic City: A Novel

    October 13th / Doubleday, $27.95



    Some early reviews are in for Chronic City, the latest from Motherless Brooklyn author Jonathan Lethem. The Daily Beast calls it "realistic and fantastic, serious and funny, warm and clear-eyed." Publishers Weekly deems it "a luxuriously stylized paean to Gotham City's great fountain of culture that is drying up." Bookforum was more skeptical, saying that "for all the sprightliness and wit, it's too good-humored to attain real satiric bite." No matter -- Chronic City will give readers a vision of Manhattan that's as ambitious as its author.

    Appetite City: A Culinary History of New York
    October 13th / North Point Press, $30



    It's hard to imagine a time when New York wasn't the capital of great food, but then again, it's also hard to imagine what it was like before the diverse culinary explosions of the last couple of decades, when celebrated establishments like Tavern on the Green, Lutece, and Delmonico's seemed to outshine everything else. Former New York Times restaurant critic William Grimes dishes up a historical tour of New York's ever-evolving culinary culture, from the days of "the boisterous beef-and-beans joints" to the Automat and beyond, complete with over a hundred photos and rare menus. With early blurbs from Jacques Pepin, Bobby Flay, and Mark Kurlansky (among others), Appetite City will undoubtedly whet the appetite of true-blue New York foodies.

    Mapping New York
    October 20th / Black Dog, $49.95



    Manhattan map-o-philes, rejoice. If you're like me and wouldn't mind poring over an atlas all day, this book is for you. Mapping New York will be a lavishly-produced book, not unlike its successor from two years ago, Mapping London, and it'll remind readers just how simultaneously mammoth and intricate the city really is -- and how it continues to grow. Here you'll find maps from New Amsterdam to the present day, but the cartographic focus is on the 20th and 21st centuries, arranged thematically from commerce, water, transportation, military, and crime.

    Only in New York: An Exploration of the World's Most Fascinating, Frustrating and Irrepressible City
    by Sam Roberts, with an introduction by Pete Hamill
    October 27th / St. Martin's, $23.99



    Roberts, urban correspondent for The New York Times, collects 40 of his "Only in New York" podcasts into a book that's "street-smart, informative and occasionally hilarious" (Publishers Weekly). This is a punchy panorama of the city: Among his many stories, Roberts explains the reasons behind the Manhattan baby boom, the gender gap and proliferation of testosterone below 14th street, the city's pooper-scooper law, and Jimmy Breslin's and Norman Mailer's 1969 political quest to see the five boroughs secede from the rest of the state.

    New York: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd
    November 10th / Doubleday, $30



    Rutherfurd is known for his sweeping, geographically-focused, brick-width sagas (Russka, The Princes of Ireland, London), and his new novel New York is no exception, clocking in at 880 pages and promising to traverse every genre as it chronicles the history of the city, with cameos by George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, J.P. Morgan, Babe Ruth, and others. If you were a fan of Pete Hamill's Forever, Kevin Baker's Paradise Alley, or Dennis Lehane's The Given Day, you'll want to check this one out.

    Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places by Sharon Zukin
    December 18th / Oxford University Press, $27.95



    Brooklyn College and CUNY sociologist Zukin shows us New York's transformation (i.e., gentrification) since the early 90's in Naked City, whose subtitle echoes Jane Jacobs' seminal work from 1962, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Indeed, this sounds like a valuable follow-up to that book, though in addition to looking at what gives neighborhoods like Harlem, Union Square, Williamsburg, Red Hook, and the East Village "a sense of place," Zukin argues that a civilian-driven craving for an authentic urban experience -- galleries, high-end food stores, quirky ethnic restaurants, the antiquity of buildings, among others -- is the very engine behind the city's trend towards localized homogeneity.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-m...tml?view=print

  10. #70

    Default Read Something About "Manhatta" Yesterday

    I think the "Manhatta" book was also featured in a recent issue of "National Geographic".
    I'm not sure what the date of the mag was, or even if it is the same author since it was read in a doctor's office and discarded as soon as my name was called. (...I thought about stealing it so I could finish the article, but it was gone when I came out of his office...).
    The article is cool. There were a dozen interesting photos (and computer renderings) of Manhattan Island "on the day before the Dutch first landed", being compared to the same locations today.
    One graphic was was a beautiful 3-page foldout of aboriginal New York on one side and a contemporary map on the other.

    The author had done reverse-engineering on Manhattan, based on old English & Dutch maps from the 1600s, then he worked towards the past by identifying topographic features from them and determining what used to grow wild there.
    Then he made digilital maps and renderings of what it must have looked like v. what is there now. The illustrations look like photos. The maps look like paintings.

    New York was a dense forest, littered with ponds and well-sliced up by little streams.
    Did you know that Times Square was once an oak and cedar swamp? Broadway and 7th was the source for a small creek that wound down to the Hudson...
    And the City Hall/ Financial District had at least 5 ponds and lakes that were filled in in the 1700s to make geography for the growing City?

    I'll have to make another Doctor's appointment and go back and get it...

  11. #71

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    ^ Hof, I steal journals from my doctors' offices all the time.

    A recent one revealed that Woodrow Wilson was having micro-strokes the whole time he was negotiating the Treaty of Versailles.

    The article suggested that consequently his diseased mind set up the conditions for the Third Reich.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hof View Post
    (...I thought about stealing it so I could finish the article, but it was gone when I came out of his office...).

    I'll have to make another Doctor's appointment and go back and get it...
    No immediate sudden illness/theft required :

    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/20.../miller-text/1

    For those who haven't seen the Mannahatta thread.

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    Coming Soon: Updated Version of Legendary AIA New York Guide

    September 23, 2009

    By C.J. Hughes



    Today in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, 20 people aimed cameras at a three-story row house, snapped photos, and cheered. Part of the reason for their excitement may have been that the building was once the home of Jane Jacobs, the writer and activist. More likely, though, is that the picture-taking session marked the official end of the lengthy research phase for the fifth edition of the AIA Guide to New York City, the wryly written block-by-block directory of landmarks that’s become an essential reference for architects, planners, and developers, as well as residents.

    About half of the new book, which is due in April from Oxford University Press, features content from earlier editions, most of which were written by architects Norval White and the late Elliot Willensky. A third contributor, Fran Leadon, AIA, a teacher at the City University of New York, joined the effort this go-around, roaming the five boroughs’ sidewalks over an 18-month period to research and photograph a good percentage of the book’s 9,000 buildings. Many of his former students also contributed to the new guide.

    “It’s fantastic that it’s come to a close,” Leadon said during today’s event, attended by various contributors. “I’m so happy.”

    The guide was first printed in 1968, with updated versions released in 1978, 1988, and 2000. A key reason for refreshing the book now is that since its last printing in 2000, an epic construction boom has transformed New York, adding scores of office towers, condos, and parks, Leadon said.



    Today’s photo shoot of Jane Jacobs’ house marked the conclusion of research for the fifth edition of the AIA Guide to New York City, due out in April.

    These get their due in the latest edition, as do burgeoning neighborhoods like Gansevoort Market, also known as the meatpacking district. Plus, the book will now feature “necrology” items about gone-but-not-forgotten buildings, similar to those that appeared in the third edition. Morever, the book’s 6,000 photos, which are being whittled down from a stack of 41,000, are larger on average than previously.

    But, at 1,100 pages, the book is expected to be only slightly longer than the 1,056-page version released in 2000, which may explain the layout’s more compact font and smaller margins.

    Although the new “AIA Guide” will predictably rhapsodize about, say, Grand Central Terminal, it also honors less-monumental places, like Jane Jacobs’ old home, which debuts in this edition, because overall the book is a celebration of neighborhoods, Leadon says. Similarly mentioned is Downtown Auto and Tire, a repair shop ringed by barbed wire at Great Jones Street and the Bowery, which is noted for its dying-breed status.

    “The world is changing,” said owner Saeed Choudry today, gesturing to a gleaming hotel across the street. “There are no empty old lots left.”

    http://archrecord.construction.com/n...a_ny_guide.asp

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    40,000 Photos Later…

    By Fran Leadon, AIA


    (Left): Fran Leadon, AIA, last winter in Midtown, with student Adrian Hayes and New York Times writer Constance Rosenblum. (Right): AIA Guide Research Assistants, December 2008. (L-R): Adrian Hayes, Amanda Chen, Christopher Drobny, Katja Dubinsky, Calista Ho, Marina Ovtchinnikova.

    This week we completed the photography for the upcoming fifth edition of the AIA Guide to New York City (Oxford University Press, 2010), with help from 22 student assistants from the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture at City College. Our combined efforts over the past year have yielded well over 40,000 new photos of more than 6,000 buildings and parks from the northern tip of the Bronx to the southern end of Staten Island.

    We began with a group of four undergraduate architecture students (Calista Ho, Katja Dubinsky, Amanda Chen, and Marina Ovtchinnikova) and three Master of Landscape Architecture students (Jon Fouskaris, Christopher Drobny, and Adrian Hayes), and tackled Midtown, the Upper West and Upper East Sides during the fall 2008 semester. The photos students began to bring back to class were extraordinary. Years of design studios had trained their eyes to analyze and question. They didn’t simply drive by and shoot the buildings; they really studied them. Beautiful details emerged: courtyards, faded signs, lanterns, cornices, pediments, friezes.
    Their work was extremely time-consuming and dependent on good light and weather.

    Jon, Amanda, and Christopher continued their work into the spring semester, joined by two undergraduates, Glenn DeRoche and Douglas Moreno, and two Master of Architecture students, Bradley Kaye and Jason Prunty. Together we photographed the remainder of Manhattan (the Villages, the Lower East Side, Harlem, Upper Manhattan). Shooting photos in the winter months proved to be arduous. There were fewer good hours of light, and last winter’s temperatures were brutal (I almost got frostbite trying to shoot Yorkville one frigid week in January). As Manhattan neared completion, I redeployed three students (Bradley, Amanda, and Jon) to Brooklyn, and wonderful shots of Park Slope, Gerritsen Beach, Coney Island, and Sunset Park were added to our photo database.

    By May we had finished all of Manhattan, and an enthusiastic group of undergraduate architecture students (Andrea Barley, Cinthia Cedeno, Mary Doumas, William Eng, Jaimee Gee, Tiffany Liu, Adrian Lopez, Ross Pechenyy, and Billy Schaefer) joined Jon for a summer ramble through the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island, cameras in hand. Their work was painstaking. The students would make multiple visits to sites to get exactly the right shot, waiting for the light and shadows to cooperate. Frequently they were told to stop photographing by a homeowner or security guard (a constant, vexing problem).

    As research assistants, the students weren’t acting only as photographers. We asked them to take notes on each place they visited, as we rewrote, updated, and added to the new edition’s text. It would not have been possible for us to complete the new edition in just one year without the help of our students. To commemorate their work over the last year, we will simultaneously snap one last “ceremonial” photo on September 23 at 11:00 AM. The building I have chosen was not included in the last edition of the Guide, but is a humble landmark and deserving of our undivided attention: Jane Jacobs’ house at 555 Hudson Street in Greenwich Village. I hope that AIA members and e-Oculus readers will come out to witness our “last photo.”

    Down Under

    By Fran Leadon, AIA


    (L-R): Gair Building No. 5; Eskimo Pie Building; and 135 Plymouth Street in DUMBO.

    Early in the morning on August 11th I visited the neighborhood known as Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass (OK, fine, let’s just call it DUMBO) to shoot some photos for the upcoming fifth edition of the AIA Guide to New York City (Oxford University Press, 2010), which I am completing with Norval White, FAIA. For those who experienced DUMBO in those long-forgotten days of the 20th century, a visit today can be a bit of a shock. Back then, circa 1994, the place was deserted. Most neighborhood activity seemed to revolve around the now demolished Between the Bridges bar on York Street and within Rudolph Daus’s 1901 former tin can factory at 135 Plymouth Street. That beautiful Romanesque pile, with monumental brick arches, was headquarters for a carting company that noisily compacted garbage on the ground floor. (I am somewhat happy to report this aromatic activity is still taking place there; the neighborhood hasn’t completely given itself over to cappuccinos and Jacques Torres chocolates.) After a series of shootings in front of 135 Plymouth in the early 1990s a police cruiser was positioned there 24 hours a day. That’s when I first visited DUMBO; a classmate of mine had a sculpture studio in the building. I had trouble sleeping.

    Had I fallen asleep then, in 1994, and slept for 15 years and woken up last Tuesday, I would have thought I was in the middle of a film set for some happy, romantic comedy. Cafés? Restaurants? Children? Playgrounds? Bookstores? Pet stores (”all dog sweaters on sale this week only”)? Where am I? I still get a profound feeling of amnesia no matter how often I go to DUMBO. There are actual people streaming to and from the previously deserted and terrifying York Street station! (One indication of how quickly DUMBO has changed is the fact that the last edition of the Guide, in 2000, barely mentions it, and then only as an aside within the Fulton Ferry section of the book.)

    The Landmarks Commission designated DUMBO a historic district in 2007, and there are many notable industrial buildings in the neighborhood in addition to 135 Plymouth. The former Grand Union Tea Company on Jay Street (between Front and Water Streets) was designed and built in phases from 1896 to 1907 by Edward N. Stone, and features an intact mosaic in the floor at the Jay Street entrance. Louis E. Jallade designed the onetime Eskimo Pie Building, originally the Thomson Meter Company, at 100 Bridge Street (between York and Tillman Streets) in 1908. Its beautifully arched façade has glazed terra-cotta decoration and was possibly inspired by Auguste Perret’s 25 bis rue Franklin in Paris. The Gair buildings, all seven of them, are extraordinary early (1888-1908) reinforced-concrete lofts erected by Robert Gair, a pioneering entrepreneur in the corrugated box industry. The Gair buildings form a solid mass that defines much of DUMBO and makes it feel as if the neighborhood’s cobble-stoned streets are spaces carved from a single piece of stone. Recent buildings by Scarano Architects, Gruzen Samton, and CetraRuddy tower above the bridges and don’t fit in as well as the older industrial buildings. Lately, we’ve been calling the area RAMBO (Rising Above the Manhattan Bridge Overpass).

    The High Line is Real

    By Fran Leadon, AIA


    The High Line

    On July 9 I went for a stroll on the High Line, from West 16th Street to Gansevoort Street. It was crowded on a sunny Thursday afternoon, and the people seemed to be divided into two groups: those who lounged casually about, reading or chatting as if the High Line had always been there, and those who seemed, like me, to be in a daze with dumbfounded expressions thinking, “I’m on the High Line. I’m actually on the High Line.” The long-awaited linear park has finally come to pass.

    In preparing the new edition of the AIA Guide to New York City (Oxford University Press, 2010), Norval White, FAIA, and I have eagerly anticipated the completion of new projects (Atelier Jean Nouvel and Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners’ 100 Eleventh Avenue, Morphosis Architects’ Arthur Nerken School of Engineering at Cooper Union), but perhaps none so much as the High Line. I remember first seeing the High Line in the early 1990s when I was a student at the Yale School of Architecture. Back then, both the High Line and the area around it seemed like one of Anton Furst’s stage sets from the 1989 “Batman” movie. Far West Chelsea, circa 1992, was in a kind of suspended industrial time warp: beautiful and romantic but also decaying and crime-ridden. Exploring beautiful relics like the High Line was risky. Intrepid friends would scale the elevated railroad track and report that it was sublime, covered by wildflowers, but I was too cautious to try it.

    The thing the High Line always had going for it was its strength. Designed to accept the weight of two freight trains, it was highly unlikely to fall down on its own. Thankfully, the sturdy structure stayed where it was, snaking in and out of old factories and warehouses from Gansevoort Street up to 34th Street. Abandoned in 1980, photographers, artists, and urban adventurers attracted to the beautiful desolation began describing it as a 1.45-mile-long elevated meadow, and visions of a linear park began to form in earnest during the 1990s. A community group, Friends of the High Line, ultimately saved the winding trestle through ceaseless lobbying and fundraising.

    When the first plans for a High Line park were unveiled, I was, admittedly, a little nervous. I feared the master plan left too little of the actual trestle. The further the design by James Corner of Field Operations with Diller Scofidio + Renfro was refined, the more cautiously optimistic I became, and as I hiked around Gansevoort Market and Chelsea during the past year, shooting photos of the High Line in construction for the Guide, the more I liked what I was seeing. As a linear park, the new High Line is meticulously thoughtful, perhaps even a bit over-designed. Many of the original rails were preserved and re-presented as artifacts, and native plant species have been arranged in beds with considerable care. The trail bed is a series of interlocking concrete strips that seem to grow and dissolve as needed, occasionally curving upward to form a bench. There are wooden lounge chairs that roll on tracks, and a plunging amphitheater where the High Line briefly widens at 17th Street.

    It’s all extremely well done, but the surprising thing is that the wonder of the High Line isn’t in the design work. It’s seeing a familiar landscape (Chelsea) from a new vantage point, above, beside, and through the neighboring buildings. It remains to be seen how the delicate details will endure trampling by millions of human feet. The High Line, inevitably worn and frayed by continuous use, may find its most natural and profound beauty 10 or 20 years from now.

    How It Began

    By Norval White, FAIA


    Convention edition cover (left); notes on the second edition for the third.

    In the Fall of 1965, the AIANY Chapter, preparing for AIA’s 100th anniversary in 1967, called for proposals for a guidebook to NYC. Elliot Willensky, FAIA, and I were figuratively waiting at the doorstep, having talked of such a guide since we first met in the office of Lathrop Douglass in June 1955. We were commissioned to prepare a prototype sample that would serve to show advertisers how they could participate, front and center, at the convention. Chapter PR consultant Andrew Weil sold 80 ads that paid for out-of-pocket expenses, a secretary, photo processing, a graphic designer, mechanicals (pre-digital), and the printing of 10,000 copies given to every convention attendee. We were effectively, in the name of the Chapter, the publishers.

    For that convention edition (and its duplicate trade edition, complete with ads that MacMillan found too expensive to remove) Elliot and I acted as authors of parts, editors of the whole. John Morris Dixon, FAIA, had a major role, covering much of Midtown Manhattan, Lincoln Square, and Grand Army Plaza/Prospect Park. Richard Dattner, FAIA, wrote Upper Manhattan; Roger Feinstein, Harlem and the Bronx; Mina Hamilton, Staten Island; Greenwich Village, Ann Douglas; Central Park, Henry Hope Reed and Sophia Duckworth. The balance was split between Elliot and me. But a horde of supporters in all editions added detail that none of us could have produced alone. Since 1966, when research on the first version of the Guide began, innumerable individuals have contributed information, ideas, comments, corrections, and considerable moral support.

    Previous editions and reprintings have recognized their contributions in the acknowledgments. This fifth edition is a linear descendant of the original, self-published version feverishly prepared over a nine-month period for the 1967 AIA convention in NYC. Because its approach profoundly influenced subsequent updates of the Guide, it seems appropriate to credit once again those who helped the authors to set the first edition’s tone: writers John Morris Dixon, FAIA, Ann Douglass, Mina Hamilton, Roger Feinstein, Henry Hope Reed, Jr., Sophia Duckworth, and Richard Dattner, FAIA.

    The second edition by MacMillan, and the third with Harcourt Brace were jointly rewritten and expanded by Elliot and myself, again with an expanded legion, upwards of 180 supporters, who contributed anything from a correction of punctuation to a suggestion for a new entry.

    The 4th edition, with Crown, I did alone, as Elliot had tragically died at an early age in 1990. Elliot had been not only a friend and colleague for 45 years, but had served New York as a public servant — first as Deputy Administrator of Parks and Recreation under Mayor Lindsay; then, at the time of his death, both Borough Historian of Brooklyn and Vice Chairman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

    The fifth edition by White & Willensky and Fran Leadon, AIA, will appear Spring/Summer 2010 with Oxford University Press.

    The City in Transition: The Bowery

    By Fran Leadon, AIA


    (L-R): Bowery Poetry Club, New Museum, Fruit Stand at Bowery and Grand.

    On Sunday, May 10, I set out to photograph the Bowery for the upcoming fifth edition of the AIA Guide to New York City (Oxford University Press, 2010). I had just re-read Low Life, Luc Sante’s 1991 social history of 19th-century Manhattan and was curious to walk the Bowery’s length, from Chatham Square in Chinatown north to Cooper Square, and see what had changed since the Guide’s last edition in 2000. I knew that the infamous old McGurk’s Suicide Hall had been torn down in favor of a new project by Arquitectonica, but I was curious to see what else was still there from the old days, and what was being built that was new and interesting.

    De Bouwerie had originally been an Indian trail, then a bucolic lane winding through the farms, but it had become virtually synonymous with skid row by the 1850s, mythologized in comics and dime novels (and later in films) as a seedy district of flop houses, brothels, vaudeville theaters, and pawn shops. Today, little of the old skid row Bowery remains. The southern end of the Bowery is mostly discount jewelry outlets, Chinese jitneys (Fung Wah Bus at 139 Canal), and electronics stores. I passed a vacant lot at the corner of Hester Street, where the Music Palace Theater, reportedly designed by McKim, Mead & White, was recently demolished. Known in its later years as the Chuan Kung Theater, it was the last of the neighborhood’s Chinese language cinemas. Covered with sheet metal and murals, who knew a McKim, Mead & White building lurked underneath?

    The Lighting District starts as the Bowery crosses Grand Street, and the Restaurant Supply District begins in earnest just north of Kenmare Street (Chairs! Tables! Stools! Dishes! Pots! Pans!). Colorful, wordy signs are the main feature here, but there are some architectural treasures as well, notably two landmark banks: Stanford White’s 1895 Bowery Savings Bank, just north of Grand, and Robert Maynicke’s 1898 Germania Bank, at Spring Street.

    I began noticing more and more hipsters as I walked north, and new modern buildings began appearing in quick succession: Keith Strand’s skinny condo at 195 Bowery, SANAA’s stacked mesh New Museum, and the shiny glass boxes of Arquitectonica’s Avalon development on both sides of East Houston Street. In the midst of all the new glass and steel, I noticed the Bowery Mission, at 227, still soldiering on, helping the homeless since 1879.
    Just to the east of Bowery and East 1st Street, surrounded by the Avalon development, I peeked into Extra Place, a notorious little alley, formerly cobble-stoned and garbage-strewn, now paved and cleaned up (but still empty). Extra Place is just outside the back door of what used to be CBGB’s, at 315 Bowery. That renowned club closed in 2006, and while the building is still there the energy is not. Across the street is the Bouwerie Lane Theatre in Henry Engelbert’s old Bond Street Savings Bank at 330 Bowery. (Much recent building behind the theater on Bond Street, but that is another story.)

    Further north at East 3rd Street is the fritted-glass and steel Cooper Square Hotel, swelling at its middle, by Carlos Zapata, and finally the buildings of Cooper Union, including the main 1859 building by Frederick A. Peterson facing Cooper Square, and an exciting new building behind it by Morphosis, all peeling steel scrims, just nearing completion. At Cooper Square the Bowery disappears, splitting into Third and Fourth Avenues, so I caught the IRT at the Astor Place station, crowned by Rolf Ohlhausen, FAIA’s replica cast-iron kiosk.

    Photographing the City

    By Fran Leadon, AIA


    (L-R): Charles McKim’s University Club on Fifth Avenue at West 54th Street; Hong Kong Bank Building, Canal Street; Giorgio Cavaglieri’s Engine Co. 59, Ladder Co. 30, West 133rd Street; Former Forward Building, East Broadway.

    Since last September my students and I have walked virtually every street in Manhattan. We’ve snapped 25,000 photos, visited just about every construction site in the city, poured over hundreds of architect’s websites, searched planning documents, and read miles of real estate blogs. It’s a huge project: we’re photographing new buildings and re-photographing old ones for the new AIA Guide to New York City, all 1,100 pages of it, one borough at a time.

    Author Norval White, FAIA, (his original co-author Elliot Willensky, FAIA, died in 1990) needed someone to walk hundreds of miles of city streets, re-photograph everything from the fourth edition (Three Rivers Press, 2000), note significant changes (a favorite old café that’s gone under or a brownstone that’s bitten the dust), and to look through the peepholes at new construction sites and figure out what’s being built and if it’s notable enough for inclusion in the new Guide, which will be published by Oxford University Press in 2010.

    When White enlisted me as co-author, I knew that I would need a lot of help if we had a chance of meeting our publication deadline. It was his idea that I would lead a squadron of my eager students from the City College of New York School of Architecture, Urban Design, and Landscape Architecture, fan out across the city, and (photographically speaking) wrestle Manhattan to the ground. I realized this was an opportunity to not only get the Guide done on time, but a unique new way to teach a class “in the field.” I hoped our perceptions of the city would change, as a succession of façades, gardens, streets, squares, statues, sidewalk clocks, signs, and people took up residence in our memories.

    When I arrived for the first day of the fall semester, I discovered that the administration had, because of space constraints, given our classroom away to a seminar in construction technology. With no place to meet, I saw no reason why we couldn’t move our base of operations to the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. The Shack, designed by James Wines, was ideally suited as a place to launch our assault on the city. It provided everything a modern classroom requires: benches, trees, wireless Internet connection (so we could “skype” White and upload photos to our database), new coin-operated public toilets, and delicious hamburgers.

    My students soon discovered this was a ton of work, time-consuming, physically tiring, rewarding but often frustrating: a doorman gets territorial (”no photos, no photos!”), a moving van blocks the perfect shot, the sun doesn’t cooperate. But the 14 students who toughed it out have been stellar, conquering Midtown (over 800 buildings!), the Upper West Side, and the Upper East Side last fall, and Harlem, the Lower East Side, Chinatown, and the Village this spring. 25,000 photos later, we are scheduled to finish shooting Manhattan by May 1. The students have also been instrumental in reporting from the field, noting additions and demolitions, and more subtle changes (for example, a façade described as white stucco in the fourth edition has been painted bright yellow: ouch!)

    I am constantly amazed at the quality of my student’s photos. Included here is a preview, in color, of a few of the best of my student’s shots from the new Guide.

    The City in Transition: Gansevoort Market

    By Fran Leadon, AIA


    Matthew Baird’s 829 Greenwich Street (left); Junya Ishigami’s Yamamoto boutique (right).

    New York City has gone through tremendous changes since the last edition of the AIA Guide in 2000. The upcoming fifth edition (Oxford University Press, 2010) will reveal a city in transition: the aftermath of September 11, the Boom, the Bust, and the emergence of neighborhoods (Gansevoort Market, West Chelsea, DUMBO) that were barely even mentioned in the fourth edition.

    The Guide’s fourth edition dedicated only one short paragraph to Gansevoort Market; it wasn’t really a neighborhood. In 2000, it was still very much the city’s gritty meat market, punctuated here and there by a hipster bar or a design studio. It was a world populated by butchers in blood-soaked smocks taking cigarette breaks on loading docks. The rusty, abandoned High Line snaked overhead. It was, according to the fourth edition, “busy, chaotic, earthy from before sunrise well into the day…empty, eerie, scary at night.”

    For the fifth edition we have created an entire section devoted to Gansevoort, joining parts of the Village and Chelsea, and using the High Line as a thread that links the new neighborhood to the emergent enclave of West Chelsea. We are trying to describe Gansevoort at this particular moment of transition, when supermodels and butchers occupy the same space, side by side. Here are some excerpts from the upcoming edition:

    Gansevoort Market, also known locally as the Meatpacking District, lies roughly between Ninth Avenue and the Hudson River, from Gansevoort Street north to 14th. From these wholesale meat markets came the beef for many of Manhattan’s restaurants and institutions. The cobblestone streets remain, but no longer run as deeply with the blood of sectioned livestock, although you may still encounter cattle carcasses hanging out to dry. Gentrification has been happening for at least a decade here, but the conversion of the High Line to a linear park promises to preserve its melancholy vistas while connecting the area to West Chelsea and spurring even more development.

    829 Greenwich Street (house), bet. Horatio and Gansevoort Sts. 2005. Matthew Baird.

    A small but uncompromising exercise in weight and weightlessness from the modernist Baird. Impossible to miss is the forty-foot high rusted steel “billboard” bolted to the facade. A funny take on privacy: the residents can peek out, barely. Don’t feel bad for them, though: the entire back of the building, not visible from the street, is glass. Baird’s billboard, emphasizing the vertical, works surprisingly well with Morris Adjmi’s horizontally-obsessed building next door at 40 Gansevoort.

    Yamamoto (clothing boutique), 1 Gansevoort St. at crossing of W.13th & Hudson Sts. 2008. Junya Ishigami.

    A drastic, but ingenious, approach to the adaptive re-use of old buildings. Japanese architect Ishigami has performed invasive but beautiful surgery on an existing brick shed, removing layers of green paint, punching big openings in the façade, and last but not least, slicing the building into two parts. One half is now a light-filled showroom and the other half provides storage and office space. The showroom gleams like a lantern at night, and comes to a razor-sharp point where Gansevoort and West 13th meet.

    Writing the New AIA Guide

    By Fran Leadon, AIA


    Leadon and White on Bleecker Street, January 30, 2000 (left); 40 Gansevoort Street (right).

    The first edition of the AIA Guide to New York City was published on the occasion of the AIA’s annual convention, held in New York in 1967. That original version of the Guide, a slim 464 pages, was “feverishly prepared” by Norval White, FAIA, and Elliot Willensky, FAIA, and a team of contributors, including John Morris Dixon, FAIA, Ann Douglas, Mina Hamilton, Roger Feinstein, Henry Hope Reed, Jr., Sophia Duckworth, and Richard Dattner, FAIA. The Guide was all original field work: the team divided up the neighborhoods, hiked the streets, did the research, snapped the photos (thousands of them), and wrote the descriptions (”smart, vivid, funny, and opinionated,” according to the New York Times). It was true research and eyewitness reporting, covering all five boroughs, one church, school, row house, park, restaurant, and statue at a time.

    For the second (1978) and third (1988) editions the collaboration continued between White and Willensky. White might write about Greenwich Village while Willensky wrote about Sheepshead Bay, and then they would swap for the following edition, revisiting each other’s territory and rewriting each other’s text. Willensky passed away in 1990, and the fourth edition (2000) was completed solo by White. My involvement in the Guide’s upcoming fifth edition (Oxford University Press, 2010) offered a chance for White to re-establish a true collaborative writing process, but a new mechanism for that collaboration had to be discovered, since White now lives in France and I live in Brooklyn. Sending a 1,200 page Word document back and forth was out of the question. Then, last summer, we discovered Google Docs.
    The beauty of Google Docs is that our text resides on the Internet, where both of us can access it simultaneously. If one of us finds an interesting building we hadn’t noticed before, we post an initial description and then wait for the other to rewrite it. Many of the descriptions in the new Guide have been written equally by both of us, and rewritten so many times I can no longer tell which parts I wrote. Here are some examples from the new Guide in progress:

    40 Gansevoort Street, SE corner of Greenwich Street. 2006. Morris Adjmi.

    Gansevoort Market boasts unique vernacular architecture: block buildings with loading docks, canopies pendant over the sidewalk: their steel joists and translucent vinyl panels cabled to the facade. Here Adjmi, a disciple of the late, great Italian architect Aldo Rossi, attempts new canopies, using the same vocabulary.


    Bar 89 (restaurant), 89 Mercer Street, between Spring and Broome Sts. 1995. Ogawa/Depardon.

    89’s two stories of crisp steel and glass reveal a double height dining space (a mezzanine in the far corner). The skylight overhead, a parabola, washes the space with natural light, the curve of the bar repeating the trigonometry above.


    Constructing the AIA Guide to New York City

    By Fran Leadon, AIA


    Leadon’s dog-eared copy of the fourth edition of the AIA Guide to NYC, showing the many changes to the SoHo section (left). Leadon used a newspaper stand as a temporary desk while tracking down new construction sites in Tribeca (right).

    Last spring Norval White, FAIA, asked me to co-author a new version of the AIA Guide to New York City. The fifth edition, the first new edition since 2000, will be published in 2010 by Oxford University Press. White, now living on a hilltop in the south of France, needed someone with time and energy to do the groundwork in New York. Every café, newsstand, cornice, mural, and stoop mentioned in the Guide would have to be re-visited, re-photographed, and reappraised, I told him I would be happy and honored to do it.

    I remember first seeing the Guide when I was a graduate student at the Yale School of Architecture in the early 1990s. It was intimidating in its girth and weight, a book you couldn’t possibly read in less than five years, ridiculously ambitious in its scope. It included not only the physical facts of the built environment (the cupolas, pediments, gables, and mullions), but people and stories, too: the rivalries between long-dead architects, the unsuccessful fight for Penn Station, the hubris of Stanford White, the East Village tenement where the outlaw Butch Cassidy lived, the Upper East Side tenement where the Marx Brothers were born. What started in 1967 as a thin volume for an AIA convention, the Guide, tall and narrow, roughly brick-shaped, theoretically pocket-sized, has gradually become an epic poem.

    Each edition has become both thicker and more astute in its appraisal of the city. The Guide explains things in layers. It tells the tale of just about every significant building on every block in each of the five boroughs: who designed it, when they designed it, why they designed it, in which style and with what materials, what was there before it, what is planned there in the immediate future, and what might have been ill-advisedly planned there at some point in the past, but (”happily” White would say) ended up as a future that never happened. Buildings, architects, and clients are generally treated by the Guide with the analytical respect of an archeologist as much as the razor edge of a critic. The writing, reduced to a prose more spare than Hemingway, is terse. “Prune and distill,” White tells me.

    My involvement in the new edition represented an opportunity for White to re-establish a collaborative process with a co-author (founding co-author Elliot Willensky, FAIA, passed away in 1990 and the fourth edition was completed solo by White). One tradition of the Guide has been that it’s all eyewitness reporting: either White or Willensky personally visited and photographed each site. So I go out each day with a list of sites, camera in hand and good walking shoes on my feet. I check to see if the building is still there, jot down any alterations (additions, renovations, demolitions), and then upload the photos to our database. We’re completely re-writing the existing text and adding descriptions of significant new construction. One of us writes a new description, and the other re-writes it, back and forth.

    In the coming year, I’ll offer a monthly preview of the new Guide in progress leading up to its publication in 2010, including excerpts from a revised SoHo section, a new Gansevoort Market section, and an expanded Brooklyn section.

    http://www.aiany.org/eOCULUS/newsletter/?cat=30

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