tv [untitled] May 6, 2012 2:00pm-2:30pm EDT
when you're at the clock in the middle of the concourse you are exactly at park avenue and 43rd street. brilliant planning. by the way, to get you down to the trains, the concourse is one level below the streets, ramps which makes it handicap accessible today. they were thinking about luggage but it's a brilliant plan. reid and stem the architects they did a brilliant job. and when you look at the concourse, no matter how you go into this concourse, no matter how you tenor it, it always looks perfect. why? this concourse, in spite of the fact you see the middle of this high tech transportation complex, a piece of new york being redeveloped in about 20 years, the heart of this development, this concourse, is a neo classical double cube, it's the same proportioning as the banqueting house by jones in london from 1620. you go to london, everyone's lined up for big ben.
forget big ben. it's only a clock. a few blocks away the banqueting house. exquisite. nobody is in there. you have the whole place to yourself. it's a beautiful space. it's a double cube. but the neo classical architects felt was the perfect interior proportions for a great room. that is also true, by the way, of grand central's concourse as well. also, the corners which you think are dead space, they are office buildings, and they are connected to each other by glass sidewalks that run through the windows. so years ago before 9/11 everything was left open. you could go up there and open a door and go running back and forth in the windows. it was kind of futuristic. i grew up with captain video. i always felt very captain video-ish. by the way, all that stonework that you think is very fancy
french stone, here is an old 1980s view of the concourse. what a mess. remember the kodak sign? remember they blacked out the easton windows. not any more. well, all that french stone, no. that's plasterboard from 1913, the steel work goes through it. goes to the top. you think that's a stone barrel vault, no. it's hung from the true roof of the concourse which is this. this is your steel framing, and below it, the curved floor is actually the roof of the concourse. and you notice the netting. because back before the recent renovation, the constellations on the ceiling were lit up by light bulbs as you can see, they are littered all over the place. the only way you can change the light bulbs was from these boardwalks that run throughout that ceiling area. and the workers had to reach out
with a bulb changer because if you stepped onto what you think is the floor, it's only an inch of plaster, you go through it right down to the floor which is about 150, 130 feet below. the reason they put the netting, many a new maintenance worker at grand central didn't know that and would go to step off the boardwalk and get grabbed. luckily. so they put in the netting to make sure nobody walked on that inch of plaster. by the way, let me see if i can go back. the constellations are backwards, it was a mistake. they realized it a few months after they opened. can you imagine you realize the constellations are backwards. what did they do, hire add pr person and he or she came up with a brilliant idea, this is not backwards, this is the constellations according to medieval manuscripts so we're seeing it from god's point of view, not man's point of view.
and this is what i like about yanks. you know. i mean, what we do wrong we can find a pr way out of it. so brilliant concourse and really one of the great rooms interior spaces of new york. which brings up the subject that this period gave us some of the grandest interior face spaces of the city, grand central's concourse on the left, the reading room on the right. the great hall on the lower right, and what is now gone, pennsylvania station's waiting room. these great interior spaces really we haven't had them since. if they ever build santiago transit center, if they build it, it will probably be the great interior space really since this era. the art deco gave us corporate spaces. but we never had grand spaces like this after the bozar era. it was an amazing era. but grand central is not just a transportation complex, the entire train yard, that's 42nd street below. vanderbilt avenue is here, lexington is there, we're
looking north toward the top, all of that train yard was covered over. william wile gus could never imagine in 1903 by the late 1920s grand central would be the nexus of a new corporate headquarters district t new wall street what they called east 42nd street in the late 1920s but they fit in beautifully to william wilgus's 1903 layout. grand central acts as a low rise light court for the huge skyscrapers around it. the five-story office building was ripped out in the 1960s for the pan am building now met life. the idea was to rip out this building and build a second met life so you would have two met life buildings going up and that would be quite beautiful. so that was what the fight was over. and of course the new york central, what was left of the
new york central lost, and the landmarks commission won which is why we have grand central to this day. there was a beautiful redo of this a few years ago. this is not just transportation complex. all of park avenue was redeveloped. the smoky trains are gone, they are underground, a beautiful linear park is laid over them by the 1910s and '20s. luxury apartment houses rise on park avenue and a whole new luxury apartment house district all the way to 97th street is redeveloped. and here is a 1920s view of park avenue and the original linear park that was built in the middle of park avenue. there are -- now there are cars, but there's only two little roadways on both sides. this was a beautiful linear park, so you know you're around 50s street. look at the brick work, the
lawns, the benches. beautiful. well, beautiful doesn't count for much in new york. it lasted 10 years, they ripped it out to have more room for cars. if we look south, 230 park avenue, originally built for the new york central headquarters, then known as the helmsley building. a building, it is set back matched the park avenue buildings. look at this. it straddles the park avenue highway. it straddles the highway. it's futuristic. it's amazing. how many buildings do you know have a highway running through the bottom of them. and this was completed in 1929, by the way, all these buildings except this one came down by the 1950s for corporate headquarters, you all know park avenue is one of the best corporate addresses there is. however, all of the buildings from grand central to the waldorf around 50th street you go into them, thousands of people go in them every day, you go up an escalator to get to the elevator and of course you have to because there is no basement.
all buildings, elevators need an entire floor under them for the machinery. these have no basement. there is a train yard. how do you know there is a train yard? you have expansion joints in the roadways and in the sidewalks. because you're not on terra firma. you're on a concrete deck over the railroad yard. so all of these people are going up escalators to get to the elevator and kind of inefficient but you have to do that because you're on the air rights over a railroad yard. really is a brilliant idea. and, of course by the 1920s, it becomes the center of a skyscraper district. here is 230 park and there is the waldorf, gives you an idea of the extent of the railroad yard, basically from lex to madison from about 46th street or so all the way up to 50th. really is an amazing idea, very american. the way we took neo classicism from the renaissance and adopted it to the 20th century t same is
true of the skyscraper. here is the flat iron building in 1903, it was not the first and not the tallest. everybody says that but it's not. but, it was beautiful and everybody loved to photograph it. you're looking of course we see this all the time, steel framed skyscrapers but stop and think what is the technology. basically, back in the 1890s when they were introduced, they were explained as a railroad bridge on its end. how else do you explain this. most people were afraid of this thing and as a matter of fact, you might think we were all loving it, i mean, we love innovation, we're new york, we're americans but actually this looked scary. the poor guy who had this building was not too happy. he couldn't rent it out, couldn't sell it. nobody wanted to be in it. they figured it's going to topple over onto it. now, you notice the curtain wall construction, once you build a building with a steel frame you don't need a bearing wall.
the exterior is nothing but a skin. the original steel frame buildings of the 1880s, early 90s t skin had to hold itself up. but that is a lot of weight when you get up to 20, 30 stories. so, by the middle of the 1890s they came wake-up curtain wall construction. which means every level, you notice at the very top on the right you can see the steel framing. every level the exterior skin or facade is hung from the steel frame like curtains from a curtain rod. once it's finished all of those curtains meld together and you think you have a solid building. a lot of people think it's all granite. no, it's terra cotta skin. you can see the curtain wall is being applied to the flat iron right in the middle of the building with nothing under it because it doesn't need anything. it's being hung from the upper level of the steel horizontal framing like a curtain from a
curtain rod. the question is how do you deal with this new kind of high rise building? one of the first high rise districts besides wall street was the media center of the city, park row. by the way, park row went through an amazing history, here we see, and i showed you this in the last semester on the upper left, park row in 1765 with the brick presbyterian church. st. paul's is just to the right of it. now, in the middle slide, brick presbyterian is gone and that's "the new york times" building, brand new in the 1850s and that has become printing house square, the media center of the united states. fast forward to the 1880s and 90s with the coming of the elevator, the new york times knocks its building down, this is the second new york times
building. today it's pace university. it's there but part of pace. next to it is the tribune. with the clock tower ripped out in the 1960s for pace. and here is the world building, the pulitzer prize, it too was famous with its gold dome destroyed in the 1960s for a change between the brooklyn bridge and the fdr drive. these are elevator buildings but they have bearing walls. the steel frame skyscraper comes along and boy, we have a different scale. immediately there is st. paul's, the church. across the street in the 1890s the st. paul building. looks a little like it doesn't know what it wants to do. that's what it was like in the early days of the skyscraper. in 1899 the park row building goes up. the tallest in the world, not tallest structure. that is the eiffel tower, it's 1,000 feet. but the eiffel tower is only metal skeleton. the only thing you have up there is a restaurant and we know the french are skinny and eat skinny
food so not much to support but this is a real office building. and you've got to have floor slabs, offices, furniture, people. you had to bear a lot of weight. go straight up, still there today, by the way. you can see it from old pictures from the brooklyn bridge. you see this climbing up there and dominating the sky line. age 99, tallest building in the world, today known for j and r, the digital place. i always call it the j and r building. i'm not sure they say that. everybody immediately gets it. now, this is not new york. it cannot be. the only way you can take a photograph like this is go out of town or you're going to get killed by a taxi or bicyclist. this is i think salt lake city. a friend of mine took this many years ago. how did the designers treat skyscraper? the exterior skin. about the exterior skin, the curtain wall, was divided into base, shaft and capital. narrow base, long shaft, narrow cap ital.
a three-story base, a long middle section known as the shaft, and a decorated capital. mid sentry laughed, thought it was a joke. post modernists brought back this idea and basically this is how we deal with skyscrapers today. why? because it really does answer the relationship of the sky scrape tear the rest of the city. at the lower level the multistoried base t decorative base gives you a streetscape. and the top is a skyline feature we can tell the building from miles away. this works beautifully here in new york, lower broadway, 1 broadway, 21 broadway. built over the course of 25 years. different developers, different architects, different buildings but they follow the base shaft formula so there is a three-story base on each building that relates to the city that is around it. i always say that people walking around new york never look up.
these days they don't even look forward, they look into their phones but they don't look up. you could have an elephant on the fourth floor, nobody would notice. you could have a family development. nobody would notice. you decorate the building where it relates to the pedestrian. keep the midsection simple so it doesn't get overwhelming. and then the top of the building we're going to go across the street, 26 broadway, the standard oil headquarters from 1921 to 1933. when they built it, look what they did as a capital i love it, so american. it's standard oil, what else would you put on top. the europeans would put some well designed roof.
not us. we took a giant roman oil lamp and stuck it on top of the building, no different than if campbell's soup put a soup can on top. it's the same thing, it's so american. it was an advertisement for standard oil. you can't get better. and remember, people, in those days a lot of people entered new york by ship so. the first thing you saw was the statue of liberty on the left and the standard oil, oil lamp at the top on the right. you would say that is the rockefeller building. we had to be the country that produced andy warhol. you put a roman light on top. you make this pop art thing on top of the building long before pop art existed. it's the way americans think. why have a big building if you can't use it as a bill board. the skyscraper kept on moving. chicago stopped at 20 stories but we kept on going. this is broad street toward wall street about 1905. look how high the buildings have gone. just to show you here is an
aerial view from about 1905 with all of the skyscrapers hugging wall street and broad way. up until the 1960s, downtown new york had the same configuration, all of the skyscrapers were clustered in the middle of the island. there is bowling green, there is 11 broadway. one broadway is half built and 21 will come in the future. this is battery park, there is the l train system running through lower manhattan. since demolished. the low rise areas to the right, the south street area from the 19th century absolutely intact until 1968, when the city sent in bull dozers and ripped out the entire 19th century district, and they only stopped because after huge fight they had with the reservationist. all this got ripped out in 1968. the washington market on the left was intact until the late 1960s, ripped out for the world trade center and all of the
renewal projects on that side of town. a cheap date in the late 1950s was to keep the girls to the market. it was 1:00 in the morning. everybody was buying, selling. we used to walk around after a cheap meal in the village, you would go down to the washington market and you would have a great time. it was a wonderful city. you know, you were right in the shadows of the people who made all of their money off of the blue color work going on. you saw where your money was coming from. there was a connection with where your money was coming from you don't have today when you don't even know the corporation you're investing in. look at the cartoons from the early 19 tens. new york is going to go up and up so. one day in the future besides elevated highways and trains going up the streets, over the street bridges at the 40th floor. if you are a secretary and
working in this building and you have a friend on the other side of the street why do you have to go down to the street. go across, go all the way out. you notice in 1911, they knew the future was in the sky, but they thought it was all going to be air ships, blimps, zeppelins. i don't know if you can read this. one is going to europe, one to the panama canal, one is going to japan and one is going to the north pole. i don't know what they are going for except to see santa claus. and, skyscraper is relentless. here is a post-civil war view. there is the building from 1870. in 1995, up goes 100 broadway. the building is now called the 100 broadway. dick price did a beautiful job, dominates the skyline but only for a moment. in 1912 equitable burns and replace it with -- here is 100 broadway now dwarfed.
there is 120, this is a recent view of the building, it's still there today. and a humongous building, goes straight up. there is no zoning in new york of those days. this is like the wild west. this is my property, i'll do with it what i want. if you don't like it i'll shoot you. so the building goes straight up 32 stories, has almost as much office space. you notice it follows the idea of baychef capital. do you see fantasia from 1940 t hippos in tutus. it's a humongous building trying to pretend. new yorkers, they were not impressed. they were annoyed. there was a huge fight. in new york everything is a fight.
they passed a zoning code that included seat back zoning for skyscrapers so this would never happen again. what did they base the new code on? by the way you know where the building is today. here it is. a wonderful backdrop. neo classical backdrop to the severe minimalism. 140 broadway, the orange cube. we don't notice 120 broadway. remember when the world trade center was built so out of scale and within 10, 15 years you hardly noticed it. well, the 1916 zoning code based on these. the singer building at broadway and liberty, the woolworth by city hall park. here is the singer on the right, the base built in the 1890s. by earnest flagg. a beautiful job. i remember this building. i used to go into this building
when i would wander around new york. you needed a bathroom, you walked into an office and pressed the elevator button and find a bathroom. i remember i came into midtown, we went into an office building to the cafeteria at lunch. when they asked we said we're glad is' kids so we got free lunch. we thought we were the cat's meow. a beautiful building, of course that tower was so skinny it never made much money. the cross bracing took so much space. here is the lobby of the singer building. some of you may remember it. a beautiful lobby with terra cotta domes. they were electrically lit. there is the broadway entrance, it had a two story high shopping mall. really was a beautiful building
but it consistent make much money, it had to come down in the 1960s. what went up by the way, was one liberty plaza. this is the building that replaced the singer building. you notice it goes straight up. you can't do that in 1968. so the developer of one liberty had to buy the block below it, tear it down, put in a plaza. nobody used it except the workers at lunch and that was it. about 10, 15 years ago they put a statue of a sitting business man, every tourist has to take a picture of that. but nobody else bothered with what i called one liberty plaza. it was kind of nowhere. a few years ago they renamed it for one of the real estate figures. he used to be the planning commissioner. i thought he deserves an honor but i don't know to have his name as part of a place nobody knows, will ever know where it
exists. his name was john zuccati. that building of course replacing the singer, further uptown, broad way by city hall park. the building of the woolworth building, i love this. this was roy suskin has taken me up to the top. i got to the top of the building, there is a three-story balcony that is -- that's all there. you walk out. there is a three-foot, three story building. it's three feet wide and it's up to your waist and that's it. you look down and it's 800 feet to broad way. i'm trying to crawl back in trying to figure out how to get out of there. >> he's amazing. he was brought up in a sling up the side of the building to check the terra cotta. just telling me that i almost keeled over.
the guy is fearless. this was a brilliant building, still is, is the template for the 1920s, it gave the planning commission the idea for the 1916 setback zoning code which produced the 1920s building on the left. you know, i do have to explain these days you know that wool worth's was a 99 cent store. the 5 and 10 cent store. this was its world headquarters, it was paid for by f.w. woolworth out of his pocket. there was no corporation behind the corporation. no poisonous mortgage. he paid for it out of his pocket. they decided to set the building back because it was going up to 800 feet. they did, they set it back to a narrow tower which was encoded in the code in 1961. it's the first, instead of trying to tamper it down. again looking forward to the art deco of the 1920s, it's a city within a building. it's not just an office building.
tourists flock in to go to the public observation deck. two story shopping mall. everybody coming in for shopping. people came in for the restaurant, luxury restaurant for an in-house meal. in-house business meal, business drink, and in 1913 a health club. you think that's a big thing today. the health club is still there, it's closed up but it's still there. the pool is about the size of this stage. you could do about three laps in it but it's still there. and by the way, it also had a beautiful connection to the subway, the broadway subway, the n, the r, i'm not sure. here it is from the sign. again an early photograph. that's broadway. there's the st. paul's building, there is the park row building. there is the municipal building, new in 1915. the old civil war era post office. >> that's to be destroyed before
they built it but that's the way it was. you can't even see city hall this thing was so humongous. you can see the tweet court house. there is the brooklyn bridge terminal. and by the way you see the woolworth building has a bustle. it actually has a bustle. it's like duck wings, there is a light court between the duck wings. the light comes down through a skylight and lights up a two-story shopping mall so. the shopping mall, the tourists getting to the subway, go into the restaurant, into the gym, all of that was accessed by this magnificent two-story high lined mosaic tiled roof, lobby, that is not just the lobby. think of it as the town square of a vertical city been the building. and everybody, tourist, business person, workout person, someone
going to the restaurant, somebody going to the shopping maul. you notice the shopping ball is sky lit. and if you go in the lobby which is not so easy these days since 9/11. you will notice there are balconies. you could rent the space off those. that was your own private space and you and your corporate guests could overlook the woolworth lobby like over looking a town piazza. it really is a wonderful space during the day to see people coming and going. by the way, again this is all a stage set, this is steel framing like pennsylvania station's waiting room. but the workmanship is pure 1913 including the tile ceiling which is probably done by italian workers right off the boat who had not heard the english word union. so they were paid nothing and
they created this amazing mosaic tiled ceiling, rip it down and you can't do this. you cannot reproduce. so it's an amazing building. but again, it's the pragmatic design of the building. here is the shock i got off the internet. this is a beautiful photograph. i have to thank him. he'll probably sue me. notice the skylight. originally lit by sun light. now it's back lit. this was a bank quiet. it could have been shots. down on the main floor. that's more my photography there on the left. your shock fronts, that could be shocks as well. under the stair, a beautiful stair taking you down to the restaurant. the gym and the entrance to the bmt subway which is not there. all of it lit by a detailed -- a