Beautiful New York

A Celebration of the City

The Top 100 Greatest NYC Buildings — #26

Rockefeller Center

Architect: Raymond Hood, Associated Architects
Style: Art Deco
Use: Various
Opened: 1932-1939
Borough: Manhattan

Declared by the AIA “the greatest urban complex of the 20th century”, this midtown masterpiece is admittedly a complex, not a single building. But it is also perfectly designed for the interdependence of many of the grandest buildings of the city to relate to each other, with architectural contributions from Edward Durrell, Donald Deskey, Harrison & Abromovitz, and Emery Roth, among others. But it was Hood’s master plan that provides us with the elegant glide of 30 Rock and its unsurpassed observation deck. Other highlights include Paul Manship’s glorious statue of Prometheus, the legendary skating rink, and Radio City Music Hall’s irreplaceable lobby, featuring the greatest Art Deco interiors ever designed.


The Top 100 Greatest NYC Buildings — #27

Metropolitan Opera

Architect: Wallace K. Harrison
Style: Modern
Use: Theatre
Opened: 1966
Borough: Manhattan

The focal point of the magnificent modern performing arts complex of Lincoln Center, the largest opera house in the world could accommodate a 45-story building which, laid on its side, would stretch from the back of the stage to the back of the house. The grand staircase in the lobby is designed according to nautical construction and the Austrian crystal chandeliers are a delight right before showtime. But it’s the grand arches that front the façade that make this theatre unmistakable, especially at night when the Chagall murals are seen to their best effect.

The Top 100 Greatest NYC Buildings — #28

AIG Building

Architect: Clinton & Russell and Holton & George
Style: Art Deco
Use: Offices
Opened: 1932
Borough: Manhattan

This jagged javelin of Art Deco verticality is the 10th tallest building in NYC and the 24th tallest in the U.S. though, unlike several of its neighbors, it has never held the world title. Though it opened as the Cities Service Building and now simply goes by its address, 70 Pine Street, the current generation will always remember it for the 40 years it spent as headquarters for the American International Group before the economic crisis of 2009. For a time, AIG was a tenant in the building it once owned but, today, much of it has been converted into luxury residential rentals.

The Top 100 Greatest NYC Buildings — #29

Polo Ralph Lauren Store

Architect: Kimball & Thompson
Style: French Revival
Use: Retail
Opened: 1898
Borough: Manhattan

This Upper East Side chateau was commissioned by, and built as a home for, Gertrude Rhinelander Waldo, who never moved into it. Converted for shops in 1921 when it was occupied by an antiques firm, it has since provided commercial space for Christie’s Auction House and Zabar’s Food Purveyors. In 1983, Ralph Lauren moved in and made it his flagship store, spurring on Madison Avenue’s reputation as a rival to Fifth Avenue for elegant shopping.


The Quakers

Congratulations to Patrick Casey for getting the correct answer first!


Considered a precursor to the provision for freedom of religion in the Bill of Rights, the Flushing Remonstrance sought to lift the ban on worship for what religious group?

Quotable NYC

“One belongs to New York instantly.  One belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” — Thomas Wolfe


Happy 100th Birthday to the late, great Jacob Lawrence! Born in Atlantic City, Lawrence came to Harlem and studied art at the age of 16 during the height of the Renaissance. He would go on to depict dynamic cubist representations of African-American life and became a star of the art world with his 60-panel Migration Series. In 1941, at only 24 years of age, he became the first African-American painter to be represented in the permanent collection of MoMA. Today, his work can also be seen at the Whitney Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But New Yorkers and tourists alike need not enter any such institution to see Lawrence’s mastery. His great mural, New York in Transit, is installed in the Times Square subway station. It was his last commissioned public work before his death in 2000 at the age of 82.

Quotable NYC

“That is one of the things I loved best about Brooklyn.  Everyone is not expected to be exactly like everyone else.” — Carson McCullers

It Happened Today in New York City

On September 15, 1917, Forbes magazine began publication. The brainchild of Scottish columnist Bertie Charles Forbes, the magazine began with the mission of covering “the human side of business” and featured extensive profiles on such leading financial figures as Jay Gould, John D. Rockefeller, and Charles E. Mitchell. With its revolutionary “Women in Business” column, the magazine remained on the cutting edge of readers’ interests and is now famous for its business lists such as the Forbes 400.