Beautiful New York

A Celebration of the City

The Top 100 Greatest NYC Buildings — #76

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Architect: C.B.J. Snyder
Style: Renaissance Revival
Use: Education
Opened: 1903
Borough: Manhattan

Originally the home of DeWitt Clinton High School, and later Haaren High School, this splendid main campus hall on Tenth Avenue has only been part of John Jay since 1988. Today, it houses classrooms and offices for the institution, as well as the main library, theatre, and gymnasium. In some quarters, the institution is called “John Jay College of Criminal Knowledge”.

The Top 100 Greatest NYC Buildings — #77

City Center

Architect: Harry P. Knowles
Style: Moorish
Use: Theatre
Opened: 1922
Borough: Manhattan

Once a Shriners’ temple, this decadent tiled confection is a performing arts center that hosts the annual Christmas season tradition of Alvin Ailey’s Revelations and the widely beloved Encores! concert series of Broadway musicals. The Manhattan Theatre Club also made its home here before the reopening of what is now the Friedman Theatre on 47th Street.

The Top 100 Greatest NYC Buildings — #78

Park East Synagogue

Architect: Schneider & Herter
Style: Moorish
Use: House of Worship
Opened: 1890
Borough: Manhattan

Over the doorway of this home for Congregation Zichron Ephraim reads the Hebrew inscription, “Enter into His gates with Thanksgiving and into His courts with praise.” How appropriate for this asymmetrical extravaganza of Upper East Side Orthodoxy.

The Top 100 Greatest NYC Buildings — #79

45 East 66th Street

Architect: Harde & Short
Style: Gothic Revival
Use: Residential
Opened: 1908
Borough: Manhattan

This magnificent French Gothic façade has been a NYC landmark since 1977, when the tenants victoriously led a rent strike against a landlord who sought to alter its beautiful terra cotta accoutrements after replacing the interior incandescent lighting with fluorescents. However, not all such uprisings were equally successful. In 2015, tenant Rudy Giuliani led a panel objecting to the addition of a small penthouse atop the building, which was approved as it is completely invisible from nearly every street-level vantage point.

It Happened Today in New York City

03-23-duerOn March 23, 1792, failed speculator William Duer, who had plunged the new nation’s economy to the brink of depression, was arrested and sent to debtor’s prison, where he remained for the rest of his life. The financial panic was the first of its kind for the city of New York, in that it was brought about by speculation, and resulted in a loss of over 3-million dollars, an astronomical sum at the time.


James Connolly03-22-cooper-union-a

Congratulations to Daniyel for getting the correct answer first!


03-21-cooper-union-qWhat leader of Ireland’s Easter Rising gave a speech at Cooper Union called “Our American Mission” in 1902?

The Top 100 Greatest NYC Buildings — #80

Tabernacle of Prayer for All People

Architect: John Eberson
Style: Renaissance Revival
Use: Theatre
Opened: 1929
Borough: Queens

One of the great movie palaces (or Loew’s “Wonder Theatres” as they were known) of the 1920’s, the former Valencia Theatre has – like so many of its cousins – been converted and repurposed as a church. Unlike many others, its gorgeous Spanish and Persian-style interiors remain intact. Experiencing the incredible atmosphere of this palatial gem may be well worth sitting through a Sunday sermon.

The Top 100 Greatest NYC Buildings — #81

387 St. Paul’s Avenue

Architect: Hugo Kafka
Style: Queen Anne
Use: Residential
Opened: 1888
Borough: Staten Island

This stunning and whimsical Victorian manse was built in what is now the Stapleton Heights Historic District (designated in 2004) by brewery baron George Becthel as a wedding gift for his daughter Anna. Known as the Weiderer House – after Anna’s husband, a Stapleton glass manufacturer – the house has become known as a comfortable home as well as an architectural staple of the neighborhood. Since its opening, only five families have lived in the coveted property.

The Top 100 Greatest NYC Buildings — #82

Knickerbocker Hotel

Architect: Marvin & Davis
Style: Renaissance Revival
Use: Hotel
Opened: 1906
Borough: Manhattan

With its lovely mansard roof and high culture residents, such as Enrico Caruso and George M. Cohan, the Knickerbocker Hotel was the center of high society in the early 20th century. Known as “the 42nd Street Country Club”, the hotel bar was said to be the birthplace of the Martini and was hurt so badly by Prohibition that the hotel was converted into office spaces. Landmarked in 1980, it reopened as a hotel once again in 2015.