Seasonal Events | Fall Museum Exhibits

New York City’s art scene is nothing short of exciting. So exciting, in fact, that it may seem overwhelming to consider all of the exhibits and art shows that the city’s museums jam pack into one short season. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most interesting and unique not-to-be-missed events on display this month, featuring works by celebrated figures and emerging artists alike.

1. Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry

Jewish Museum
Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street, Uptown
Through September 24th

Image Courtesy Jewish Museum

Florine Stettheimer (1871-1944), one of New York’s most elite and artistic avant-gardes, comes back to life at this exhibit, organized by the Jewish Museum. Featuring over fifty paintings and drawings, a selection of costume and theater designs, photographs and more, the exhibit not only reveals the exciting and influential life of Stettheimer, but her continued existence through today’s artistic practices as well.

2. Willa Nasatir

Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort Street, Meatpacking District
Through October 1st

Image Courtesy Whitney Museum

The MoMA celebrates emerging artist Willa Nasatir with her unique body of work, a collection of both new and earlier pieces. Nasatir garners inspiration for her specially crafted photographs from the ever-changing streets of New York and those individuals who occupy them. Her dramatic design tactics result in truly one-of-a-kind pieces that cause the audience to reflect upon unresolved narratives. Don’t miss this exciting exhibit!

3. Eloise at the Museum

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West, Upper West Side
Through October 9th

Image Courtesy The New Yorker

Everyone’s favorite Plaza Hotel resident is back at this charming show at the New-York Historical Society. Kay Thompson’s unforgettable Eloise comes to life through original art works, manuscripts, vintage dolls and even a hotel emergency kit. Skipperdee and Weenie, Eloise’s turtle and pig (respectively) will be in attendance as well.

4. Projects 107: Lone Wolf Recital Corps

The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd Street, Midtown
Through October 9th

Image Courtesy MoMA

This recital is the official revival of the Lone Wolf Recital Corps – the first exhibition since the death of the multidisciplinary performance collective’s founder, Terry Adkins, in 2014. The performance includes a selection of Adkins’ sculptures, performance props and documentary videos of former recitals, plus live work by the artists and musicians of the Corps.

5. Derrick Adams: Patrick Kelly, The Journey

Countee Cullen Library
104 West 136th Street, Uptown
Through October 20th

Image Courtesy Studio Museum

This exhibit is the result of Derrick Adams’ extensive research into the influential Patrick Kelly, an African-American politically-charged fashion designer who died tragically from AIDS in 1990. Adams reworks Kelly’s major themes, like reclaimed racist Americana imagery, into his grand exhibit. Dubbed “joyously subversive” by The New Yorker, this exhibit is not one to miss!

 

 

Secrets of the Parks

1. The High Line Cowboys

Image Courtesy Friends of the High Line
Image Courtesy Friends of the High Line

Have you ever wondered why exactly everybody’s favorite elevated park is just that – elevated? As it turns out, The High Line occupies a site with a not-so-tidy history. In 1851, the West Side railroad line was introduced to accommodate and fuel the city’s booming economy. The train line, however, was built at street level on 10th Avenue, meaning that the safety of the well-populated neighborhood was very much at risk. According to the Bowery Boys, in 1905 the Evening World claimed that the trains were responsible for the death of one victim per week, earning the avenue the fond nickname Death Avenue. 

The city’s short-term solution for the dilemma? Cowboys, of sorts. They introduced railroad men who would gallop ahead of the train on horseback, signaling its arrival with trumpets, Paul Revere-style. Their efforts weren’t enough, however, and so the West Side Elevated Highway was introduced in 1934. For almost fifty years, the tracks served trains and boxcars traveling up and down the West Side, until their abandonment in 1980.

2. Washington Square Staircase

Image Courtesy Gothamist
Image Courtesy Gothamist

Inside the western half of the Washington Square Arch is a spiral staircase. Climbing this would bring one up to the structure’s rooftop and offer views stretching the length of Fifth Avenue. Sadly, the general public isn’t privy to this staircase.

The Arch’s flat roof and prime views, however, are the perfect spot for a party, and a lock and a rule weren’t enough to stop artists Gertrude Dick, Marcel Duchamp, and John Sloan from inviting themselves upstairs. On a winter night in 1917, the group now known as “The Arch Conspirators” was feeling rebellious, and the men were itching to call their beloved Washington Square an independent republic. Atop the Arch, they drank tea around a fire, flew balloons and lanterns, and shot off cap pistols into the air.

3. Central Park’s Near-Miss

Image Courtesy Atlas Obscura
Image Courtesy Atlas Obscura

According to the Bowery Boys, there’s a small, rusty bolt peeking out of a piece of rock in the southern half of Central Park. But they’re not telling where!

Of course, few would go out searching for the said small, rusty bolt without incentive. But apparently, as geographers hypothesized in 2004 upon the spike’s discovery, it is one of the bolts used in John Randel, Jr.’s survey of Manhattan in the 1810s. Tasked with the mission of creating New York City’s trademark grid system, his team marked spots at the intersection of streets-and-avenues-to-be with bolts. Before the idea for Central Park was proposed, the grid would have usurped the whole area. So, today it remains, allegedly – a reminder of what might not have been!

4. Beneath Bryant Park

Image Courtesy BuzzFeed
Image Courtesy BuzzFeed

It’s not so much what’s in Bryant Park, but what’s beneath it. Everybody knows that the park is located in the main branch of the New York Public Library’s backyard, but not many realize that just beneath lies the library’s underground vault of archives. The space spans over 120,000 square feet,  shelving more than 3.2 million books! And we bet many of them have secrets of their own…

5. Lady Madison Square Park

Image Courtesy Untapped Cities
Image Courtesy Untapped Cities

Lady Liberty reigns as the city’s symbol of freedom and democracy, welcoming the “tired and “poor” into the New York Harbor. If you’re wondering why this is relevant to Madison Square Park, that’s because for six years, the park was instrumental in securing the funds for the Lady’s statue and base.

Sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the creator of the Statue, completed the massive lady in sections; after all,  she does weigh a hefty 450,000 pounds. He first got to work on her right hand, bearer of the torch. Once he completed it, he strategically shipped the said 37-foot hand and torch ahead to America, on a “grand fundraising tour.” First, it debuted in Philadelphia in honor of the 1876 Centennial Exposition, where visitors could pay fifty cents to climb up a ladder inside the arm and come up on the torch’s balcony. From there, the arm made its way to Madison Square Park, where it sat upon a pedestal waiting for the funds necessary to get the rest of its body built. And such is Madison Square Park’s role in the triumphant oxidized copper-skinned Lady’s life.

Architecture News | Two Trees’ Domino Sugar Refinery Development

A major development is underway on the Williamsburg waterfront. Developer Two Trees has enlisted SHoP Architects and James Corner Field Operations to redevelop the historic Domino Sugar Refinery building and surrounding 11-acre area. Upon completion, the new area will include 600,000 square feet of office space, 2,800 residences, and six-acres of park space along the waterfront 

Image Courtesy SHoP
Rendering of waterfront development. Image Courtesy SHoP


A Storied Past
Originally built in 1856, the Domino Sugar Factory was among the first of the industrial buildings that contributed to the area’s significance as a manufacturing center. Employing over 4,000 workers, the refinery quickly became the largest of its kind worldwide, and by 1870 was processing more than half of the sugar consumed by the country. In 1882, damage caused by a fire led to the site’s redesign into a 90,000-square-foot complex with two distinct brick buildings and a smokestack. The area’s staple and now-landmarked “Domino Sugar” sign was erected in the 1950s to further signify the site, which continued to process sugar until 2004.

The Domino Sugar Factory's presence on the East River dates back to 1882. Image Courtesy http://cargocollective.com
The Domino Sugar Factory’s presence on the East River dates back to 1882. Image Courtesy cargocollective.com
The Domino Sugar sign has long been attributed to the Williamsburg waterfront. Image Courtesy creativetime.org
The Domino Sugar sign has long been attributed to the Williamsburg waterfront. Image Courtesy creativetime.org

After an original failed attempt to redevelop the site by CPC Resources in 2010, Two Trees Management hired SHoP and Field Operations to create a new master plan in 2013. Before demolishing the site, however, they commissioned public art firm Creative Time to create a large-scale public art project to commemorate the building’s less-than-gracious history and involvement with slavery. Tasked with the responsibility was artist Kara Walker, who based her work off of the building’s connection to “the slave trade that traded bodies for sugar and sugar for bodies.” Her creation, dubbed “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby, an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant,” featured a large, sphinx-like female statue created from sugar paste. 

Kara Walker's "A Subtlety." Image Courtesy Wall Street Journal
Kara Walker’s “A Subtlety.” Image Courtesy Wall Street Journal

Open to the public for two months in the summer of 2014, the display received over 130,000 visitors.

Present Development
Construction began at the site in March of 2015. Last fall, the first mixed-use residential building at 325 Kent Avenue topped out, and progress has recently been made in constructing its sky bridge.

Current development at the site where the building at 325 Kent Avenue has topped out. Photo Courtesy Curbed Flickr Pool/Joel Raskin

The building will ultimately rise to 16 stories and span just over 400,000 square feet. Featuring a five-story redbrick base and two setback metal-sheathed wings, the building is slated to host a central courtyard, several retail stores and parking.

Rendering of the building at 325 Kent Avenue. Completion is expected sometime next year. Photo Courtesy NY Curbed.
Rendering of the building at 325 Kent Avenue. Completion is expected sometime this year. Photo Courtesy NY Curbed.

Twenty percent of the building’s 522 rental units have been designated for affordable housing, with move-ins expected to begin this summer.

The Future of the Waterfront
The remainder of the development will extend across the East River waterfront, along with James Corner Field Operations’ quarter-of-a-mile park. As inspired by community input, the park will include an “Artifact Walk,” incorporating the site’s original gantry cranes, syrup tanks and screw conveyors. According to JCFO, “The new waterfront park will offer a wide range of active and passive uses and will reconnect the neighborhood to the riverfront.”

Waterfront park. Image Courtesy SHoP

The Domino Sugar Refinery itself will maintain its exterior redbrick façade, yet yield itself to glass and steel-encased offices inside. According to renderings, possible amenities inside the 380,000-square-foot building will include a skate park,  four separate terraces and floor-to-ceiling windows. The building will also feature an open plaza and direct access to the overall development’s amenities, such as the waterfront park and ferry landing. Completion for the building is expected for next year, provided a tenant is secured.

The new refinery interior will feature exposed brick, steel, and glass-encased offices. Image Courtesy Two Trees / www.mir.no
Inside Domino. Image Courtesy Two Trees / www.mir.no
Proposed rendering for open office space. Image Courtesy Two Trees / www.mir.no
Inside Domino. Image Courtesy Two Trees / www.mir.no
Planned amenities include an indoor skate park. Image Courtesy Two Trees / www.mir.no

Check back in here for more updates on the revitalization of the historic Williamsburg waterfront.

 

New York History | The New Year’s Eve Ball

All the world watches the festivities in Times Square to count down to the start of the new year. It’s one moment where everyone stops to check the time, but why is a lighted ball the designated timekeeper? The history of the New Year’s Eve celebration and the Times Square ball drop is a fascinating one, and the journey begins well before electricity lit up the city that never sleeps.

Timekeeping With a Ball Drop

The idea of dropping a ball as a marker of time actually began as a way to help ship captains set their clocks for their long journeys away from land, clocks and church bells. In England, a Royal Navy captain decided to drop a large red ball from the top of a mast in the harbor, thinking that all nearby ships could set their timepieces by observing it. It worked and became a valuable asset to sailors around the world in the 1830s.

The Times Square Ball Drop

Image courtesy timessquarenyc.org/events/new-years-eve/history
Image courtesy timessquarenyc.org
Though New Yorkers began celebrating New Year’s Eve in the newly christened Times Square in 1904, the first ball wasn’t dropped to mark the occasion until 1907. The first illuminated ball, made of iron and wood, was a substitute for fireworks, which the city banned due to fire concerns. Its 100 25-watt lightbulbs were a glittering look at an electrifying future, and a tradition took root.

The New Year’s Eve Ball Through the Years

newyorker.com/tech/elements/a-ball-of-a-time-a-history-of-the-new-years-eve-ball-drop
Image courtesy newyorker.com/tech
The original 1907 ball was replaced with a lighter model in 1920. This version eliminated the wood in favor of all wrought iron. The ball shed even more weight in 1955, when the first aluminum ball was dropped. In the 1980s, that aluminum ball was given a stem and red lights to look like the Big Apple. In the 1990s, the ball was given several makeovers with colored lights and rhinestones, but the aluminum ball was finally retired in 1998.
Image courtesy slate.com/blogs
Image courtesy slate.com/blogs
In the year 2000, Waterford Crystal and Phillips Electric paired up to design a crystal-encrusted ball to ring in the new millennium. Since then, the ball has been redesigned to use efficient LED lighting in a range of colors and designs.
Image courtesy marieclaire.com/culture
Image courtesy marieclaire.com/culture
Though the size, structure and look of the ball has changed, one thing has not: All eyes are on Times Square each Dec. 31, and New Yorkers show the world how to throw a truly spectacular celebration.

New York City History | Fifth Avenue

When people speak of luxury shopping and grandiose historical homes, one street comes to mind: Fifth Avenue. Located in the heart of Manhattan, this once lackluster thoroughfare is now the focal point of one of the largest cities in the world.

New York City tourists scurry for a glimpse of the mansions along “Museum Mile,” and the Fifth Avenue shopping district is second to none for designer fashions and luxury home furnishings. Its now stellar reputation belies its somewhat humble beginnings.

Petersville Farm

Back in 1846, Fifth Avenue was located in the middle of a land parcel identified as “Farm Belonging to John R. Peters.” The locals dubbed the area “Petersville.” Petersville included many public roads that went on to become famous New York City streets, but at the time, Fifth Avenue was a private way.

Middle Road

Eventually, Fifth Avenue became a route for travelers from Petersville to Yorkville, though it was still considered a country road. In 1811, New York commissioners released a map featuring the proposed expansion of the city. Fifth Avenue was called “Middle Road” back then.

Image courtesy nypl.org
Image courtesy nypl.org

Still, city leaders and local residents strove for business expansion and residential developments along the avenue, even forming a committee to protect the area from businesses who were deemed unworthy.

Grand Expansion

By 1908, word had gotten out about Fifth Avenue. It was quickly becoming “the place to be,” and new buildings were popping up all along the way. The famous department store, B. Altman and Company, occupied an entire block front.

Image courtesy baltmancollection.mcny.org
Image courtesy baltmancollection.mcny.org

The adjacent area became the shopping district. The area expanded rapidly with new luxury shops lining the street, especially with the eventual addition of the flagship Lord & Taylor’s store.

Millionaire’s Row

Image courtesy 6sqft.com
Image courtesy 6sqft.com

As the area between 49th Street and 60th Street became designated for shopping, other parts of Fifth Avenue began filling up with residential homes for the wealthiest members of New York society. Most of these mansions are long gone, having been replaced by skyscrapers and hotels. At one point, however, they were the main feature of Fifth Avenue.

Image courtesy 6sqft.com
Image courtesy 6sqft.com

Modern Fifth Avenue

image courtesy foundtheworld.com
image courtesy foundtheworld.com
Though some of Fifth’s Avenue’s most famous buildings are lost, much of its history remains for the modern observer. Shoppers still delight in the wealth of luxury goods available on “the most expensive street in the world.” Tours are regularly conducted to offer visitors a peek at the historical mansions that remain standing along “Museum Mile,” and several key NYC landmarks drive tourists to this area. If the original commissioners could see Fifth Avenue today, they’d be delighted at how far their dream has come.

 

New York City History | Prospect Park

Designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmstead (designers of Central Park), Prospect Park is one of New York’s most beautiful recreational areas that also happens to feature historic landmark buildings and a turn-of-the-century carousel. To locals and visitors alike, Prospect Park is an urban oasis that offers a glimpse into a bygone era of quietude and elegant living.

Prospect Park History

After the completion of Central Park in 1858, Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmstead were commissioned by city official James Stranahan to do the same for Brooklyn: create an urban green space where people could enjoy sunshine and clean air. The architects chose a historic land parcel that was once the site of the Battle of Long Island during the American Revolutionary War.

Image courtesy en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prospect_Park_(Brooklyn)
Image courtesy en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prospect_Park_(Brooklyn)

Another military conflict — the Civil War — delayed plans for construction, but the park was finally completed in 1867, with multiple later expansions that led to its present 585 acres. Other changes included the addition, during the 1890s, of several stunning neoclassical buildings designed by iconic architects such as Stanford White. These buildings are still open to the public today.

Making the Most of Your Visit to Prospect Park

Image courtesy nycgovparks.org/parks/prospect-park/photos
Image courtesy nycgovparks.org/parks/prospect-park/photos

As a testament to its enduring popularity, Prospect Park receives more than 10 million visitors every year. Here are some of the must-see attractions of this magnificent outdoor landmark:

The Boathouse

brownstoner.com/architecture/building-of-the-day-prospect-park-boathouse/
brownstoner.com/architecture/building-of-the-day-prospect-park-boathouse/

Constructed in 1905, the Boathouse is a neoclassical masterpiece that provides an elegant site for weddings and special events. It is also home to the famed Audubon Center, which houses a number of fascinating environmental exhibitions.

Nature Walks

As a migration epicenter for 100 species of birds, Prospect Park is a mecca for nature lovers. Favorite walks include the Vale of Cashmere, the Rose Garden and Nellie’s Lawn, where ground-feeding birds congregate in large numbers.

Prospect Park Wildlife Center and Zoo

Image courtesy prospectparkzoo.com/exhibits
Image courtesy prospectparkzoo.com/exhibits

Prospect Park’s Zoo and Wildlife Center is a sanctuary for hundreds of animals, all housed in their natural settings. The Zoo also hosts a number of family-friendly activities.

Greenmarket

Image courtesy inhabitat.com/nyc/grownyc-to-expand-composting-program-to-6-more-greenmarkets/grand-army-plaza-market-salim-virji/
Image courtesy inhabitat.com/nyc

Every Saturday morning, the Grand Army Plaza area of Prospect Park hosts a Greenmarket, which offers farm-fresh produce and special events year round.

Carousel

Image courtesy timeout.com/new-york-kids/attractions/prospect-park-carousel
Image courtesy timeout.com/new-york-kids/attractions/prospect-park-carousel

Built in 1912 by famed carver Charles Carmel, Prospect Park’s historic Carousel boasts 53 horses and is one of the park’s most popular attractions.

Outdoor Recreation

Prospect Park is the area’s major outdoor recreation center, with over a dozen playing fields, two regulation-size basketball courts, a turf football field, and areas for boating, fishing, horseback riding, cycling, hiking and picnicking.

With its historic buildings, recreational facilities and family-friendly activity centers, Prospect Park engages residents and visitors alike to enjoy Brooklyn at its finest.

Real Estate History | The West Village

Nestled in a northwest pocket of Greenwich Village next to the Hudson River lies the small community of the West Village. Today, the neighborhood is fast-paced and quaint. However, the West Village neighborhood is packed with more history than you probably know. Learn five facts about this classic community that take you back in time. 

1. Home to Historical Buildings

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Image courtesy ny.curbed.com

The West Village is home to some of the oldest buildings in the city with European-style architecture. The Isaacs-Hendricks house is the oldest home in the community, dating back to 1799. The home was originally made of wood but was later constructed out of bricks in the mid-1800s. This Bedford Street home also once belong to the estate of “The King and I” film and theater actor Yul Bryner.

2. Celebrity Sightings

The West Village was home to many famous painters, poets and politicians. Abstract expressionist artist Jackson Pollock once owned a luxury apartment in the area on Carmine Street in the 1940s. This home also sat on land that once belonged to Aaron Burr, one of the U.S. Founding Fathers. Politician and former mayor of New York City Fiorello H. LaGuardia,  Jack Kerouac, Jasper Johns and E.E. Cummings all called the West Village their homes as well.

3. Ripe for Civil Rights and Protests

Image courtesy thestonewallinnnyc.com
Image courtesy thestonewallinnnyc.com

One interesting fact about the West Village is that it was home to civil rights protests and demonstrations. The late 1960s saw the Stonewall Riot, where onlookers watching police force members of the gay community into a paddy wagon ignited a crowd fueled with fury at being targeted by police for gay club raids. This event is recognized as the beginning of the gay rights movement. Even homeowners faced opposition from picketing protesters, such as the picketing of photographer Annie Leibovitz’s home.

4. Home to the Arts

Image courtesy villagevanguard.com
Image courtesy villagevanguard.com

Outside of artists and poets residing in the West Village, the community’s cultural was embedded in time. The Whitney Museum of Art was built in the early 1930s and called West 8th Street its home. The Village Vanguard also brought the jazz culture to the West Village during the 1930s.

5. Protected by Preservation

Image courtesy nycgovparks.org
Image courtesy nycgovparks.org

To keep the original character and charm of the city, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation was created in the 1980s. The society promoted and enforced zoning laws to keep the heritage and culture of the community, including West Village’s landmarks, such as Washington Square Park, within the Greenwich Village.

The historical buildings of the West Village offer insight into the charm it has today. With its culture and character, The West Village provides a history that cannot be ignored.

Real Estate History: East Village

As the East Village sits poised on the precipice of another transformation, it’s worth taking time to look back at the history of this storied and iconic Manhattan neighborhood. From immigrants to artists to luxury home fronts, the East Village has always been at the forefront of the city’s cultural waves. Here’s how it got its start.

From Farmland to Townhouse

Image courtesy Vivek Shah for untapped Cities
Image courtesy Vivek Shah for untapped Cities

For much of its history, the East Village was nearly entirely owned by a single wealthy landowner: first by Dutch Governor-General Wouter van Dwiller, then by Dutch Director-General, Peter Stuyvesant, who bought what was then a single farmstead in 1651.

The entire neighborhood would stay in Stuyvesant’s family for the next two centuries until his descendants slowly began parceling out lots in the early 19th century. By the 1840s, the neighborhood was well on its way to becoming the hearth and homestead for immigrants from Germany and Poland, leading to a construction boom as single-family lots were converted to the iconic multi-unit dwellings that would become the city’s hallmark.

The end of World War II would see another wave of immigration as former Ukrainian citizens began making their homes in the area. Local landmarks like St. George’s Catholic Church arose alongside in the following decades, and the neighborhood’s immigrant past continues to inform its character and charm.

The Bohemian(ish) Revolution

While the very creation of the sobriquet “East Village” was an attempt to distance the neighborhood from the grittier and more volatile Lower East Side, it still became a landmark for the avante garde and modern arts and music scene.

Image courtesy cbgb.com
Image courtesy cbgb.com

From the beatniks of the ‘50s to the punks of the ‘80s, the East Village is home to a variety of counter-culture landmarks. The Polish Ballroom on St. Mark’s Street hosted a variety of now-legendary shows, including Andy Warhol’s 1966 “The Exploding Plastic Inevitable,” which featured The Velvet Underground. In later years, the establishment of CBGB hosted names like Madonna, Patti Smith, The Beastie Boys and The Smiths.

Landmark Luxury

Image courtesy cooper.edu
Image courtesy cooper.edu

In the last decade, local government and citizen advocates have strived to ensure the neighborhood’s future as a quieter upscale neighborhood. With new zonings laws prohibiting high-rise construction, the East Village’s luxury brownstones are now guaranteed to continue providing comfortable living into the future. As new cultural landmarks take their side along historic favorites, like the Yiddish Art Theater, Webster Hall and Cooper Union Square, this neighborhood is sure to remain an oasis amid the hustle and bustle of Manhattan’s urban jungle.

Real Estate History: Astoria

Though many may not be aware of it, Astoria—one of the fastest-growing and best residential sections of New York City—has a fascinating origin story deeply steeped in real estate history.

Town June RE History 1
Image courtesy Astoria.org 

Initially called Hallet’s Cove, what is now known as Astoria was founded by a fur merchant named Stephen A. Halsey in 1839. It was named after the area’s first prime landowner William Hallet, who settled there in 1659 with his wife. Locals began constructing large homes throughout the area in the early 1800s.

In an effort to persuade John Jacob Astor—then the richest man in America—to invest $2,000 in local real estate developments, Halsey petitioned the state legislature to rename the area Astoria in his honor. As the legend goes, Astor never set foot in the neighborhood that bears his name, though he did send $500 to Halsey.

Not long afterwards, a German settler named Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg—one of many immigrants who moved to Astoria in the 19th century—founded the piano company Steinway & Sons in 1853. Though many of his German-immigrant brethren were furniture and cabinetmakers, Steinweg’s company would go on to become one of the most revered piano manufacturers in the world. The Steinway mansion, where the family lived beginning in 1870, was landmarked by New York City in 1966 and the top-of-the-line pianos are still made in Astoria.

The town has also been the birthplace of some of the best in American filmmaking since the early days of the art form, primarily at Kaufman Astoria Studios. Founded in 1920, Kaufman Astoria planted the seeds of what would become Paramount Pictures, and was the location for many celebrated early films, including the Marx Brothers’ “Animal Crackers.” The studio, still in operation today, currently contains the only studio backlot in New York City as well as the recently renovated Museum of the Moving Image.

Always known for its diversity, safety and middle-class residents, Astoria has become a development hub, with several new buildings sure to impress once they open their doors in the coming years. Buyers and renters priced out of portions of Brooklyn have flooded the Queens enclave, making the local market one of the most active around.

Town June RE History 2
Image courtesy Astorians.com

Town Residential’s official website currently features a handful of wonderful exclusives, representing the best of the Astoria market. Here are some listings you should see for yourself:

1 . 30-11 21st Street #PE

Town June RE History 4

This corner unit with southern and western exposures offers beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline. The apartment measures approximately 1,525 square feet, not including a balcony and a terrace with a gas grill. The generously sized living/dining area makes this space very unique, and additional apartment features include: a washer/dryer, java-stained birch wood floors, Marvin windows, recessed lighting, two full-sized bathrooms with a tub and shower stall, walk-in closets and a gourmet kitchen.

Asking Price: $1.475 million

2. 11-41 30th Road

Town June RE History 5

A detached, two-family brick house located on a beautiful and quiet tree-lined street, this building represents an excellent opportunity to procure an income-generating property in a rapidly developing neighborhood. The house is approximately seven blocks from the N/R trains, just a few blocks from Socrates Sculpture Park to the south and Astoria Park to the north, and there’s a planned water taxi pickup site one block away. A finished basement, which includes a kitchen and a washer/dryer unit, adds an additional 745 square feet to the house.

Asking Price: $1.298 million

3. 25-40 38th Street #PH
Constructed in 2014 in prime Astoria, this boutique condominium’s penthouse residence has two private terraces collectively measuring 1,500 square feet. The night views of Manhattan from the first terrace are spectacular, while the second, on the eastern end of the home, offers exceptional Astoria views. The unit features white oak flooring throughout, a chef’s kitchen with a luxurious island that’s topped with Caesarstone counters, and an alcove in front of the island which may be used as dining area or even a home office. The living room is spacious and great for entertaining, and there’s a convenient washer-dryer unit as well. A private garage and a spacious storage unit are offered along with this penthouse. The apartment is located a block from the lively 30th Avenue cafes, bars and restaurants.

Asking Price: $889,000

For more listings, visit Town Residential’s official website

 

New York City News: NYC Parks, Then and Now

Curbed.com recently put together a great collection of images of our fair city’s green spaces as they’ve appeared throughout history. The interactive story allows readers to slide their computer’s cursor left and right over images, providing an intriguing and unique then-and-now comparisons. Here are a few of the featured parks along with some backstory:

1. The High Line
Now:

Town June Art News Highline 1
Image courtesy thehighline.org

Along a lengthy elevated strip on the Lower West Side, James Corner Field Operations, Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Piet Oudolf have converted an out-of-use railroad track into a lush public landscape with fantastic views of the city and spots to read and relax, while opening up new retail opportunities around the construct. After eight and a half years of construction, the third and northernmost section opened in September 2014.

Then:

Image courtesy thehighline.org
Image courtesy thehighline.org

 The High Line played an important role in shipping materials and food around the city during its run, which began in 1934. The Nabisco bakery was one of the many food companies that benefitted greatly from the High Line track’s presence. But, in 1980, after years of declining use, the final High Line train ran along the tracks, and at the turn of the 21st century, community-based efforts began to create the High Line as we know and love it today.

2. Central Park
Now: 

Central Park foliage photo-walk, Nov 2009 - 10
Image courtesy Wikipedia.org user Ekabhishek

The world-renowned urban getaway, Central Park, is a visual masterpiece that has experienced sizable developments and restorative efforts over time, helping preserve the open-air oasis for all of New York’s citizens and its visitors.

Then: 

Town June Art News Central Park_2
Image courtesy Wikipedia.org, user Derzsi Elekes Andor

 

Central Park was also the first major project by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who won a design commission from the state legislature in 1858, granting them the right to conceive the space. The goal was to “improve public health and contribute greatly to the formation of a civil society,” according to the Central Park Conservancy.

Town June Art News Central Park 3
Image courtesy Wikipedia.org, via blog.insidetheapple.net

Olmsted and Vaux came up with the idea of dedicating different areas of the park to different activities, including walking, sports, boating and riding. In spite of a number of changes, much of Olmsted and Vaux’s original design has been maintained.

3. Prospect Park
Now: 

Town June Art News Prospect Park 1
Image courtesy Wikipedia.org, user GK tranmrunner229

After the success of Central Park, Olmsted and Vaux collaborated on several other public spaces in New York City and beyond. Prospect Park was one of them. According to The Prospect Park Alliance, the space was meant to “nurture the mind, the body and even the fabric of society.” Olmstead and Vaux laid out grander, unbroken green spaces for Prospect Park and more heavily wooded areas as well.

Then:

Town June Art News Prospect Park 2
Image courtesy prospectpark.org

Since 1874, Brooklynites have enjoyed the Prospect Park Carousel. The original, located in the northeast section of the park, a section always intended as a children’s play area, was actually horse drawn.

Town June Art News Prospect Park 3
Image courtesy commons.wikimedia.org, source: City of NY Dept. of Parks Report, 1905

Like Central Park, much of the original design of Prospect Park remains the same. The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch was added at the turn of the 20th century, and with federal funds earmarked for Depression relief, then-NYC Parks Commissioner Robert Moses brought about the park’s zoo, band shell, ice-skating rink and numerous playgrounds.

For more images and history of our green spaces, visit Curbed.com.