Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I think it's impossible to walk any block in Manhattan and not find some architectural element that's historic, unique, or simply beautiful. Sure, Chicago has a reputation for architectural beauty that's bolstered by the likes of Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright. New York, however, has history on its side in the rich display of architectural variety stretching back to the 18th century. (Yes, the city's history reaches back to its Dutch roots in 17th century New Amsterdam, but I'm not sure if anything remains from that period.) With an agglomeration of styles and centuries, often in the same block - New York presents a virtual architectural history lesson for those willing to pause and look up.

It drives my kids crazy, but I always walk the streets scanning the buildings for details, and an excuse to pull stop and pull out the camera. And sometimes these efforts provide a little learning opportunity for the boys, particularly Sam who is most often subjected to my detours down side streets and alleys. Just last week, for example, he asked me about gargoyles. Naturally I had to find one just to make the definition stick . . . and it didn't take long to find them, staring down from a Gothic Revival church in Chelsea.

I took these images in walks around Chelsea and the Village. The Bell Telephone building, just off 7th Avenue in Chelsea, was a surprise. The building is undergoing a renovation and now has Verizon signs outside. But the art deco facade and the bronze "Bell Telephone" marquee are nicely preserved. The structure is nearly windowless and is probably one of those old switching stations that are still scattered around the city.

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jblack designs said...

Amazing. I love the Bell Telephone the best.

You've inspired me to start my own photo project. Waco, where I currently live, had an international newspaper in the late 1880's and the oldest continuously operating private college in the state, so surely there are some beautiful places to be found. Sadly, an F5 tornado tore through the downtown in 1953, destroying many of the old buildings and killing 114 people. It's still ranked as the 10th deadliest tornado in U.S. history. We'll have to see what I can find this summer.

Keep the photos coming!

One Wink at a Time said...

I love that you share all this amazing architecture with us. I kind of feel like a free-loader though, you do all the work and I just pop over and gaze, amazed. Thanks.
I see you're listening to Radiohead... I am currently stuck on House of Cards. The strings are exquisite.