An Inappropriate Quote

That’s the machine room for the very old elevator in an even older building. The building is an 1880s rowhouse on the Upper West Side converted to commercial use; the elevator was, I think, installed around 1910. Note “Up” and (faded) “Down” over the two things (switches, I think) at the top of the panel. …

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The Logic of a Block

The Statue of Liberty contains a wrought-iron frame designed by Gustave Eiffel, one of the finest engineers of the nineteenth century. It sits on…a block. A fancy block, as it turns out, with a fairly complex structural design, and an architectural design by Richard Morris Hunt. But a block. Most people in the US (and …

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The Logic of a Hybrid

The Manhattan Life Insurance Building at 66 Broadway is one of those early skyscraper that wasn’t something enough. It was the tallest building in the world for five years, taking the record from Chicago’s Masonic Temple and losing it to the Park Row Building, but somehow it’s barely remembered even among people who have some …

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