Less Than It Seems

I didn’t intend to take that picture on a pseudo-artistic slant, but it’s more trouble than it’s worth to straighten it out. The old buildings on the right are pretty much plumb in reality. Also, the picture isn’t reversed – the Stone Street Tavern has this sign painted backwards because this facade, on Pearl Street, …

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Old School

I’ve talked around the edges of Federal Hall, but it’s worth spending a moment to discuss its most distinctive feature. And that’s not the big colonnade facing Wall Street. Despite the name, this is not the building that served briefly to house Congress when New York was the capital, it’s the 1840s building on the …

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Adaptive (Doubling) Reuse

55 Wall Street is an impressive building and always has been. It was constructed, between 1836 and 1842, in the days when masonry construction had to pause for cold weather, as the Merchants Exchange. The start date gives a hint as to what happened: the old Merchants Exchange burned in the Great Fire of 1835. …

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More on Classification

A old close-up during some minor work on an old house in Manhattan. We’re looking at a basement-level door that was once the secondary (tradesmen’s) entrance and now, thanks to the removal of the stoop at the other end of the facade, is the main door. The basement, being the basement, was faced in brownstone …

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Another Immigrant Architect

While the history and work of the Guastavino Company is well researched and documented, including the newest piece of literature recently published. Its title “Immigrant Architect” made me think of another, less successful, immigrant architect: John Comerma. John Comerma was also a Spanish thin-tile vault builder, yet he was not able to bend the American system to …

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