Paper Thin, From A Distance

That’s the back (east) side of the Con Ed building on east 14th Street. (One of the many arguments between Boston and New York that will never be settled to anyone’s satisfaction: their utility company was long ago named Commonwealth Edison, after the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, ours was long ago named Consolidated Edison after the …

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I participated this fall in the Skyscraper Museum’s “Fall Semester” lecture series. This was a series of virtual lectures and virtual discussion planned so that the museum could keep programming going while physically closed because of the Covid pandemic. The fact that I was doing this just as The Structure of Skyscrapers was released is …

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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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