New York - New York City - Points of Interest
ROCKEFELLER CENTER, between Fifth and Sixth Aves., 48th and 51st Sts., by Reinhard and Hofmeister, Corbett, Harrison and MacMurray, and Hood and Fouilhoux, comprises 14 buildings upsurging from a base of 12 land acres. The RCA Building is the tallest (850 ft., 70 stories) in the group. Four buildings are used as Fifth Ave. showcases for foreign nations: the British Empire Building, La Maison Française, Palazzo d'Italia, and the International Building East. Behind the last two rises the second International Building. The Time and Life Building, the Associated Press Building, and 30 Rockefeller Plaza (RCA Building Tower) surround the Plaza. The Fifth Avenue entrance is the most impressive. The Channel slopes from the avenue down to a flight of steps leading to the Sunken Plaza with series of fountains and other decorations.
The twelve buildings of Rockefeller Center constitute not only a vast skyscraper group but an organized city. The group, said to be the largest ever undertaken by private enterprise, represents the belated culmination of the boom of the 1920's.
Covering twelve land acres in the fashionable mid-town shopping district, the project includes a vast skyscraper office center, a shopping center, an exhibition center, and a radio and amusement center. The western front, along Sixth Avenue, is made up of buildings devoted primarily to entertainment: the RKO Building and the adjoining Radio City Music Hall, the National Broadcasting Company's extension of the seventy-story RCA Building, and the Center Theater. The name "Radio City," which is often incorrectly applied to all of Rockefeller Center, properly designates only this western portion.
The EMPIRE STATE BUILDING ( 1931), Fifth Ave. at 33rd and 34th Sts., by Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, is the tallest building in the world: 1, 250 feet. Fifty-mile panorama can be viewed from its tower.
The PIERPONT MORGAN LIBRARY, 33 E. 36th St., the main building ( 1913) by McKim, Mead and White; the Annex ( 1928), at 29 E.36th St., by Benjamin W. Morris. Its exterior is severely formal, its interior sumptuously decorated and ornamented. It contains one of the most extensive private collections in the world: books, furniture, paintings, tapestries, sculptures, etc.
The NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY ( 1911), Fifth Ave. and 42nd St., by Carrère and Hastings, is an eclectic building based mainly on classical concepts. This is the central building of the New York Public Library, which includes branches in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Richmond.
BEDLOE'S ISLAND: STATUE OF LIBERTY ( 1886), was executed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, French sculptor, and presented by the French people to the people of the United States.
ELLIS ISLAND lies about one mile SW. of the Battery in Upper New York Bay. Used by the Dutch as a picnic ground, in the early nineteenth century it was a Government arsenal. Since 1892 it has been an important immigration station.
GOVERNORS ISLAND, headquarters of the Second Corps Area, lies about 500 yds. off Battery Park in Upper New York Bay. Troops have left this island for the Seminole Wars, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and the World War.
WELFARE ISLAND; Queensboro Bridge, pedestrian passage to elevators on island) lies in the middle of the East River from 52nd St. to 86th St., Manhattan. Up to 1921 known as Blackwells Island, it was the site of a city penitentiary and workhouse. Today, institutions of public service on the island are the Metropolitan Hospital, the New York City Home for Dependents, the Central Neurological Hospital, the Cancer Institute, the Welfare Hospital for Chronic Diseases, and the New York City Hospital.
BROOKLYN BRIDGE ( 1883), with Gothic pylons, is considered a masterpiece of design. Until 1903 this was the longest (6,016 feet) suspension bridge in the world. In this bridge John A. Roebling and his son, Washington A. Roebling, introduced several engineering methods that have since been widely employed, one being the use of semiflexible cable rests to allow for expansion and contraction during temperature changes.
TRIBOROUGH BRIDGE ( 1936), by the Triborough Bridge Authority, the second longest (17,710 feet) in the world, links Manhattan with the Bronx and Queens.
GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE ( 1931), by O.H.Amman with Cass Gilbert in advisory capacity, links Manhattan with Fort Lee, N.J.; it is the only New York City bridge over the Hudson River.
HOLLAND TUNNEL ( 1927), twin tubes under the North (Hudson) River, is used by 12,500,000 cars every year.
LINCOLN TUNNEL ( 1938), is comprised of twin tubes under the North (Hudson) River.
QUEENS MIDTOWN TUNNEL is the only vehicular tube under the East River.
NEW TRANSATLANTIC PIERS, 44th to 57th St., North (Hudson) River: Pier 88 accommodates the Normandie, Pier 90 Queen Mary, Pier 92 giant ships of the Italian Line.
GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL ( 1913), Park Ave. and 42d St., is by Warren and Wetmore, and Reed and Stem. A feature of the 42nd St. fagade is the sculptured group around the clock, by Jules Coutan, French baroque in conception; the three heroic figures represent Mercury, Hercules, and Minerva. The concourse leading from the waiting room is 385 ft. long, 125 ft. wide; the elliptically vaulted ceiling is carried by square piers 125 ft. high.
CHRYSLER BUILDING ( 1929), Lexington Ave. and 42d St., by William Van Alen, 1,048 ft. high, has a fantastic metal dome terminating in a spire. The building has a lobby finished in Rouge Flamme marble from Africa.
The NEWS BUILDING ( 1930), 220 E.42d St., by John M. Howells and Raymond Hood, is considered a modern masterpiece. In its main lobby is a revolving terrestrial globe in a well under a faceted dome of black glass; walls carry weather maps and other meteorological items.
NEW YORK MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY, RCA Building, Rockefeller Center, presents a behind-thescenes view of the industrial age—the most extensive, up-to-date exposition of its kind in America. The divisions of the exhibits—food industries, textiles, shelter, power, aviation, highway, railroad and marine transportation, communications, machine tools and electro-technology—contain about 2,500 items.
The museum, established in 1927 by a bequest of Henry Robinson Towne, was known originally as the Museum of Peaceful Arts and was housed in the Scientific American Building. Within three years, however, its rapid growth made larger quarters necessary, and in 1930 the museum moved to the Daily News Building. It was installed in its present quarters in Rockefeller Center in 1936.
The MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, 11 W.53d St., houses exhibits of modern painting and sculpture.
The WALDORF-ASTORIA HOTEL ( 1931), Park Ave. at 49th and 50th Sts., by Schultze and Weaver, its chrome-capped twin towers rising 47 stories, is one of the largest and most costly hotels in the world.
ST.PATRICK'S CATHEDRAL ( 1879), Fifth Ave. at 50th and 51st Sts., by James Renwick, is an example of Gothic Revival architecture. Geometric decorated tracery, twin spires, crockets, and dry coarse detail suggest the Cathedral of Cologne.
St. Patrick's, America's first major cathedral built in the Gothic Revival style, is the seat of the Archdiocese of the Ecclesiastical Province of New York, which includes the dioceses of Brooklyn, Buffalo, Albany, Rochester, Syracuse, and Ogdenburg. Begun in 1858, the nave was opened November 29, 1877, and the cathedral dedicated May 25, 1879. With the exception of the Lady Chapel and two smaller chapels the entire project was designed by James Renwick ( 1818-1895).
CENTRAL PARK is bounded by Central Park S., Fifth Ave., Cathedral Parkway (110th St.), and Central Park W. Its lakes, fields, and playgrounds are frequented in every season. South of the reservoir are Cleopatra's Needle, relic of the Pharaohs and gift of the Khedive of Egypt in 1877; the Menagerie, a favorite with children; and the Belvedere, a meteorological observatory of the U.S.Weather Bureau.
TEMPLE EMANU-EL ( 1929), Fifth Ave. and 65th St., by Robert D. Kohn, Charles Butler, and Clarence S. Stein, is an example of early Romanesque architecture, its three separate units integrated into one design.
The FRICK COLLECTION, 1 E.70th St., is New York's only private home where art treasures are assembled and open to the public as a unit. It also includes the Bache Collection. Paintings, sculptures, enamels, Chinese porcelains, and other objects of art are on display. The mansion ( 1914), by Carrère and Hastings in the Louis XVI manner, is one of the showplaces of New York.
NEW YORK HOSPITAL AND CORNELL UNIVERSITY MEDICAL COLLEGE (buildings 1932), York Ave., E.68th to E.71st Sts., is popularly known as the East Side Medical Center. The buildings, by Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch and Abbott of Boston, are outstanding examples of modern architecture with a Gothic motif carried throughout the 15 units. The main building is 27 stories high. On the east side of the lot are three special hospitals: Psychiatric, Children's, and Women's Clinic; the buildings of the Medical College line York Ave.
METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, Fifth Ave. and 82d St., contains the most comprehensive collection of pictures and objects of art in America.
MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, Fifth Ave. and 103d St., is devoted to the history of New York City. First floor: historical galleries trace growth of city from Indian village to present; Dutch furniture, portraits and miniatures of early settlers in corridor. Second floor: memorabilia of George Washington and Alexander Hamilton; changing fashions from Dutch period to end of nineteenth century. Third floor: display illustrating rise of communication.
RIVERSIDE CHURCH, Baptist ( 1929), Riverside Drive and 122d St., by Allen, Pelton and Collens, is a Gothic structure, whose tower contains the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Carillon of 72 bells.
GRANT'S TOMB ( 1897), Riverside Drive and 123d St., by J.H.Duncan, is the burial place of General Ulysses Simpson Grant and his wife. It has a ponderous square base and circular superstructure, motif of double colonnade of Doric design at entrance repeated on other three sides with recessed columns, and a cruciform interior.
Harlem. IRT Seventh Ave. subway, Lenox Ave. local, to any station between 110th and 145th Sts.
HARLEM, shut in by the East and Harlem Rivers, by Morningside and Washington Heights, and by Central Park, was once a district of quiet farms where lived a few Hollanders, French Huguenots, Danes, Swedes, and Germans. Between 1830 and 1880 the railroad and rapid transit lines reached it and worked a miracle of transformation. For three decades the Germans were the dominant element, with the Irish ranking second. The immigration waves of the 1880's and 1890's brought in Jews and Italians. Then the Negroes began to come in—from downtown, from the South, from the West Indies, from Africa.
There are three Harlems: Negro, Spanish, and Italian—half a million people crowded into the largest slum area in New York. The Harlem River Houses, a large-scale modern housing development, accentuate the urgent needs of the community.
One block in the district has 3,824 residents, or an average density of 1,100 an acre. The most noticeable feature of Negro Harlem is the color of the human faces—black to near white. The speech is often the sing-song drawl of the South. The Negroes practice their professions and enjoy comparative freedom from oppression and prejudice. Harlem's most recent messiah, Father Divine, has had phenomenal success. Clubs and societies flourish. The strident, ebullient life of the district is best seen at night, when the clubs are a riot of primitive abandon to the rhythm of Negro swing music.
Spanish Harlem clusters around the 110th Street station of the Lexington Avenue subway. It is a poor district; the restaurants, offering such Spanish dishes as arroz con pollo (rice with chicken) and gazpacho (Andalusian stew), draw much of their patronage from visitors. During the World War I they settled here because of low rents and freedom from racial discrimination. The market place that extends along Park Avenue from 111th to 116th Streets displays avocadoes, mangoes, guavas from Cuba, melonlike papayas, tamarinds used for making a drink called tamarindo, limes, tangerines, garbanzos (chick-peas), cassava, strings of red pepper, and so on. The air is redolent of spices. The purchasers show in their skins and features mixtures of Indian, Negro, and Spanish blood.
Italian Harlem, bordering the East River opposite Ward's and Randall's Islands, the most densely populated section of Manhattan. It is the largest colony of Italian-Americans in the country. The market place presents the bright side of the district; the darker side is in the homes of the residents.