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Thread: Museum of the City of New York

  1. #1
    The Dude Abides
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    $28M MAKEOVER FOR CITY'S MUSEUM

    Post Wire Services

    August 3, 2006 -- The Museum of the City of New York announced a $28 million expansion yesterday that will add 23,000 square feet, a renovated lobby and a new gallery.

    The expansion, slated for completion in 2008, will be the first major renovation since the landmark building on Fifth Avenue was built in 1932.

    Copyright 2006 NYP Holdings, Inc.

  2. #2

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    ^ So who's the architect?

  3. #3

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    Polshek.

    Two phase renovation.

    From the NYTimes:
    A two-and-a-half-story addition behind the museum will house a curatorial center, a new gallery and other amenities, amounting to 23,000 square feet of new space. The new wing, to be finished in 2008, is the first phase of the museum’s modernization program, to be completed in 2012 at a cost of $70 million. The museum will remain open to the public throughout construction.

  4. #4
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    An old article from the Times ...

    Preserving the Past, Planning the Future


    Museum of the City of New York
    The Museum of the City of New York about 1932

    Streetscapes | The Museum of the City of New York
    By CHRISTOPHER GRAY
    November 6, 2005

    THE on-again off-again expansion project of the Museum of the City of New York is on again - and this time it seems to be for certain.

    Since the early 1990's, the Georgian-style museum, on Fifth Avenue from 103rd to 104th Street, has had different designs on the boards to build into its wide backyard, as was originally planned. Now the project has been reduced from seven stories to two - but it really is to start next month.

    The museum was founded by Henry Collins Brown, a Scottish-born writer who was enthralled by New York when he arrived at age 13. Brown did not care for what he saw as the stuffy, forbidding character of the New-York Historical Society, established in 1804, and sought a more populist approach to presenting the city's story. So he created a new museum, taking over Gracie Mansion, the future mayoral residence, in 1923.

    Brown had published widely on the history of New York and had become in the public mind the single person most associated with the city's past. His idea prospered, but in 1926, he was suddenly replaced by the board for unstated reasons. It must have been a crushing blow.

    Brown's successor, Hardinge Scholle, intensified the search for new quarters, and the city offered the blockfront of Fifth Avenue from 103rd to 104th. The trustees selected Joseph H. Freedlander's impeccable but bloodless neo-Georgian design, a great U-shape of red brick and white marble around a garden forecourt. At a time of skyscraper modernism and the Art Deco style, Freedlander's design was a polite nod backward, but it also played nicely against the fortresslike Historical Society building, at 77th and Central Park West.

    Scholle shared some of Brown's populist fervor, and told The New York Times in 1929 that he wanted to collect material on private houses and tenements, dogcarts and elevated trains, even every newsreel ever made in the city.

    "The display of 20 of these reels at a single sitting," he said, "will give a picture of New York such as could be obtained in no other way."

    At the 1932 opening, The Times said that "the halls were as crowded as the aisles of a department store during the week before Christmas." Displays included predictable things like period dress and the sword of Peter Stuyvesant, the Dutch director general of New Netherland, but also more commonplace items, like the shop sign of a bootmaker.

    Freedlander's design included a provision for expanding onto an additional plot at the rear, about half the size of the museum's existing footprint.

    The museum remained popular. In 1938, The Times said that, with an annual attendance of more than 200,000, it had already outgrown its new building - but nothing more was ever built.

    Beginning in the 1990's, the museum explored a series of plans, like moving to the Tweed Courthouse near City Hall or merging with the Historical Society.

    But those projects stalled.

    Another idea was to expand onto the rear lot, for which the architects James Stewart Polshek & Associates designed a seven-story-high gridlike brick facade that responded to the original design while remaining contemporary.

    But that project faltered.

    Now, after two years as president, Susan Henshaw Jones has been able to marshal city funds for a revised Polshek expansion, downsized from seven floors to two. Although far less than the original plan, it does add space on the critical first floor, with a new gallery just behind the main stairway.

    The building has long felt lopsided, with exhibition rooms leading off only one side of the long central hall, which was meant to have rooms on both sides. The new work will also include doors at the south end of the hall leading to a new terrace outside.

    The Polshek firm has had to design against the broad circulation core, which blocks access to the area of the new gallery. So they have threaded a wide doorway under the high side of Freedlander's elegant, curved stairway of marble.

    Freedlander's original expansion designs show access to the rear only at the north and south ends of the central hall, with the central stairway area undisturbed. But that is not possible with the current plan, and the new, centrally placed connection to the back is a frankly modern intervention. Ms. Jones, former head of the New York Landmarks Conservancy and the National Building Museum in Washington, said that work would be finished in 2007.

    "Since 1923 we have been collecting steadily, but the building has never changed," she said. This contrasts with other major museums, like the Whitney, the Museum of Modern Art, the Frick Collection, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim, which have expanded since their founding, in some cases several times. Ms. Jones said construction would begin next month.

    Now is a good time to visit this institution, and not just for what's new, like "Timescapes," a deft multiscreen summary of the history of New York. Long-term exhibits often reveal a museum's essential character, without buzz or banners. One is the endearing but slightly dusty toy collection, with 1890's board games and homemade street toys from a century later.

    The deliciously old-fashioned gallery of New York's harbor has everything from well-used longshoremen's crate hooks to a 1932 Norman Bel Geddes model for a streamlined passenger liner. In a blockbuster age, they are easy to skip, but they offer a more contemplative kind of museum-going.

    An unexpectedly startling exhibit dates from the museum's beginnings. It is a large relief model of the houses, wharves, yards and even hedges of the tiny city in 1660, when it stretched only from the Battery to Wall Street.

    It is unapologetically as old-fashioned as a starched collar. But with some imagination you can roam among the miniature houses and trees, walking up the "Broad Way" to the original timber stockade that gave Wall Street its name, and down to the wide canal that did the same for Broad Street, and for a few captivating moments be transported back three and a half centuries.



    Copyright 2005The New York Times Company

  5. #5
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    The new Polshek PLAN ...

    Section through existing building and expansion:


    Polshek Partnership Architects



    Architect
    Polshek Partnership Architects

    Venue Type: Museum

    Address: 1220 Fifth Avenue (at 103rd Street)
    DETAILS
    Project Type: Expansion
    Budget: $28 million (phase 1)
    City Funding To Date: $17.7 million
    Square Footage: 21,000 (phase 1)
    Completion Date: 2008 Structural
    Engineer: Robert Silman Associates M/E/P
    Engineer: Altieri Sebor Wieber Construction
    Manager: Hill International

    PROJECT DESCRIPTION
    The long-anticipated expansion of the Museum of the City of New York will add 20,000 square feet to the Georgian-style building the institution has called home since 1932. The project, to be completed in four phases in order to allow the museum to operate during construction, will also include the renovation of the existing building, adding climate control and security systems and bringing the building up to code. The reorganization of the museum will divide the building into discrete zones, creating a new first floor gallery and event space and providing additional room for storage and educational programming.

    Rendering of new gallery:






    Rendering of expansion from new terrace:




    Rendering of expansion from 103rd Street:


  6. #6
    The Dude Abides
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    The City Changes. Its Museum Will, Too.

    By ROBIN POGREBIN

    Published: September 28, 2006

    In 1988 the Museum of the City of New York announced an ambitious addition designed by Polshek Partnership Architects that would more than double the institution’s exhibition space.


    A rendering of the addition to the Museum of the City of New York.


    Now, 18 years later, the museum has finally broken ground.

    In an interview this week, the museum’s president and director, Susan Henshaw Jones, chose not to dwell on what took so long or why the current plan is considerably more modest than the original. Given what the museum has been through recently, the timing is perhaps unsurprising. Before Ms. Jones joined the board in 2003, the museum passed through one difficult chapter after another, from losing out on the Tweed Courthouse as a new home to being passed over for a place at ground zero to failing to merge with the New-York Historical Society.

    But these days, the museum is fiercely looking forward. Shovels are churning up the ground behind the museum on Fifth Avenue between 103rd and 104th Streets, where a new two-story glass gallery is to be completed by February 2008. “I don’t know about the past, but, boy, are we launched,” Ms. Jones said.

    Moreover, Ms. Jones said she had no regrets, and that not moving to the Tweed Courthouse — which was given to the Department of Education by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg after it had been promised to the museum by his predecessor, Rudolph W. Giuliani — turned out to be for the best. “He did us the greatest favor,” she said. “That building is not suited for museum use.”

    Perhaps more important, she said, the museum has an important opportunity to serve the public precisely where it is, at the juncture of East Harlem and the Upper East Side. Having considered new incarnations in alternative locations, the museum has rededicated itself to its native turf and to attracting nearby residents.

    “I think there is something already under way here: an institutionwide revitalization and a focus on our mission,” Ms. Jones said.

    The new wing tries to project a more inviting and inclusive identity for what is a city landmark built in the 1930’s. The original Polshek scheme was modern in form, but traditional in material, featuring Virginia brick. In its latest design, the gallery is made of fritted and translucent glass.

    “This is a complete contrast,” James S. Polshek, the architect, said. “Susan Jones said, ‘I want one physical, comprehensible, palpable sign that the museum is alive and well and entering the 21st century.’ ”

    The goal, he continued, is to “attract people to the museum who ordinarily would be put off by going into a neo-Classical or Georgian museum” with “a crystalline piece that is intended to break with tradition.”

    In addition to creating a new curatorial center, renovating the lobby and adding storage, the museum will thoroughly upgrade its existing building. The total cost is expected to be $42 million.

    The museum is also emphasizing programming intended to attract a mix of people. Its current show, for example, “Black Style Now,” explores how African-American fashions have evolved in New York City, from debutante ball gowns to hip-hop bling. In the marble lobby stand mannequins of the likes of Lil’ Kim and Lenny Kravitz. The grand entrance stairs are lined with candid photographs of life on the streets of Harlem.

    Other recent exhibitions have included “We Skate Hardcore,” featuring photographs of young Latino men in Williamsburg, Brooklyn; “Tolerance and Identity: Jews in Early New York”; and “El Barrio: Puerto Rican New York.”

    The museum is also trying to make it easier for people to drop by. Its “I’m a Neighbor” program offers free admission to people who live or work in the area. On “Telemundo Day” in August, the Spanish-language television network broadcast live from the museum. On Oct. 7, as many as 5,000 people are expected to attend a street festival that will include museum tours and live music. “We want to be open to our community,” Ms. Jones said.

    The city demonstrated its support for the museum’s direction with a $17 million contribution to the building project. City officials turned out in force for the museum’s groundbreaking, on Aug. 2. Kate D. Levin, the cultural affairs commissioner, called the museum “a compelling investment for the city.”

    Less clear is whether these efforts have improved the museum’s bottom line. In 2004 Ms. Jones said that her goal, by 2009, was to increase annual attendance to 500,000, from 150,000. It was 164,000 at the end of June, and Ms. Jones said that was a significant improvement from 98,700 in fiscal year 2003. Moreover, the museum has raised $10 million in private money for the $28 million first phase of the renovation, mostly from the trustees.

    In an era of architectural flourish, the museum’s expansion is relatively modest; it will not be visible from the museum’s front door. But Ms. Jones said she was unconcerned about receiving attention.

    “The completed renovation is going to be splashy and uplifting and feel as if it’s a totally new place,” she said. “I think we’re going along in a totally appropriate way.”

    Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

  7. #7

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    Why is this modest (to put it kindly) addition costing so much? Over $1300 per square foot without cost overruns.

    It promises to be even blander and more uninteresting than Piano's work on the Morgan.

    The original sure is handsome, though.

  8. #8
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    Spent a few hours in here yesterday...the current exhibition: "The Glory Days: New York Baseball 1947-1957" was mesmerizing. I was expecting the usual hyperbole when it comes to waxing nostalgic about this time period and subject matter, but I found myself surprisingly transported. Highly recommend it.

  9. #9

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    Back to the Future City

    By Oliver E. Allen
    POSTED NOVEMBER 2, 2007





    Ceaselessly growing and expanding, New York City has always provoked visions of the future. And at no time were such forecasts more popular than in the early years of the 20th Century, when ultra-tall skyscrapers were first jutting up from Manhattan’s bedrock. The drama and seeming promise of these tall towers appeared to forecast a more dramatic—and possibly even better—way of life for the city’s residents. Some of these long-ago imaginings are featured in a provocative exhibition entitled “New York Modern,” on view through next March at The Skyscraper Museum, 39 Battery Place in Battery Park City.

    The artists who claimed to see the future so clearly, especially those who sketched their ideas around the turn of the century, did not hesitate to think big. After all, it was a time of great confidence. It did not matter that both the automobile and the airplane were in their infancy; the artists were saying they would change our lives—which of course they actually did. In these views mammoth towers jostle each other for space, airships clutter the sky, cars and trucks clog the broad avenues and multiple bridges not only connect Manhattan to its sister boroughs but leap between the high-rise towers themselves. It’s a heady, noisy world.
    A generation later, in the 1920s, architects and planners were more concerned with the problems created by such headlong growth, especially congestion and overbuilding. So they set about recommending ways to control the traffic, separate the tall towers, open up the waterfront and provide more liveable housing. If some of their proposals look foolhardy today—who would want live in an apartment house lined up with others on the roadway of a bridge?—at least the planners were doing their best to keep the city from choking itself to death.
    And the irony about many of these glimpses into the future is the extent to which what they predicted actually came true. The city of broad avenues and high rises has come to pass. If you have any doubt, just step outside and look around.

  10. #10

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    400 Years and 400 Names: Museum Tweaks City A-List


    Clockwise from top left, Kay Simmon Blumberg, Sam Falk/The New York Times, Museum of the City of New York (Hamilton, Vincent Millay and Merman), Associated Press.

    MOVERS AND SHAKERS The Museum of the City of New York’s “Four Hundred” are far more democratic and eclectic than the original list of blue bloods. Clockwise from top left: Berenice Abbott, Mel Brooks, Alexander Hamilton, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Ethel Merman and Meyer Lansky.


    By SAM ROBERTS
    Published: September 8, 2009

    During the last Gilded Age, in the 1890s, the number of living New Yorkers over whom Mrs. William Astor presided as the doyenne of discriminating society was famously quantified as “the Four Hundred.”

    To introduce the celebration of Henry Hudson’s exploration this year, the Museum of the City of New York has compiled its own, more democratic list of 400 movers and shakers who have made a difference in the 400 years since Hudson arrived in 1609.

    The latest list, “The New York City 400,” to be unveiled on Wednesday, is peppered with a few surnames that would have been familiar on the original: two Astors (the first John Jacob and Brooke), four Rockefellers (David, Nelson, John D. and John D. Jr.) and three Roosevelts (Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor).

    But the museum’s curators and other experts have diluted the blue blood by compiling a list that, given its more eclectic and historically encompassing criteria, is more diverse (and also heavier on arts personalities). Taken together, these 400 are people whom New Yorkers might be more likely to encounter on the subway than in Mrs. Astor’s ballroom (that’s Caroline Astor — a grandmother of Brooke Astor’s husband Vincent). Among them are Fred Lebow, who organized the New York City Marathon; Meyer Lansky, the gangster; Larry Kramer, the playwright and a founder of the group Act Up, which led the fight for AIDS research; Frank Serpico, the whistle-blower cop; Jerry Seinfeld, the comedian; Douglas Durst, the real estate developer; Ian Schrager, the hotelier and co-founder of Studio 54; Kitty Genovese, whose screams as she was being stabbed to death were ignored by at least 38 Queens neighbors in 1964; Sean Combs, the hip-hop mogul and rapper; Edward W. Said, the Columbia professor and advocate for Palestinian rights; Jean-Michel Basquiat, the artist who began with graffiti; Elisha G. Otis, who perfected the elevator; and “Typhoid Mary” Mallon.

    “To celebrate the historic anniversary of the city’s founding, the museum decided to humanize the city’s history,” said Susan Henshaw Jones, the museum’s president. The list is being released in conjunction with the publication of the museum’s book, “New York 400: A Visual History of America’s Greatest City.” The full list can be found at nytimes.com/nyregion.

    Half the fun of lists like these is arguing about who is left off.
    “New York City 400 is definitely not a definitive list,” Ms. Jones said. “It is intended to be fun and provocative, stimulating New Yorkers and those who love New York City everywhere to think about others they believe should be on our next list of New York City 400.”

    Forty-three of the latest 400 are still alive. They include Woody Allen, Louis Auchincloss (the author and the museum’s chairman emeritus), Herman Badillo, Mel Brooks, Pete Hamill, Rupert Murdoch, Ralph Lauren, Maya Lin, Al Sharpton, Russell Simmons, Sonia Sotomayor, Donald Trump and Tom Wolfe.

    Among the recent mayors, Edward I. Koch, Rudolph W. Giuliani and Michael R. Bloomberg made the lineup, but David N. Dinkins and Abraham D. Beame did not. Albert Shanker, the former teachers’ union president (immortalized by Woody Allen in “Sleeper”) is listed, but what about Victor Gotbaum?
    Or Branch Rickey, who hired Jackie Robinson; Jack Maple, who developed the CompStat crime control system; Townsend Harris, who founded City College; Al Primo, who brought the “Eyewitness News” format to local television; Adriaen Van der Donck, whose lobbying produced the city’s first municipal charter in 1653; and Wally Pipp, whose “headache” in 1925 supposedly led to his replacement at first base, for the next 2,130 games, by Lou Gehrig?

    The original list of 400 was attributed to Ward McAllister, the late-19th-century arbiter of social status. “If you go outside that number,” he warned, “you strike people who are either not at ease in a ballroom or else make other people not at ease.”

    A century later, McAllister has been elevated to a unique position. He is the only person on the original Four Hundred to also make the museum’s list.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/09/ny...1&ref=nyregion

    Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

  11. #11

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    The NEW YORK CITY 400

    If you have plenty of time THE LIST

  12. #12

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