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  • About midway through the Architecture of New York walking seminar, Context docents visit Grand Central Station.
  • Context's architecture of new york walking tour explores the full history of NYC's built environment
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  • Bryant Park is one of a series of architectural landmarks included in our Architecture of New York walk
  • Context's architecture of new york walking tour explores the full history of NYC's built environment
  • Context's architecture of new york walking tour explores the full history of NYC's built environment

Walk Description

This three-hour walking tour traverses one of the world's greatest thoroughfares, 42nd Street, to discuss architecture in New York City. Stretching from the East River to the Hudson River and cutting through the heart of Manhattan, 42nd Street features major monuments of American 20th-century architecture from the Beaux-Arts Grand Central Station to the Art Deco Chrysler Building to the new skyscrapers that highlight a famous – and transformed -- Times Square.

The walk is led by a docent from our network who is either a practicing architect or scholar of architectural history, and aims to give both an overview of the architectural history of the city and the fantastic ways that the human and built environments collide. We begin at the East River in the hidden residential enclave Tudor City. With the distinctive United Nations Building and spectacular views as a backdrop, we will situate ourselves and introduce the architectural history of New York. Our itinerary continues on East 42nd Street with several important structures, from the glass and concrete Ford Foundation Building, to a trio of skyscrapers that epitomize Art Deco style: the Daily News Building, the Chanin Building, and the famous Chrysler Building. Grand Central Station, a magnificent Beaux-Arts structure, is visited outside and inside to discuss the vast spaces and history of this temple to transportation. Just two blocks away, another Beaux-Arts building, Carrère and Hastings' New York Public Library, offers sumptuous exterior decoration and interiors for a different purpose.

The next stop is Times Square, where 42nd Street converges with Seventh Avenue and Broadway. We will discuss the history of this fabled intersection, its "red light" past and its recent metamorphoses to a center of international media. Restored early 20th-century theaters between Seventh and Eighth Avenues prompt us to discuss the establishment of the area in the late 19th-century as New York's Theater District. Crossing Eighth Avenue, we end our discussion with Raymond Hood's McGraw-Hill Building, a bookend – and counterpoint – to his Daily News News Building at the east end of the street. This structure, with its tiling and horizontal bands of windows, was the only New York building included in Hitchcock and Johnson's landmark 1932 publication, The International Style, and ushers in a new style of sleek modern skyscraper that has come to define the city's architecture in the 20th- and 21st-centuries

Duration: 3 hours
Category: Architecture
Venues: Chrysler Building, Ford Foundation, Grand Central Terminal, New York Public Library
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    Emma Bowen

    Emma Bowen is a design historian and educator who currently teaches in the School of Art and Design History and Theory and the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. A former educator for New York’s Lower East Side Tenement Museum and research fellow in Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum's Department of Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design, Emma consistently explores how visual culture represents the merging of social experience and place. She received a Master of Arts degree in the History of Decorative Arts and Design from Parsons, in conjunction with the Cooper-Hewitt, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architectural Studies from Connecticut College. Emma is a member of the College Art Association and the Ethical Fashion Forum, as well as a contributor to HAND / EYE Magazine.

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    Matico Josephson

    Matico Josephson has been a student of New York's built environment for as long as he can remember, and an explorer of the city's nooks and crannies for even longer. His curiosity has found an outlet in the History of Architecture, in which he has recently been pursuing a Ph.D. at NYU's Institute of Fine Arts. He will prepare a dissertation on modern architecture in Spain.

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    Hansel Hernandez-Navarro

    Hansel Hernandez-Navarro is an architectural conservator specializing in cultural resource management and the preservation and rehabilitation of historic buildings and monuments. Over the years, Hansel has gained extensive experience through a variety of projects involving the preservation and conservation of historic and cultural resources. He has done site conservation work in the US, Italy, India, and Portugal. Hansel has also had various research and writing roles at the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles,
    the World Monuments Fund, and the Museum of the City of New York. Hansel received his Master's in historic preservation from Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. He is also active in the documentation and preservation of buildings of the modern movement.

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    Michelle Cianfaglione

    Michelle Cianfaglione received her undergraduate degree in architecture from the University at Buffalo and her masters in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. During her education, she traveled extensively through Italy and Japan studying art and architecture. She is a third generation New Yorker who lives and breathes the culture of the city. Michelle is a published artist, avid photographer, and a member of Design in 5, which is affiliated with the Architectural League of New York. She began her career at Studio Daniel Libeskind and is currently teaching architecture at the New York Institute of Technology while practicing architecture here in NYC.

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    Andrew Magnes

    Andrew Magnes is an Architect and Artist. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drawing from the University of Florida and a Master of Architecture degree from New School University, Parsons School of Design. After working for several New York Based architecture firms, he founded his own practice, amProjects, in 2007. Andrew is particularly interested in how cultural and social shifts redefine architectural and urban form. In the Fall of 2011, he will be teaching Architecture at SUNY Orange.

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    Meisha Hunter

    Meisha Hunter is an architectural historian and a historic preservationist. In 2007, she was awarded the Rome Prize in Historic Preservation from the American Academy in Rome, where her research focused on the construction history, water management, and stewardship of a still-active, 21km long, 2000 year old aqueduct. Her writing, travel and collaborative projects focus on historic waterworks infrastructure and her photographs have been exhibited in Florence and Rome. She currently lives and works in New York City.

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    Daniel London

    Having earned his Master’s degree in History and Philosophy at the CUNY Graduate Center, Daniel London continues his pursuit of the urban past through intensive research into the following questions: How have cities been built, experienced and imagined by different social groups across time? How have these understandings conflicted or converged with each other? And finally, how have these discussions and debates impacted the city we see today? He is currently teaching a course on American Urban History, working at the Museum of the City of New York, and is planning his dissertation on public space in early-twentieth century New York.