“I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York’s skyline. Particularly when one can’t see the details. Just the shapes. The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky over New York and the will of man made visible. What other religion do we need? And then people tell me about pilgrimages to some dank pesthole in a jungle where they go to do homage to a crumbling temple, to a leering stone monster with a pot belly, created by some leprous savage. Is it beauty and genius they want to see? Do they seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel. When I see the city from my window – no, I don’t feel how small I am – but I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body.”
― Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead
This is my first post in a series of pictorial essays on New York City. It’s an all too brief glimpse into the enigma and the phenomenon that is the city’s architecture, people, neighbourhoods, street life, bridges, subways, restaurants, taxis, and overall incomparable vibe and dynamic.
New York City is the largest city of the United States by population. It was settled in 1613 by Dutch and originally called New Amsterdam. New York City is popularly known as the “The Big Apple”, “Gotham City”, “Empire City”, “Fun City”, “The Naked City” and the “City That Never Sleeps”. Manhattan Island is often referred to as “The City” by New Yorkers, despite being only one part of the city itself. New York City is often referred to as “the Capital of the World”, due to its size, wealth, and for its hosting of the United Nations headquarters. To those living there, it is simply the Centre of the Universe.
“I’m going to show you the real New York – witty, smart, and international – like any metropolis. Tell me this: where in Europe can you find old Hungary, old Russia, old France, old Italy? In Europe you’re trying to copy America, you’re almost American. But here you’ll find Europeans who immigrated a hundred years ago – and we haven’t spoiled them. Oh, Gio! You must see why I love New York. Because the whole world’s in New York.”
― Oriana Fallaci
“Living in New York City, I am reminded by the Statue of Liberty that the United States of America has always welcomed those yearning to breathe free and seek a better life.”
– Charles B. Rangel
“The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World” was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the United States and is recognized as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886. It was designated as a National Monument in 1924.
“Many of America’s and New York’s sons and daughters are around the world fighting for the freedoms that the Statue of Liberty stands for.”
“And you have to remember that I came to America as an immigrant. You know, on a ship, through the Statue of Liberty. And I saw that skyline, not just as a representation of steel and concrete and glass, but as really the substance of the American Dream.”
Empire State Building
“In New York the sky is bluer, and the grass is greener, and the girls are prettier, and the steaks are thicker, and the buildings are higher, and the streets are wider, and the air is finer, than the sky, or the grass, or the girls, or the steaks, or the air of any place else in the world.”
“The skyscrapers began to rise again, frailly massive, elegantly utilitarian, images in their grace, audacity and inconclusiveness, of the whole character of the people who produces them.”
– Malcolm Muggeridge
“When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for; and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, ‘See! This our father did for us.'”
–John Ruskin, “The Seven Lamps of Architecture.” New York: The Noonday Press, 1961, p. 177
“I’m still walking around New York like a tourist staring up at all the skyscrapers. I wave at people, I shake hands, I help ladies with strollers.”
– Jack McBrayer
“New York is cold, glittering, malign. The buildings dominate. There is a sort of atomic frenzy to the activity going on; the more furious the pace, the more diminished the spirit. A constant ferment, but it might just as well be going on in a test tube. Nobody knows what it’s all about. Nobody directs the energy. Stupendous. Bizarre. Baffling. A tremendous reactive urge, but absolutely uncoordinated.”
– Henry Miller
“New York is vertical – all skyscrapers.”
– Tony Scott
“I go to Paris, I go to London, I go to Rome, and I always say, “There’s no place like New York. It’s the most exciting city in the world now. That’s the way it is. That’s it.”
– Robert De Niro
“We’ve all often heard the expression, ‘It’s cheaper to build new than it is to reconstruct.’ That’s not true. I’ve always found that it’s cheaper to use an existing structure. Now, doing so is more complicated, and you actually have to be a better builder to do that kind of work, but if you know what you’re doing, it costs you less money. A lot of the building is already done–you already have your structure–so that’s why it’s much cheaper. For example, I saved a substantial amount of money when I built Trump Park Avenue in New York City by reusing the Delmonico Hotel’s foundation, frame, and exterior.”
Water towers in New York are everywhere. Just look up and you’ll notice on top of New York’s buildings round, wooden structures that look like ancient relics from the past that were accidentally left there. The water towers in New York might look old and yes, they are, but they encompass the past, present, and most likely the future. As New Yorkers reached for the skies in the 1800’s, water towers became an intricate part of the buildings’ framework. As buildings grew taller than 6 stories, the main water infrastructure couldn’t handle the water pressure. Water towers were needed to move water safely to the 7th floor and above. Although they looks like remnants of the past, they are still very much in use today.
“At night… the streets become rhythmical perspectives of glowing dotted lines, reflections hung upon them in the streets as the wistaria hangs its violet racemes on its trellis. The buildings are shimmering verticality, a gossamer veil, a festive scene-prop hanging there against the black sky to dazzle, entertain, amaze.”
– Frank Lloyd Wright
“Sometimes, from beyond the skyscrapers, the cry of a tugboat finds you in your insomnia, and you remember that this desert of iron and cement is an island.”
― Albert Camus
“Unfortunately there are still people in other areas who regard New York City not as part of the United States, but as a sort of excrescence fastened to our Eastern shore and peopled by the less venturesome waves of foreigners who failed to go West to the genuine American frontier.”
– Robert Moses