Landmarks of New York

April 30, 2009
July 12, 2009

An exhibition of 83 photographs documenting some of the most significant buildings and public parks in New York City will be on view at The New-York Historical Society from April 30 through July 12, 2009, in the exhibition Landmarks of New York. The exhibition has traveled to 82 countries under the sponsorship of the United States Department of State since 2006 and is now coming home to New York for its final showing. The photographs in the exhibition will then enter the collection of the New-York Historical Society, through a donation from the exhibition's curator, Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel.

"Among American cities, New York is the leader in the preservation of its landmarks, and in the range and quality of its surviving architectural resources. The abundance and variety of these buildings is surprising, ranging from the best efforts of our finest architects, to excellent examples of vernacular building types," said Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel. "It is an architectural record that touches upon every aspect of life. Hidden within this great metropolis is evidence of our proudest achievements: the taverns and farms of the eighteenth century; the factories, banks and offices of the nineteenth; and three centuries of urban housing that speaks to the needs of every group—from the modest to the well-to-do. In its twentieth-century civic buildings, factories, office towers, universities, museums, parks, and houses of worship, one will find the history of New York's citizenry written large in buildings that express their most noble aspirations and deepest values."

Each of the photographs in Landmarks of New York is accompanied by historic descriptive text about the landmark and its significance to the social fabric of New York. The photographs, selected from more than 1,224 landmarks designated between 1965 and March 2009, includes buildings constructed between 1640 and 1967. Some notable examples (photographed by Jeanne Hamilton, Christine Osinski, Michael Kingsford , Michael Stewart , Courtesy the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Christopher D. Brazee and Tony Gonzales) include Bowne House (1661) in Queens, and in Manhattan, City Hall (1803-12), Chrysler Building (1928-30), Empire State Building (1930-31), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Interior (1956-59), One Chase Manhattan Plaza (1957) and Ford Foundation Building (1963-1967).

"It is fitting that Landmarks of New York should complete its international tour at the New-York Historical Society," said Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the Historical Society. "New York's architecture is recognized around the world, and the Historical Society is proud to document its evolution."

"We are thrilled to add the photographs from the exhibition to our collection," said Marilyn Kushner, New-York Historical Society Curator and Head, Department of Prints, Photographs and Architectural Collections. "Architects, architectural historians and preservationists use the Historical Society's resources as they design, restore, and renovate. The addition of these photographs greatly enhances our collection."

New York City has been a leader among American cities in preserving the architectural past. Its landmarked buildings and parks tell a story that dates from the taverns and farm houses of the eighteenth century to the warehouses, offices, and grand residences of the nineteenth century to the skyscrapers, museums and parks of the twentieth century. More than 25,000 buildings in the five boroughs of New York City have been granted landmark status, including 1,215 individual landmarks, 110 interior landmarks, 10 scenic landmarks and 92 historic districts.

The exhibit was originally conceived to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the passage of the New York City Landmarks Law, and embodies the spirit of the City as seen through its built environment. "That in the four years since this exhibit was originally mounted, nearly 30 percent of these distinguished structures have undergone significant renovation or important additions, approved by the Commission, testifies to the New York City Landmarks Law's ability to grow with, and adapt to, a buildings needs and that Landmarks are far from frozen in time," observed Ms. Diamonstein-Spielvogel. Click here to watch Landmarks of New York on WNET/Thirteen’s SundayArts!

Creative: Tronvig Group