Forgotten NYC Architectural Masterpieces – My Top Three Picks

This can be broken down into a category page, with the three landmarks as independent posts.

Forgotten NYC Architectural Masterpieces – My Top Three Picks

In his 1976 novel Slapstick, Kurt Vonnegut famously dubbed NYC as the “The Skyscraper National Park”. And can you really fault the man?!

After all, skyscrapers of New York city look tall not just in height but numbers and variety too, especially when compared to other cities around North America, or the world for that matter.

Yet, often its the less talked about yet equally smaller landmarks that catch my imagination and love for architecture. Search for one, you’ll find a whole bunch of them in and around the city.

Forget having simple home insurance; these feats listed below most likely have a gazillion-dollar payout insurance policy. That said, here are the top picks that inspire me.

The Gingerbread House

The Arts and Crafts movement, which began in the late 1800s was centered around designing exteriors and interiors using medieval and folk forms of decoration.

The Gingerbread house, built in 1917 is a prime example of that movement, which to this day offers architecture enthusiasts like me and many others a taste of the ‘Hansel and Gretel’ feel in a post-modern era of fluid lines and robust shapes.

Situated in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, the folksy house was crafted from uncut stone and features rolled-edge roof. Its unusually spacious when you compare it with other independent houses in Brooklyn.

Sitting on 20,000 square feet of prime property, the Gingerbread house is literally the size of a city park in these parts.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Another prominent NYC landmark, the Cathedral of Saint Patrick is a Roman Catholic church with an architecture that leans heavily towards the Neo-Gothic style.

And it is huge – the size of a whole city block to be precise! While the cathedral’s cornerstone was laid in 1858, the church itself was given public access, 21 years later.

Staring at the St. Patrick Cathedral, you would never imagine that the whole church, as it looks now, actually took years and years of renovation.

For instance, the majestically long and tapering spires were added to the structure in 1888; the stained-glass windows were crafted between 1912 and 1930 whereas the latest renovation in 2012 lasted three years and cost roughly $177 million.

Having survived one Civil War and a terrorist bombing, this cathedral, to me, symbolizes resolve and beauty.

Brooklyn Museum

In terms of sheer size, the Brooklyn Museum is the third largest museum to grace the ground of the Big Apple. Founded in 1895, the museum was envisaged to be the world’s largest art museum of that time.

However, the antiquity repository struggled to maintain not just the building but also its collection until it was given a shot in the arm through major renovations during the early phase of the 20th century.

Take a walk inside the museum and you shall notice the tight embrace between the structure’s steel skeleton and classical masonry, as imagined by its architectural-dreamers at the time- McKim, Mead and White.

The pediment sculptures as well as the near 4-metre monolithic figures situated along the museum’s cornice were designed by Daniel Chester French of the ‘Lincoln Memorial’ fame, and carved to perfection by Piccirilli Brothers.