Ever since I can remember, the Empire State Building has been one of my favorite buildings in the world. As an aspiring architect, at a very young age, not aware about the architectural styles or the urban planning genius that New York is, I fell in love with the Empire State Building and with it, the city of New York. Growing up and learning about the Manhattan grid, outer boroughs, art deco style of architecture, the culture and heritage of the city in architecture school, my uninformed love for the city found a few reasons and how.
As an architect, the urban planning and styles of Architecture found in the city of New York is nothing short of genius to me and not just that; there are a lot of other factors that go into making a city as culturally diverse and driven as New York to be a successful institution. Here are some noteworthy things about New York that I’ve grown to appreciate.
Aerial View – Central Park
Manhattan and the outer boroughs, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island collectively form the most populous city in United States, New York. So how does the most densely populated, most culturally diverse, ever growing, fast paced city like New York keep up with it’s own pace? The answer to that lies in the genius that the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811 is. Parts of Manhattan were modified and a Rectangular Grid was set in place. The plan is considered to be “the single most important document in New York City’s development.” Formulating a plan that is as flexible and as accommodating of the city’s uncertain growth is a feat in itself. The successful execution of the plan while facing political and ownership disputes is a remarkable achievement in the city’s history. The rest of the city grew around that and the grid still prevails. New York City’s planning has always inspired art and literature. Piet Monderiaan, the Dutch painter also paid a tribute to the city’s planning by making a wonderful Monderiaan piece inspired by it.
When you hear New York, you think skyscrapers and rightly so. New York is home to over 6486 high rise buildings. A lot of these skyscrapers form the iconic New York City skyline. The One World Trade Center, Chrysler Tower , Empire State Building, 40 Wall Street and several other such signatures on the NYC skyline give the city it’s beautiful silhouette. Guggenheim Museum designed by FLW is yet another iconic structure found amidst the fast paced city.
Amidst the rectangular grid pattern which is often criticised as being too monotonous, it becomes a challenge for planners and designers to develop structures that stand out and thus the city has a seen a variety of architectural styles spanning over periods of Gothic revival, Art Deco and post modernism. The Woolsworth Building is a prime example of a Gothic Architecture Skyscraper. Chrysler Tower and Empire State Building are among the finest Art Deco buildings of the world. Even Frank Lloyd Wright has blessed the city with a modernist architecture touch. Residential buildings in and around New York are brownstone rowhouses or townhouses. Each building with its distinctive characteristic forms that New York City Style of Architecture.
HEART OF THE WORLD
Times Square in midtown Manhattan is called the Heart of The World and rightly so. The Times Square is one of the busiest areas in the world and also one of the most visited tourist locations in the world. It acts as a hub for the city’s entertainment industry and is one of the many iconic tourist places in New York.
PEOPLE AND DIVERSITY
For an ever increasing organism that the city of New York is, the people are it’s source of energy and vice versa. The people of New York is what keeps the city up and running and keep up with it’s fast paced life. The city of New York is the most culturally diverse city in the world with populations of people from different countries and races, religions and sexual orientations.
A world as diverse as this city is bound to generate inspiring art and media. The whole world has their eye on New York and its representation in pop culture. Humans of New York, a blog and a book by Brandon Stanton is an excellent documentation of the people of New York and their individualities. New York based vlogger Casey Neistat’s YouTube channel is a great place to get a feel of the city from anywhere in the world. The bright and bustling life of the city is what draws people and culture to it.
STREETS AND SUBWAY
The New York city subway is the largest transit system with 472 stations. These stations are located throughout the City and outer boroughs and the subway lines are bloodlines of the city. The system is also one of the longest and busiest system in the world. This complex system of metro lines aids connectivity throughout the city but not without the help of the streets of New York. The streets of New York are an important aspect of the city. The grid pattern of planning plays an important role in improving this mixed use connectivity.
New York sports some iconic examples of suspension bridges. As if skyscrapers against the sky wasn’t defining enough for a city, New York has strikingly beautiful bridges like The Manhattan Bridge, The Brooklyn Bridge George Washington Bridge among a few others. These bridges aid vehicular connectivity across the city and display the authentic style of architecture found around New York.
ART AND OTHER MEDIA
New York as a city is very inspiring to artists of all mediums. So it only makes sense that the city’s appreciation of art around the world is reciprocated. New York has a number of art galleries for theater arts, visual arts and other performance arts. Art in the city is not confined to galleries and graffiti on the streets of Brooklyn and street performers throughout the city are a welcome common sight. Guggenheim, Broadway and MoMA are mammoths in the field of arts and are all found in the heart of New York. Fashion is equally represented throughout the city. The New York Fashion Week, one of the most important events in the international fashion industry is held annually in New York.
THE NEW YORK MINUTE
The city’s pace and rhythm is a tough one to keep up with for people who are not New Yorkers. So much so, that there’s a term coined called The New York Minute that means a very short amount of time. The city of New York with it’s beautiful, organized chaos is up and running all day, all night at a speed one can only dream of.
The city of New York has as much to offer as you ask of it. The spirit of the city is like a neon sign on a dark night – enlightening and inviting. If you ever get a chance to travel to this timezone and live New York minutes, be sure to hold onto that.
An Arch Attire Production