leisure 04.13.11

Walking Off the Big Apple

We've been fans of Teri Tynes' Walking Off the Big Apple, a strolling guide to NYC, from the minute we started reading it. So we were thrilled when Teri agreed a few months ago to let us syndicate one of her walks every Wednesday in MUG. Yesterday, Teri and her site were selected as an Official Honoree for the 2011 Webby Awards. Congratulations, Teri! Today's walk:


A Walk for the Optimistic Modernist:
From MoMA to the United Nations

Great modernist architecture and design, in form and function, should be uplifting, utopian, and optimistic, embed with hope for the future. Some people loathe modernist architecture, but it's usually a dislike directed toward the sort of buildings that have corrupted and ravaged this hope, structures that end up crushing the human spirit rather than uplifting it. For fans of sleek International Style and postwar design, and I am one of them, a walk connecting several fine modern buildings and public spaces in Midtown can lift up the spirits.


An architect friend, a self-professed fan of modernist architecture, claims New York is still basically a 19th century city. He has a point. Many of us spend our New York days surrounded by less-than-modern buildings, from the residential townhouses dating from the mid-19th century to cast-iron buildings popular in the 1870s and 1880s to Beaux-Art-style commercial buildings and monuments. We're well-versed in Gothic Revival, Italianate, Romanesque Revival, Queen Anne, and Roman Revival.

In many places, however, such as in Midtown, the historical trends in architecture from the 19th century to the present are often assembled in the visual field all together at once. The older buildings often nicely set off the modernist ones and vice versa. This self-guided architectural walk from MoMA to the UN highlights the promise of New York at mid-century and the civic optimism of the postwar years. [Continued]












[Main image
courtesy of Shutterstock]


Park Slope

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