intersection 03.19.13

Every Person in New York

SHoP's plan for Williamsburg.

2 Marble Stores
In south Brooklyn is the High Quality Marble, 93 19th [Hamilton] Bklyn 718.499.7146, studio and workshop. The owner has been in the city for over 15 years, having trained in Hong Kong by one of that city's premiere marble importers and fabricators. They do stonework – mostly granite countertops, marble vanities, and fireplaces – but other custom work as well.

R. G. New York Tile, 225 W. 29th [7th/8th] 212.629.0712, may not be much to look at, but it has good prices plus huge slabs of marble – and you're better off choosing from a big chunk than a small perfect sample.

The Met
The Elgin Marbles, superstars of the marble world, are still in the British Museum (much to the displeasure of the Greeks). But the Met contains such rich treasures of marble, it's hard to pick out favorites. If we had to pick one, it would probably be the marble statuette of a seated harp player – it seems so freshly wrought that it's difficult to believe it was created ca. 2800-2700 B.C.

Marble Lions
Patience and Fortitude guard the NY Public Library but they're only the tip of the library's marble cache. In fact, when the library opened, it was the largest marble building in the country. You can read the story of its architect, John Carrère, and the building of the library, in the historical novel The Library Book by John Fiske.

The Marble Palace
At Chambers and Broadway (NE corner) is a building that became known as the Marble Palace – a nickname for A. T. Stewart's emporium, the first department store in New York. The white Tuckahoe marble in which the building was clad, according to Christopher Gray, was "astonishing in a city otherwise dominated by earth tones…"

2 Marble Cemeteries
Yes, two unrelated 'marble' cemeteries, both in the East Village: the New York City Marble Cemetery, on Second Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues and the New York Marble Cemetery on Second Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Streets. The former contains the remains of a prominent New York merchant who probably has the best name ever: Preserved Fish. The latter looks little like a cemetery as there are no headstones. Burial is in marble vaults underground and markers are on marble tablets on the surrounding walls. It's where President James Monroe was, for a time, buried. The two cemeteries are open to the public only infrequently. The one on 2nd Street has a Spring Open Day on Sunday, May 5; on Second Avenue, they open on the fourth Sunday of the month in warm weather. Next open date: April 28.

Marble Collegiate
Marble Collegiate Church at 5th and 29th traces its local roots to a loft over a gristmill where services were first held on what is now South William Street, after which a church was erected in 1633 at what is now 33 Pearl Street. The current church was dedicated in 1854, named for the marble shipped from a quarry in Hastings-on-Hudson. It became a designated landmark in 1967.

And more marble… Another beauty, the Manhattan Appellate Courthouse, the marble-clad Beaux Arts building (1900) by James Brown Lord, incorporates 30 figures by 16 sculptors of major lawgivers and ideas in the history of law. One of these is Justice by Daniel Chester French (who created Lincoln in marble for the Lincoln Memorial).

There's Inwood marble, and Marble Hill (in the Bronx, but legally part of Manhattan), and the lobby of the Empire State Building, among many other examples…

Finally, most people don't know that there was once a marble arch in Central Park, built in 1862. According to Edward J. Levine, whose book Central Park: Postcard History contains the image below, "It was destroyed in the 1930s when the powers that be realigned the park drives to improve the flow of automobile traffic. The pieces of the ruined arch were buried in place, and the remains are still underground, just south of the volleyball courts."

Jason Polan started Every Person in New York in March of 2008. He plans on working on the project until it is finished. Look for Every Person in New York on Tuesdays in MUG and daily at Jason's site.

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