Exploring New York City’s Historic Architecture

Exploring New York City’s Historic Architecture

The sixth annual Archtober festival kicked off at the start of this month, with some of the activities including exploring some of New York City’s historic architecture. After all, it is no secret that New York City is a city that is rich in history with many historic structures to help bring those historic moments back to life.

Appreciating Architecture with Archtober

Archtober is a month-long festival also referred to as New York City’s Architecture and Design Month. The festival’s mission is to present special tours, films, lectures and exhibitions with a focus on the importance of architecture and design in everyday life. Organized by the Center for Architecture, the festival strives to raise awareness of the important role of design in the city as well as the richness of the city’s built environment.

Celebrating Historic Structures

In an effort to achieve this goal, one of the exhibits featured during Archtober is one that looks at the history of adaptive reuse in the city. The “Authenticity and Innovation” exhibit examines preservation projects that fall outside of those overseen by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. The exhibit asks how these buildings have been repurposed to serve modern needs. The exhibit focuses on 28 different sites, ranging from an abandoned trolley terminal that as transformed into an underground park to a former barrel factory that was repurposed into a luxury hotel.

Adding More Historic Structures to the List

The New York State Board of Historic Preservation has recommended adding 22 additional properties, districts and resources to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Among these recommendations is the historic Hudson Theatre, which first opened its doors in 1903. A Broadway house located in Manhattan’s Theater District, construction of the theatre took place between 1902 and 1903 under the direction of Broadway producer Henry B. Harris. It was already designated a New York City landmark in 1987.

The first production to take place at the Hudson Theatre was Cousin Kate, starring Ethel Barrymore. Other stars who have graced the stage include William Holden, Douglas Fairbanks, Judith Anderson and Barbara Stanwyck. Later, the theatre was home to the first incarnation of The Tonight Show, which was hosted by Steve Allen in 1954. Later converted to a movie house before reopening as the Savory Rock Club in 1980 and then serving as conference space for the Millennium Broadway Hotel, it returned to its theatrical roots in 2015 when the Ambassador Theatre Group announced it would be reopening the Hudson. The new era of the Hudson will kick off on March 2017 with a revival of Lanford Wilson’s Burn This starring Jake Gyllenhaal.

Exploring New York City’s Historic Districts

Of course, New York City is also home to many historic districts, with approximately 139 historic districts existing in the city. Some of these districts consist of only a few structures while others, like Greenwich Village, have over 2,000 buildings. Among these smaller districts are the Perry Avenue Historic District, the Stockholm Street Historic District and the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company Historic District.

Consisting of just nine Queen Anne-style homes constructed between 1910 and 1912, the Perry Avenue Historic District is located in Bedford Park in the Bronx. Meanwhile, the Stockholm Street Historic District is in Queens is the smallest the borough has to offer. Situated in Ridgewood between Woodward Avenue and Onderdonk Avenue, the district consists of just 38 buildings. The Eberhard Faber Pencil Company Historic District in Manhattan’s Greenpoint features just seven buildings centered on the northwest corner of East 89th Street and Lexington Avenue.