Tag Archives: East Village

East Village - Cooper Union Foundation Building

East Village (Manhattan)

Work In Progress: This neighborhood gallery is not yet complete.

The East Village was once among New York’s most prestigious residential neighborhoods, with elegant architecture in classical styles. In the mid-1800s wealthy New Yorkers moved “uptown” and waves of immigrants moved in. Pieces of Germany, Eastern Europe, and much later Latin America all became part of the Lower East Side tenement tapestry.

More than 30 individual landmarks and four historic districts earned protection of The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. The top 12 are referenced below. The NYC Landmarks Map is highly recommended!

One of the most important landmarks anchors the northwest corner of the district: The Cooper Union Foundation Building. This building was the first to use rolled iron “I” beams, so essential to development of skyscrapers. The building also contained an elevator shaft – even before passenger elevators were available. Additionally, this is where then-candidate Abraham Lincoln gave an address that catapulted him to the nomination and the Presidency.

The photos here are just a sampling of the most picturesque buildings.

East Village Recommended Reading
East Village Building Photos

◉ = Landmark. This table is sortable and searchable.

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51 Astor Place

51 Astor Place

51 Astor Place, scorned as the “Death Star” of Greenwich Village, is an imaginative form for the irregular former site of Cooper Union’s engineering school.

The Village Voice‘s harsh words may be familiarity-bred contempt. The Voice was headquartered just two blocks south during the years of construction.

Certainly, the blue-black mirror-glass edifice towers over and clashes with most of its low-rise masonry landmark neighbors. Paradoxically, the reflective facade makes the 1906 landmark Wanamaker’s Annex twice as prominent.

Viewed from the west, the Fourth Avenue facade seems simple a simple monolith, like a giant tower PC. (A fitting image, as the prime tenant is IBM!) From any other angle, the irregular pentagon takes on more complex forms. The east side of the tower incorporates an optical illusion. The wall is split diagonally into narrow panes of light-colored glass above wide panes of dark-colored glass, giving the appearance of a faceted facade. The view from above (via Google Earth) is revealing.

The eastern side of the building – with separate entry numbered 101 Astor Place – is now the Manhattan campus of St. John’s University.

Meanwhile, Architect Magazine explains why and how the Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue facades are different. The Metals in Construction article explains the building’s complexities.

51 Astor Place Vital Statistics
51 Astor Place Recommended Reading

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