A guide to art in NYC, with families in mind.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

goARCHkids: Harlem History

Hidden in Harlem, you find one fantastic architectural gem after another. The kids are always interested and surprised by the faces that look down on them as they stroll along the sidewalk. On the corner of 119th Street and Lenox Avenue, we met up with this somewhat ambiguous looking woman. We couldn't decide if she looked frightened or just pensive, contemplating the changes she'd witnessed over the past 110 years. This building was built in 1901 as the cornerstone plainly proclaims. It was designed by architect Robert T. Lyons who would go on to build another beaux-arts pile on the corner of 89th & CPW, as well as about 30 more buildings in NYC including the Bromley, and the Grammercy Park Hotel. In 1913, Lyons even built the world's tallest building on 79th and Park. It was seventeen stories high, five more than any other building. Yet there appears to be no readily discovered record of this early building and the woman who guards over it. This building went up in Harlem the year Queen Victoria died and Theodore Roosevelt became president. 110 years, from building the subway, the Jazz Age, Harlem Renaissance, to the Black Panthers! Can you imagine what has happened on the corner of 119th and Lenox in that time?