Second Empire Style in New York

The Second Empire style takes its name from the reign of Napoleon III (1852-1870) – a period known as the Second Empire. During this time, Paris was transformed into a city of grand boulevards and monumental buildings. The Second Empire style is eclectic, drawing from Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque. Émile Zola, in one of his novels, described a…

Chateauesque and German/French Renaissance Revival in New York

Chateauesque is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a style based on sixteenth-century French chateaus in the Loire Valley of France. The elaborate revival style became popular between the 1880s and 1900s and was favored by the affluent. The Chateauesque architecture style is rather easy to identify. Its main characteristics are: Chateau-like appearance Round tower with…

Italian Renaissance Revival Architecture in New York

Italian Renaissance Revival spans the period from the 1890s to the 1930s, but its popularity peaked in 1900 – 1920. The original Italian Renaissance was itself a revival style that looked to emulate the Classical period. In its turn, 14th – 16th-century Florentine and Roman urban palazzi inspired its rebirth during the 20th century in America…

Beaux-Arts Architecture in New York

Beaux-Arts architecture takes its name from the legendary art school — the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Beaux-Arts, the academic architectural style taught there, was based on the aesthetic principles of neoclassicism. The style combines Roman and Greek classical architectural principles with Renaissance and Baroque stylings. Beaux-Arts buildings are majestic, ornate, and theatrical. With its…

Pomona of the Pulitzer Fountain

Architect: Thomas Hastings;  Sculpture: Karl Bitter, Isidore Conti Date: 1916 Location: Grand Army Plaza at Fifth Avenue between 58th and 59th Streets. The exquisite female figure atop the fountain in front of the Plaza Hotel is an allegorical depiction of Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruitful abundance. Symbolizing bounty, she holds a basket of fruit as…

St. Patrick’s Cathedral – one spectacular folly!

Architect: James Renwick Jr. Built: 1858-1879 John Hughes, Archbishop of New York, had a vision for a new, grandiose Catholic cathedral that would offset the indignities suffered by the Catholics in 19th century New York. They called it Hughes’ folly. Up until the 19th century, New York was a Protestant stronghold with an insignificant Catholic…

The Flatiron – what’s in the name?

Architect Daniel H. Burnham Date 1902 What better way to advertise a successful company than to have a striking building bear its name! The Fuller Company, one of the largest construction companies in the United States (aka the world), erected a highly unusual building to house its headquarters that was to be called the Fuller…

“Mesopotamian” in Manhattan

Although New York skyscrapers bear no restraint in height or a lack of diversity in architectural influences, colorful they are not! What separates the Fred F. French Building from the rest is its warm hue and multicolored decorations. The only “Mesopotamian” or “Babylonian” inspired skyscraper in Manhattan, The Fred F. French Building, is covered in…