Thu, 16 April 2015
The Chelsea Piers were once New York City’s portal to the world, a series of long docks along the west side of Manhattan that accommodated some of the most luxurious ocean liners of the early 20th century. Passenger ocean travel became feasible in the mid 19th century due to innovations in steam transportation, allowing for both recreational voyages for the wealthy and a steep rise in immigration to the United States. The Chelsea Piers were the finest along Manhattan’s busy waterfront, built by one of New York’s greatest architectural firm as a way to modernize the west side. Both the tragic tales of the Titanic and the Lusitania are also tied to the original Chelsea Piers.
Thu, 2 April 2015
In our last show, we left the space that would become Bryant Park as a disaster area; its former inhabitant, the old Crystal Palace, had tragically burned to the ground in 1858. The area was called Reservoir Square for its proximity to the Murray Hill Reservoir, the imposing Egyptian-like structure to its east, but it wouldn't keep that name for long.
William Cullen Bryant was a key proponent to the creation of Central Park, but it would be on this spot that the poet and editor of the New York Evening Post would receive a belated honor in 1884 with the re-naming of old Reservoir Park to Bryant Park.
With the glorious addition of the New York Public Library in 1911, the park received some substantial upgrades, including its well-known fountain. Over twenty years later, it took on another curious present -- a replica of Federal Hall as a tribute to George Washington.
By the 1970s Bryant Park was well known as a destination for drug dealers and most people shied away from its shady paths, even during the day. It would take a unique plan to bring the park back to life and a little help from Hollywood and the fashion world to turn it into New York City's most elegant park.