Spanning New York, Old Hotels and a Reborn District (NYTimes)

“NEW YORK’s Golden Age of Bridges” (Fordham University Press) uses paintings by Antonio Masi and essays by Joan Marans Dim to span the gaps in the skyline by focusing on the physical connections that helped create Greater New York.

“Bridges are perhaps the most overlooked of the human-made, landscape-altering masterpieces of the New York cityscape,” the historian Harold Holzer writes in the foreword. He adds: “They are not the stuff dreams are made of; rather, at their best, they conduct us from one dream to the next.”

Mr. Masi, whose grandfather helped build the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, and Ms. Dim, an author who grew up on the Upper West Side and now lives in Brooklyn, guarantee through ghostly images and graphic reporting that, as Mr. Holzer writes, “it will be hard to cross a treasured New York City bridge with indifference again.”

“The Meatpacking District is famous today for glitz and glamour, but it used to be known for blood, muscleand sweat,” Pamela Greene writes. Most of that blood and muscle, at least, was nonhuman. Ms. Greene, a documentary photographer, captures the “irreverent” and “unpredictable” neighborhood’s evolution in “Blood and Beauty: Manhattan’s Meatpacking District” (Schiffer), a luscious tribute to gritty-turned-glossy, and some of the people who defined it.

“No one view of Gateway captures its full essence as a park,” write Alexander Brash, Jamie Hand and Kate Orff, the editors of “Gateway: Visions for an Urban National Park” (Princeton Architectural Press). But their book succeeds in capturing the potential of the more than 26,000 acres that surround Jamaica Bay in Brooklyn and Queens and are under the jurisdiction of New York City and State and the National Parks of New York Harbor.

“At various times in history, its sites have been exploited, celebrated as revelatory or precious, and adapted to meet military or security operations,” the editors write at the beginning of a book bursting with stunning photographs.

“Almost always unexpectedly beautiful, Gateway is a park in transition precisely because it is situated within a landscape and megaregion that are undergoing constant change themselves.”

They were, by definition, built to last, and many of them did. In “Built to Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York” (AuthorHouse), Stanley Turkel, who worked in the hotel industry, brings them to life again as they were originally envisioned.

In this passionate and informative book dotted with a sparing selection of photographs, he begins by recalling six classics that figured in his early career, then quotes an 1872 guidebook that proclaims New York “the paradise of hotels.” From the Aberdeen to the Wolcott, the hotels he features — some built as apartment hotels, some converted to apartments — were mostly constructed in the ensuing decades. Some, fortunately, are now officially landmarks.

By 

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/04/nyregion/nyc-bridges-hotels-and-gateway-park-bookshelf.html?ref=architecture

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