Last Wednesday— it took a while to edit my photos— I made it to the Park Avenue Armory on the last of the five days that the American Folk Art Museum presented Infinite Variety, Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts from the remarkable collection assembled by Joanna S. Rose. As she tells it in the brochure, Mrs. Rose was asked by her husband, a prominent real estate developer, what she’d like for her 80th birthday, to which she replied something she’d never seen before and something for New York. Turns out she had never seen the entire collection of 651 red and white American quilts that she has collected over the years. The collection was gifted to the American Folk Museum and the Armory was rented to run the show for five days with free admission to the public. Thinc Design was hired to design the exhibit which they did with elegant simplicity, leaving the show to the scale of the collection and the space. The quilts float and glow against the darkness of the massive vault. The collection is a powerful study in simple form, pattern and repetition. It is also an awesome meditation on the love and handiwork of American women over the centuries. If you missed it I am truly sorry. There will be a book I gather. But for now dear reader, please accept my humble photographs.
Someone has been doing some work to the ground floor of 46 Grand St in Williamsburg and I have been checking out the beautiful existing cast iron structural work that frames the opening. Interestingly, the header that spans the original storefront opening and supports the upper brick facade is arched. But more interestingly, it has a truss rod beneath it. I assumed that the original storefront had needed an arched detail at the top, but that made no sense if it would only be interrupted by the rod. Then I realized that the rod is holding the beam in tension to maximize its load bearing potential across that 25-30 span without exerting lateral force on the neighbors to the East and West and without having to be posted in the middle somewhere, thus providing a wide open storefront. Beautiful 19th Century stuff.
The Kingston Lounge is an incredible blog by Richard Nickel Jr. (a man I don’t know but would love to…) that documents abandoned and decaying buildings and spaces. Above is a photo from a recent entry documenting North Brother Island, but the blog takes its name from its maiden subject, the abandoned Kingston Lounge in Brooklyn. Incredible photography. Check it all out…
My dear friend Jessica sent along this (regrettably out-of-date) Gentlemen’s Companion, a guide to the better gentlemen’s establishments of New York City as published in 1870 and digitally archived by The New York Times. It is a funny little book with classic syntax and typography and a niche glimpse into the city’s historical landscape. Thanks J!