New York, New York: How the Apartment House Transformed the Life of the City (1869-1930)

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A.A. Knopf, 1993 - Apartment houses - 285 pages
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A brilliant exercise in urban archaeology: a completely original interpretive account of the golden age of the New York luxury apartment house, a book that reveals how New York was transformed architecturally, socially, and psychologically from a provincial place to a great metropolis.
With the help of 65 photographs, drawings, and floor plans, Elizabeth Hawes shows us how New York changed from a town of private-house dwellers in the Civil War years to the great city of the Roaring Twenties and the dawn of the Art Deco Thirties, when 98 percent of the population had become apartment dwellers. She shows us how Victorian New York became modern New York, how the plush decors of rich nineteenth-century New Yorkers evolved into the cool, the white, the cubist style, the modern style.
We see how such memorable apartment buildings as the Stuyvesant, the Villard Houses, the Dakota, the Navarro, and the Apthorp sprang up in all their Queen Anne, neo-Gothic, and High and Low Renaissance glory out of the rubble of recently demolished brownstones...how the apartment, which began as an awkward imitation private house, emerged as a genre of its own...how the changes wrought in New York social life reverberated in the lives and work of such people as Henry James, Edith Wharton, and William Dean Howells.
We meet the architects, builders, and financiers who were responsible for the triumph of the apartment house - among them, Richard Morris Hunt, Charles Mott, Paul E. M. Duboy, Emory Roth, Jay Gould, John La Farge, Henry Hardenbergh, Whitney Warren and Charles Wetmore, W. K. Vanderbilt, and William Waldorf Astor. We discover how to "read" an apartment building - what its location, size, look, texture, style, and design can tell us about the life of a city. And we meet the society grandes dames, the celebrated men and women, the style setters, who made apartment-dwelling "the thing" in New York.
Taking us inside the often amazingly innovative, often extraordinarily beautiful and luxurious apartment houses, this book makes us feel what it must have been like to live in these "cloud palaces" as opulent pioneers of a new kind of New York life. More profoundly, it shows how social and economic forces and human needs and dreams continue to change our lives - and it enriches our understanding of a great city.

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User Review  - MelissaHamilton - LibraryThing

Tom Chiarella was one of my freshman English teachers, and I had an enormous crush on him, so perhaps I'm not the most objective reader. But I loved his story "Berard's Rapture," which was originally published in the New Yorker and is found in this collection. Read full review

Review: New York, New York: How the Apartment House Transformed the Life of the City (1869-1930)

User Review  - Elizabeth - Goodreads

Thoughtful and well-researched history of apartment buildings in NYC from 1850s-1929. Read full review

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Contents

Irving Place 1869
5
Richard Morris Hunt
15
The Tradition of Houses
25
Copyright

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