500 Fifth Avenue

A vertiginous stack of telescoping setbacks, 500 Fifth Avenue was designed in 1929 by Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, better known for the Empire State Building at 34th Street and Fifth. As a work of purely abstract massing, 500 Fifth Avenue may be the superior design, although it is certainly helped by the removal of a… Continue reading

Midtown – 42nd Street to 57th Street

Midtown Manhattan is defined in numerous ways, with some putting the lower borders of the district at 34th Street and others at 23rd Street.  In addition, the terms Midtown East and Midtown West are used to differentiate between zones to the east and west of Fifth Avenue itself, while the New York City Police Department… Continue reading

Just Off Fifth: Bryant Park

One of the best urban parks in the US and thought to be the most heavily used such park in the world, Bryant Park first opened to the public in 1847 as Reservoir Square, a public garden adjacent to the immense Croton Distributing Reservoir.  The site of the 1853 New York Crystal Palace Exhibition of… Continue reading

Patience and Fortitude

As our 250th post on “Every Building on Fifth” we visit two of the most immediately recognizable and beloved works of public art in the city. Officially named “Leo Astor” and “Leo Lennox” to honor two of the original major patrons of the New York Public Library’s collections, the pair of stone lions that guard… Continue reading

The New York Public Library, Main Branch

A major work of the American Beaux Arts and the largest marble building in the US at the time of its completion, the Main Branch of the New York Public Library was built in 1898 through 1911 to designs by Carrere & Hastings, with the sculptor Frederick MacMonnies overseeing the sculptural program.  The imposing façade,… Continue reading