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Recounts New York City's transformation from a provincial, Victorian town to a bustling city, focusing on the architectural emergence of the apartment building after the Civil War and its influence.
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Hawes's fine book, her first, employs architectural criticism, economic chronicle, and urban sociology to create a picture of how Manhattan turned from a series of pastures broken by single-family dwellings into a breathtaking erector set of multiple dwellings: a shift to modernity as a reliable indicator of ``the workings of the urban mind.'' Prior to 1869, anyone who didn't have to live communally in a single building certainly never would. Ensconced in their brownstones around Gramercy Park, the social elite believed in a lack of ostentation, in tempered privacies. But that would change. An architect like Richard Morris Hunt would introduce the ``French flat'' to New York as an alternative to the residential hotel--and for decades thereafter, apartment living became the choice of the bohemian, artistic, nonconforming crowd--safely removed from Society by its eccentricity. (The entire West Side--considered before the turn of the century akin to living in Montana--started off as blithely self-regulating as it essentially has remained.) But then the great mansions of Vanderbilt, Tiffany, and Villard went up in Midtown, and suddenly blue-blood New York had to cope with display and grandeur--and this in time broke down the walls: Polite people perhaps could live in something visually assuming, ornamented, lush, maybe even overlush. The family would not fall apart if domiciled above another, similar family; the subway made the far reaches of uptown livable; and the rebuilding of the city in an image of multiples began. Hawes valuably includes a list of the great apartment houses still standing--but more valuably still creates a context for how a city imagines itself in space (inextricable from the American city's special problem of staying classless while enforcing social hierarchies), employing the novels of Edith Wharton and William Dean Howells, and a wealth of forgotten socioarchitectural journalism so bracing it's a shame the craft has fallen into disuse. A wonderful book. (Sixty-six photographs, drawings, and floor plans) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
The so-called Great Era of Luxury Apartment Building, 1869 to 1929, marked New York City's evolution from town to city, from the tradition-bound to modernity. In her first book, Hawes, a former New Yorker staff writer, tells the story in an understated, detail-rich style. She ranges from Richard Morris Hunt, the architect whose Paris sojourn shaped his views of urbanization, to the growth of the utopian-influenced cooperative apartment complexes in the 1880s. She offers histories of famous buildings like the Dakota, named in 1881 for its remoteness on the still rural Upper West Side, and the Waldorf-Astoria, "a microcosm of the urban good life." She explains how the subway stimulated apartment building, how architects adapted classic vocabulary for their projects and how real estate agents hyped these new properties. By the 1920s, an apartment "had become a symbol of the stylish life," Hawes writes; in an appendix, she lists the 86 buildings of the era still standing in Manhattan. Illustrations not seen by PW.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Knopf, 1993. Hardcover. Condition: New. Brand New!. Seller Inventory # VIB0394556410
Book Description Knopf. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0394556410 New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW7.0136626
Book Description Knopf, 1993. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0394556410
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # STR-0394556410