The Insider's Connection

Architecture

The Disappearing and Reappearing Lenin Statue

Whose decisions impact New York City’s skyline? Does a recognizable statue at the intersection of art, politics, and architecture change meaning when moved from its intended location? What story does your building tell?…

The Birth and Purpose of Rutherford Place

 Does your house or apartment building tell a story? Who was in it before you? Do you ever imagine the conversations, conflicts, and transformations that have happened in the place where you live? What conversations are happening now, and what has changed? No two of the 127 upscale apartments at 305 Second Avenue are the…

The “Brightest” Subway Station – 49th Street

Do you ever notice something aesthetically unusual in New York and wonder about its history? Thousands of commuters pass through the bright orange, open, columnless 49th Street subway station at 7th avenue every day and likely notice – it looks nothing like NYC’s other stations! How did this happen? In the 1970s, the MTA was…

Brooklyn’s Abolitionists on Duffield Street

Can gentrification change–and even erase–history? What kinds of buildings mobilize a community to dispute a city’s attempts at eminent domain? What stories do New York’s streets tell, and who controls those stories? The Fugitive Slave Act had just passed when Harriet and Thomas Truesdell moved into 227 Duffield Street in 1850. This set of laws,…

The Dakota: Fame and Survival in New York City

How does a building get famous? How do a building’s residents shape its history? What would the Upper West Side be like without The Dakota? Over the past 135 years, The Dakota building has maintained its complicated place in the spotlight. It was built on the Upper West Side when the area was farmland; scandalously…

Chelsea’s Limelight Building–the Church? the Nightclub? the Gym?

 The northeast corner of 6th Avenue and West 20th has looked nearly the same since 1844. The building’s facade, a striking asymmetrical church, was designed by Richard Upjohn when the neighborhood was home to Manhattan’s wealthiest families. Though its Gothic revival-style exterior has hardly changed in 175 years, the stories of this Chelsea corner reveal…

The Secret Engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge: Emily Roebling

Who are the hidden women behind some of the iconic structures of New York? Who was the secret engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge? How many people–of the hundreds on the bridge at any moment on a summer afternoon–know the name Emily Warren Roebling? Every day, more than 150,000 commuters rely on the Brooklyn Bridge for…

Bridging the Gap in Community & Business: The Williamsburg Bridge

As the 19th century came to a close, city planners in New York faced a big question: how can disparate neighborhoods in a sprawling metropolis be integrated into one accessible, cohesive New York City? In the face of rapid technological innovation and population growth, sustainable integration was urgent. The Williamsburg Bridge is an iconic example…

Unearthing the First Subway: Alfred Ely Beach

Do you commute on the subway? If you do, you’re one of millions who swipes their MetroCard each day, and probably does not consider the first people who traveled underground in Manhattan and the subway’s lost history. Alfred Ely Beach was the editor and published of The Scientific American, an inventor, a publisher at The…