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The Insider's Connection

Lost Landmarks

William Barthman’s Sidewalk Clock

How does an idea become a legacy? What makes a landmark? More than 50,000 people cross the corner of Maiden Lane and Broadway every day. New Yorkers are in constant motion, seldom pausing to look up or down or remind ourselves that we’re living history. If you pause on this corner, you’ll see a clock. The glass is scratched and faded, but it tells the correct time and more importantly, it tells a story. It’s been telling a story in that very ground for over 120 years. It took more than 2 years to design and install this sidewalk clock in 1897. William Barthman, a jewelry designer with an opulent storefront at that corner (Barthman Jewelry has since moved to Brooklyn), wanted to place a bold, alluring contraption outside his shop to attract customers. The clock was built by Frank…

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April 1, 2019

Old Pennsylvania Station: The Demolished Landmark that Sparked a Movement

What happens when money and progress interfere with history and cultural significance? How do communities mobilize when they see an injustice, and how does big business respond? How do relics of the past get repurposed today, and why does it matter? In June 1904, construction began on Pennsylvania Station. Eight acres of existing buildings were cleared to make way for what was meant to be a gateway into the city. McKim, Mead & White, the architects commissioned by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company to build this major transit hub, had been planning for years, drawing on neoclassical architectural styles to create a Beaux-Arts masterpiece in midtown Manhattan. After 6 years of construction, Pennsylvania Station received its first travelers in 1910. The millions of commuters who passed through enjoyed shops, lounges, long benches, phone booths, and daylight pouring in through semi-circular windows…

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January 28, 2019