Walks in New York and elsewhere

My comments on buildings, shops, restaurants that catch my eye as I wander around New York City and other places.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

Monday, September 26, 2005

Eastward to Lexington Avenue

Park Avenue is elevated at this point to skirt Grand Central Terminal. The beautiful overpass, known as the Park Avenue Viaduct, was designed by Warren & Wetmore, and is a designed NYC landmark. There is a restaurant underneath with an outdoor cafe, weather permitting.

Cipriani has a magnificent catering space in the banking hall of the Bowery Bank building, designed by York & Sawyer, and built in two stages in 1921-23 and 1931-33. The building is described in New York City Landmarks as Italian Romanesque-inspired and inspired it is, in its proportions and wealth of detail.

Next, on the south side of the street is the Art Deco Chanin Building, the base of which is bejeweled with bas-reliefs in terra cotta and bronze. The landmarked building was designed by Irwin S. Chanin, with Sloan & Robertson, in 1927-29. The artwork is by Rene Chambellan.
Across the street is Grand Central Terminal, a designated landmark inside and out, designed by Reed & Stern and Warren & Wetmore. The former were the designers of the plan, the tunnels, ramps and concourses, while credit goes to Warren and Wetmore for the facades and interior spaces. The fight by the owners of the building against designation went all the way to the Supreme Court, which upheld NYC's landmarks law. The Terminal underwent an appropriate restoration by Beyer Blinder Belle in the mid-1990s.

It is definitely worthwhile to duck inside for a look around and maybe, something to eat. You have the choice of sit-down restaurants like Michael Jordan's Steakhouse or Metrazur on the great balconies, and the Oyster Bar, a drink at the Campbell Apartment bar, snacks at the moderately-priced food court, or take-home from Grand Central Market, where you can find branches of Murray's Cheese and Wild Edibles, a fine fish store.

Be sure to look up at the ceiling, which displays twinkling constellations, backwards, since the artist who painted them was working from an inside-out globe.

Reflected in a window of the former Bowery Bank is the looming MetLife, originally Pan Am building, north of Grand Central, terminating the view south down Park Avenue.


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