Skyscraper Museum

From the permanent exhibition in
Skyscraper museum
 What is a skyscraper?   There is actually no clear or exact definition of ‘skyscraper’ .    In Wikipedia you can read:  "A skyscraper is a tall, continuously habitable building of over 10 floors, mostly designed for office, commercial and residential uses. A skyscraper can also be called a high-rise, but the term skyscraper is often used for buildings higher than 50 m".

The  Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, an international organization that tracks and certifies skyscrapers, takes into account a range of criteria in determining the definition of tall buildings, from "height relative to context" and "proportion" to "tall building technologies" such as wind bracing and elevators.  "Super tall" buildings are defined as being over 984 feet in height.
Originally, the term skyscraper was a nautical term for a tall mast or sail on a sailing ship. In the late nineteenth century, the term was first applied to tall buildings, reflecting public amazement at the structures being constructed in Chicago and New York City.

100 Broadway
Most early skyscrapers emerged in the land-strapped areas of Chicago, London, and New York toward the end of the nineteenth century.       The first skyscraper was for many years thought to be the Home Insurance Building built in Chicago, Illinois in 1885.  After an early competition between New York City and Chicago for the world's tallest building, New York took a firm lead by 1895 with completion of the American Surety Building, a historic skyscraper located at 100 Broadway,   opposite Trinity Church.

Skyscraper museum

More than any other style of architecture, the skyscraper defines New York City's skyline. So it is logical that the skyscraper museum, founded in 1996,  is located in New York.  in 1997 New York Times published an article with the title  "A Natural for New York: A Skyscraper Museum" : "The inaugural show, ''Downtown New York: The Architecture of Business, the Business of Building,'' was  spread among six rooms and features 100 objects, including rental brochures and advertisements from the 1920's and 30's . 

There were also tools used by a typical riveter's gang in the 30's and a plastic-and-wood model of the World Trade Center that survived the 1993 bombing intact, even though it was located just 100 feet from ground zero."  By the way- ground zero in this article was used four years before 9/11.

From the permanent exhibition in
Skyscraper museum

 The original site of the museum was located very close to the World Trade Center.  After the September 11 attacks, the museum was forced to close temporarily as its space was commandeered as an emergency information c enter.  In 2004 the museum moved    to the current and permanent location in Battery Park City.    Museum   occupies the lower floor of an office building  and  from my view  for a city that invented the skyscraper, the permanent  exhibition is  very limited.

From the permanent exhibition in
Skyscraper museum
Here you can see old articles, architectural plans, 3D models, photos and more about all the famous skyscrapers.  It's very wordy - lots of info panels to read but no interactivity.

Museum hours are 12-6 PM, Wednesday-Sunday.  General admission is $5, $2.50 for students and seniors. 

An  interesting  exhibition  " Garden City"  is on view  now in museum.  "Garden City"  showcases the built and  projected  works of Singapore-based   architecture firm that specializes in designing for the world’s tropical urban areas. 

The Eagle Warehouse in Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle was published five days a week as a morning newspaper.  It was   the only daily  newspaper  in New York City devoted exclusively to Brooklyn. It printed its very first issue on Oct. 26, 1841. At that time, Brooklyn had a population of 35,500. In the five decades since the Eagle had printed its first issue, Brooklyn had grown exponentially ,   becoming the third largest city in the country. At one point this newspaper  was the most popular afternoon paper   in the United States.  For 114 years the Eagle was Brooklyn’s hometown paper.

The  Eagle’s most famous editor was Walt Whitman, a famous American poet.    Whitman was best  known for  “Leaves of Grass”, the  collection of twelve poems that first appeared in 1855, as well as “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” and “I Sing The Body Electric”.  Walt  Whitman was born in West Hills, Long Island, in 1819.  Before working in Brooklyn newspaper   Whitman  founded a weekly newspaper, Long-Islander- the oldest Newspaper in Long Island, that is still active. 

  In 1848, Whitman left the Brooklyn Daily Eagle to become editor of the New Orleans Crescent.   On his return to Brooklyn in the fall of 1848, he founded a “free soil” newspaper, the Brooklyn Freeman, and continued to develop the unique style of poetry.  
Seven years after he left the Eagle, Whitman published the first edition of his groundbreaking Leaves of Grass at a printing shop just around the bend on Fulton Street from the Eagle’s offices.

In the late 19th century the Brooklyn Eagle moved its offices and the  site  was subsequently purchased  by the  storage company  with the name - The Eagle Warehouse & Storage Company-  probably derived from   the title of the newspaper.    The warehouse, used     primarily to store furniture and silverware, was constructed around the old Brooklyn Eagle pressroom     at a cost of $300,000 including furnishings. 
In 1980 the building was converted to a residential co-operative with   85 apartments.   Now triplex with three bedrooms and  two baths (  2900 sq. ft ) in this house  is on sale for $2,750,000.

The Survivor Tree at the 9/11 Memorial Plaza

The Survivor Tree, Summer 2016
There are about  four hundred  white oak trees planted on the National September 11 Memorial plaza and  the only one   Callery pear tree. The oaks had been raising    for five years in New Jersey, about 40 miles from the World Trade Center site.  A  pear  was planted  at the eastern edge of the original World Trade Center plaza in the 1970s.

November 2011
A month after the collapse of the Twin Towers, in October 2001,  workers on the site discovered in the rubble at Ground Zero a few green leaves showing through the gray concrete and ash.  The tree  was badly burned and broken, with little chance of recovery. The tree, that   measured eight feet,  was then removed from the site and nursed back to health   in the Bronx, at the Parks Department’s Arthur Ross Nursery in Van Cortlandt Park.

The March 2010 nor'easter  impacted the Northeastern  part of  United  States    resulting in at least nine deaths.  Winds of up to 70 miles per hour   snapped power lines  and  trees . Among these trees was  the Callery pear tree form 9-11 site.  The  tree was uprooted in powerful storm.  Again, the tree survived, and caretakers righted the tree, examined roots, pruned branches and secured it with cables. December 2010  it was restored to Ground Zero.  

March 2010
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and  9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels  planted the “survivor tree,”  on December 22, 2010, marking its homecoming to the World Trade Center site.

 “The presence of the Survivor Tree on the Memorial Plaza will symbolize New York City’s and this nation’s resilience after the attacks,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Like the thousands of courageous stories of survival that arose from the ashes of the World Trade Center, the story of this tree also will live on and inspire many.”

In late   August 2011 hurricane Irene  hit New York.  Throughout its path, Irene caused widespread destruction and at least 56 deaths.
The Memorial has weathered tropical storm Irene, and it remains as strong as the hundreds of men and women dedicated to building it,” 9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels said in a statement. “And true to its name, the Survivor Tree is standing tall at the Memorial.”

The National September 11 Memorial and Museum  was among the many New York cultural institutions that suffered severe damage from Hurricane Sandy.  River surges caused serious flooding at the foundation level of the World Trade Center.  Inside the visitor center and a private entrance room for victims' families, about 4 feet   of water ruined the lower sections of the sheet-rock walls , In the unfinished museum, the water rose as high as 8 feet.  It had taken about a week to drain the floodwaters — as high as 10 feet  in some  places — from the 16-acre site.
 And  the “Survivor Tree”  continues to live up to its name and stands tall among the oak trees at the Memorial .
November 2015
In November 2015  a tribute was held at the site of the September 11 attacks in a show of support to France and a response to the suicide bombings and shootings that killed at least 129 people in Paris. Flowers in blue, white and red were placed at the foot of the Survivor Tree  during the ceremony.
 Aside from the Callery pear Survivor Tree, there are six other survivor of the 9/11 attack, all of which are now planted near New York City Hall and the Brooklyn Bridge.

The hills of the Governors Island

Governors Island is now one of New York's most popular seasonal playgrounds.  The island is located   approximately 800 yards   from the southern tip of Manhattan Island and separated from Brooklyn by Buttermilk Channel, approximately 400 yards.

 In June 1637, Wouter Van Twiller, the director general for the Dutch West India Company, reportedly purchased the Island from the Lenape for “two ax heads, a string of beads, and a handful of nails".  After the British capture New Amsterdam, the royal governor is given full rights to the island, hence the name.

Governors Island was off limits to ordinary New Yorkers during most of the past 200 years. Once an abandoned military base in New York Harbor, the island is being transformed into a 21st-century destination for urban dwellers .  In 2007  landscape architect Adriaan Geuze and his team  from  West 8, the Dutch landscape architecture firm  , based in Rotterdam,  won an international design competition for the design of the Governors Island Park.

The first 30 acres opened to the public in 2014.  This summer on July 18 2016    ten acres of new public space were added.     Designed by landscape team from West 8 ,  the Hills is the newest addition to the park and public spaces on the 172-acre island.
According to the   Wall Street Journal, the public-private project cost $71 million. The park was open  nearly a year ahead of schedule.
Rising 25 to 70 feet above the island, the hills were constructed  using recycled demolition debris, general fill, and lightweight pumice.     860 new trees and 41,000 new bushes were planted.

There  are four new hills that were added to the park.    This  four mounds of the Hills are all human made, as is the land below. Governors Island was extended south in 1911 with the excavated fill from the Lexington Avenue subway tunnel.

Outlook Hill, at 70 feet, is   the highest point on the island.  The  offer  views not only of New York's skyscrapers and Lady Liberty, but of burgeoning Jersey City, New Jersey, and the Brooklyn and Verrazano bridges.   Grassy hill , a 26-foot high gentle slope overlook  the island’s    Slide hill .

 Slide hill  has   the slides for  kids  ,     including the longest in New York City , 57 feet long and 3 stories high.    Discovery hill   features a site-specific sculpture by British artist Rachel  Whiteread ,   a concrete cast of a cabin that looks both familiar and alien with the backdrop of the big city looming.  

  Ferries to Governors Island run 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Monday through Friday from the Battery Maritime Building in Manhattan and 11:00 am – 7:00 pm on weekends from Manhattan and Brooklyn’s Pier six. This year the island will be open till September  25.