Church of St. Malachy – The Actors' Chapel near Broadway

Church of St. Malachy is located  on West 49th Street, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue, St.   The   church is named for the Irish monk (also known as Maolmhaodag Uí Morgair) who became bishop of Armagh in the twelfth century. 
The Roman Catholic parish of St. Malachy was established in 1902 to serve residents and workers in the western midtown area.

On May 3, 1903, the cornerstone was laid for the basement church.  For the first two decades  the worshipers at the church were traditional, working class congregants. 
In the 19th century, the fashionable playhouses were centered toward the south near Madison Square.  During the decade of the 1920s  the demand for tickets led to a surge in theatre construction. During the 1927-28 season, over 260 productions debuted on Broadway and the Theater District started to move uptown into the area where the church is located. 

 To answer the needs of   actors, dancers and musicians the pastor of the church, Monsignor Edward F. Leonard, had the Chapel of St. Genesius, the patron saint of actors—commonly called the "Actors' Chapel"--constructed below the main church in 1920.   Archbishop of New York gave a special permission for Masses to be celebrated there at 4 A.M. (which was banned by canon law at the time).

St. Malachy's has been home to many notable actors: Douglas Fairbanks married Joan Crawford at St. Malachy's.     Thousands jammed West 49th Street outside the church in final tribute to Rudolph Valentino.

As late as 1968, over 16,000 people attended St. Malachy's each month, and on opening nights many in show business came to light candles for the success of their shows.

In the 1970's the area began to deteriorate.   The night clubs closed.  Legitimate businesses moved away only to be replaced with porno shops and drug dealers and prostitution was rampant and the Church was occasionally vandalized.  It was not a place a person would like to wander around late at night, especially after seeing a Broadway play.  
 Now Theater District is the entertainment hub of the city, and possibly the entire nation.  This   area actually contains more than just theaters. Restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, theatrical agencies, and recording studies are also located conveniently within close proximity to the Broadway theaters.
In addition to its religious and community services, the church  also now  offers musical concerts including organ recitals on the Paul Creston Memorial Pipe Organ; instrumental, choral, opera, chamber, symphonic, and Broadway performances; and classical and jazz performed by the Broadway Chamber Players, comprised of Broadway pit musicians who are members of the parish.

Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park, Brooklyn

Lefferts Historic House
 In 1660 Pieter Janse Hagewout,  a cobbler from Holland, sailed to New York from Amsterdam on the ship de Bonte Koe (The Spotted Cow). His eldest son Leffert Pieterse  at that time was fifteen years old. Within a decade Leffert Pieterse had married and started a family. In 1687, he purchased fifty-eight acres of land in Flatbush and at the time of his death in 1704, Leffert Pieterse was one of the largest landowners in Kings County.  Leffert Pieterse's great-grandson, Peter Lefferts  in 1783 built the house that we can visit today!

This is not the first house that Peter built on this lot.  The first one was built in   1776,  but    was burned down by American troops, an action taken on several Flatbush homes so that they could not be used by the invading British and Hessian soldiers preceding and during the Battle of Long Island.

Lefferts’s son, John, inherited the farm when his father died. Gertrude Lefferts Vanderbilt, John’s daughter, recorded the history of her family, her community, and her landmark home in The Social History of Flatbush, published in 1881.
In 1917, the estate of John Lefferts offered the House to the City of New York on the condition that the House be moved from its original location onto city property. The City accepted the offer and moved the House into Prospect Park in 1918. In 1920, it was opened as a museum.

Today, Lefferts Historic House is a museum of family life in Brooklyn in the 1820s. Period rooms furnished to reflect daily life, demonstration gardens and fields, and hands-on American craft activities help visitors understand the changes in Brooklyn’s landscape since the 18th Century.

But this  popular 18th-century farmhouse   hasn’t been restored in several decades. $2.5 million in funding were approved as part of the city’s capital budget in mid-June, 2016. The Lefferts house will be closed during the restoration, but there is no firm timeline yet for when the project will take place.

Trump tower: the place where Donald Trump lives.

Trump Tower  on is one of Manhattan’s most iconic buildings.   It is located on  5th Avenue   between  56th and 57th street near the most prestigious intersection in all of New York City. Trump building was  completed in 1984. Before it there was a well-known  Bonwit Teller department  store,  a high style ladies’ retailer, on this lot. 

Bonwit Teller
Department Store
Salvador Dali

Around the winter holidays a lot of people   flock to the impressively-decorated department store windows on   Fifth Avenue.   In 1939 Bonwit Teller  hired their first artist as window display designer: the eccentric Salvador Dalí.   Dali   designed two themed windows for the store   one representing Day and the other Night.
Warhol Windows

Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg exhibited their modern artworks behind fashionable mannequins regularly through the 1950s.

In  1961 Andy Warhol   hung five paintings behind department store models and announced the significance of his own artwork – lowbrow subjects with a cheeky take on consumerism.

The paintings were based on comic book strips and newspaper advertisements, and the stylishly dressed mannequins in front played directly with the idea of art as advertising.

In  1979  Donald Trump  bought  eleven-story  Bonwit Teller department  store    with the goal of constructing the first super-luxury high rise property in New York. Trump paid   $10 million for the department store and additional  $5 million for air rights over   the adjacent Tiffany & Company building. 
HRH Construction was the contractor on the building  and   Barbara Res, one of the only women who had been assigned to oversee a major New York City construction site  was the construction executive.

Atrium in Trump Tower
The building to be built  was  located at  Special Fifth Avenue District, the zoning district that runs from 38th Street to 58th Street. In that district, the maximum square footage that can be built on a given site is known as 15 F.A.R.. a floor‐area ratio 15 times the zoning lot. If the arcade, extra retail space, and other amenities are added, the F.A.R. can rise to 21.6. The tower's  public  five-story atrium, 
enabled the Trump Organization to build a taller tower.  

Trump was granted permission by the City of New York to build the top 20 stories of the building in exchange for operating the atrium as a public space, owned by the city.    At the time, the building was the only skyscraper on Fifth Avenue with its own retail space.

The grand opening of the Atrium and stores was held on February 14, 1983.  The   gold and marble  Atrium sits at the base of the sixty foot waterfall–the center piece of Trump Tower. 

The Atrium has played host to many prestigious events including Luciano Pavarotti, Miss USA and The First Minister of Scotland, to name a few. 

4-th floor garden

There are    two outdoor landscaped terraces on upper levels. The fourth floor terrace at the southeast corner of the atrium is a petite garden space with trees, planters  and comfortable polished granite ledge seating.  The recently renovated and more ambitious landscaped terrace on the north side of the fifth floor is currently less used than its fourth floor counterpart.
5-th floor garden

There are 263 luxury condominiums on floors 30 through 68 and residents have a private entrance on 56th Street.  95% of the condominiums in the tower   were sold in the first four months after it opened.  The high prices  attracted  many rich and famous residents.   . Michael Jackson rented on the 63rd floor during the summer of 1994. In 2006 Bruce Willis has moved into an apartment in Trump Towers at a cost of $55,000 per month.  The star   decided that he wanted a home in New York while working on the film Perfect Stranger with Halle Berry. 

Waterfall and tables in the atrium

He wanted to find an apartment big enough for his three daughters to be with him as well.
 Donald and Melania Trump occupy     top three floors of the building  with breathtaking views of Central Park and Manhattan.  Trump $100 million three-level penthouse decorated in 24K gold and marble, was designed by Angelo Donghia in Louis XIV style.

 I used to visit the Atrium  almost every time when I was  in  Midtown.  There is a small café  on the lower level where you can grab a sandwich and a cup of tea and  occupy the table  near the waterfall.  There is also a Starbucks on the second floor.

 But it was before  Donald Trump became  president - elect.
The extreme security measures began going up around the landmark Fifth Avenue skyscraper on Election Day, when authorities brought in a fleet of heavy Sanitation Department trucks filled with sand to wall off the front of the glittering, 664-foot glass tower and protect it from a potential car bomb attack.
The Federal Aviation Administration has already declared a no-fly zone over the Midtown skyscraper until Trump is sworn in Jan. 21.
Later the trucks were replaced  with  concrete barriers to keep away protesters and thwart potential car or truck bombs.
The NYPD and the Secret Service are negotiating how to secure Trump Tower, the President-elect’s home and headquarters.


The Fashion Institute of Technology, "Uniformity"

The Fashion Institute of Technology ( FIT) in New York   is  located   in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.  It was founded in 1944  and is ranked among the top five fashion schools in the world.  The Museum at FIT, founded in 1969   includes collections of clothing, textiles, and accessories.   There are three galleries in the Museum.

The lower level gallery is devoted to special exhibitions. The Fashion and Textile History Gallery on the main floor features a rotating selection of approximately 200 historically and artistically significant objects from the Museum’s permanent collection. 

 There are now two interesting    exhibitions in the museum. The first one is "Uniformity". Uniforms are in fact everywhere in American society.  The exhibit  features more than 70 objects from the museum's permanent collection — many of which have never been on view before.

The exhibit is  organized  thematically and  is focused  on four categories of uniforms: Military, work, school and sports.

Though military touches are a common theme in fashion, Uniformity went   even further by paying close attention to the uniforms worn, for example, by chauffeurs in the 1930s, a maids in the 1950s, and nurses during World War I and II.
Items in the exhibit  range from a fireman's uniform from the 1950s and a contemporary schoolgirl uniform from Japan to a U.S. Army uniform from World War I and a football jersey circa 1920.

The  assistant curator of costume Emma McClendon told about the exhibition “Uniforms are all about control, keeping tradition, keeping everything standardized, and creating a uniform aesthetic across every single person, whereas fashion is increasingly about self-expression, breaking the rules, and having a sort of power of creativity in the design.

 They seem like they could never really go together, yet we constantly see uniforms coming up in fashion and getting used by fashion designers in a lot of different ways.”
Uniformity is  on view   through November 19th and it is free for public.

Cunard building on Broadway

Cunard building 
The former White Star office on the Broadway,
next door to Cunard
Titanic's intended destination was New York. The story about Titanic is the story about New York. The victims included well-known New Yorkers like Isidor Straus, who owned Macy’s department store with his brother,   John Jacob Astor IV, who  owned more hotels and skyscrapers than any other New Yorker and Benjamin Guggenheim,  the  brother of the founder of Solomon Guggenheim museum in New York and the father of Peggy Guggenheim, the founder of the famous  museums in Venice  and Bilbao.

Titanic was operated by prominent British shipping company White Star Line with the office in Bowling Green building on Broadway.   In the days following the Titanic’s sinking, thousands gathered outside for word of survivors, as wireless communications were sent directly to the White Star’s offices.  Cunard is located directly next door at #25.  

Cunard Line transatlantic passenger steamship Carpathia   saved about 700 of the passengers from Titanic . Carpathia made her maiden voyage in 1903.   In July 1918  she  was  torpedoed by the German submarine U-55  in the Atlantic.  Five of her crew lost their lives in the sinking. 

British shipping magnate Sir Samuel Cunard, a son of  carpenter  who worked for the British garrison ,  was born  in   Nova Scotia  in 1787.  His father fled the American Revolution and settled in Halifax. In 1839 Cunard was awarded the first British trans-Atlantic steamship mail contract  and in  1840 the company's first steamship, the Britannia, sailed from Liverpool to Halifax, Nova Scotia and on to Boston, Massachusetts, with Cunard and 63 other passengers on board.  For the next thirty years the  ships on the Liverpool–Halifax–Boston route were the quickest.
The Cunard Building opened on May 2, 1921.  The  site of 25 Broadway has long been associated with maritime trade and travel. In 17th century this  location contained several Dutch colonial dwellings, one of which belonged a skipper and part-owner of a trading yacht.

 In 1846, Swiss-born restaurateurs Joseph and Lorenzo Delmonico  opened a restaurant on the site.  In 1856 there was Stevens House hotel.
In  1918 the long-established real estate   company acquired the individual lots for $5 million.  Cunard's decision to build its own headquarters in New York   signaled the city's growing supremacy as a world port.  Cunard suffered enormous losses in the Great Depression of the 1930s  and   in  1934 Cunard and    WhiteStar Lines merged in.  Together  these two companies carried over one-quarter of North Atlantic passengers. Later the company relocated to No. 555 Fifth Avenue,

Cunard building lobby

The first floor  of the building was made a New York City Landmark. Its walls and vaulted ceilings, adorned with ornate images of steamship routes and sea life. The  Great Hall is an Italian neo-renaissance masterpiece. Designed by Benjamin Wistar Morris and completed in 1921, this grand space features 65 foot high ceilings, soaring marble columns, magnificent inlaid floors and murals painted by Ezra Winter. 

 In 1968   Cunard moved its offices to 555 Fifth Avenue. a more advantageous location for booking passengers on ships which had become "floating resorts".  Though the upper floors remained rented, the Great Hall was vacated in 1971. In 1974 the U.S. Postal Service leased the vacant Great Hall and other spaces in the building.
In 1995 the first floor interior, formerly Cunard's ticketing office, was designated a New York City landmark.
 Post Office was closed in  2000.
 In  2014  the Great Hall   was carefully restored and reopened as an elegant  special-event space owned by  Cipriani,    a privately owned international corporation  that   specializes in traditional Italian food.