Restoring Fallen Rubble: The once and yet again Hôtel Aubecq

 

The New Hôtel Aubecq

Recently we discussed the original Penn Station of NYC – a wrought iron, Art Nouveau-inspired temple that met an early demise. If the early 20th century was a period of inspired architecture and construction, the 50s and 60s  in hindsight were a period dedicated to the destruction of such art. In French there is even a noun for such ‘progress’ – Bruxellisation. The word is fitting, seeing as the Art Nouveau movement in Brussels gave so much to the world of design, and its buildings fared so poorly. Though Brussels is still one of, if not the Art Nouveau capital of the world, more than 90% of the Art Nouveau buildings constructed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were destroyed, or Brusselized, and we are left with masterworks dotting corporate landscapes.

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What Penn Station Looked Like Before There Was Penn Station

Michael Kimmelman’s article in the February 9, 2012 edition of the New York Times has rekindled the debate on the future of Penn Station, Madison Square Garden, and the Jacob Javits Convention Center. He and many other critics, us included, lament the destruction in the 1950s of the original Beaux-Arts Penn Station from 1910, as it was an elegant, inspiring entrance to (and exit from) New York. Rarely discussed are the origins of this site in the first place, so we have thought to include an excerpt from the map of New York that we offer for sale on our site to offer a visual tour of the area in 1879.

 

To see the entire 1879 map of New York, click here.

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