Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New York's "Temple of Power": the 59th Street Powerstation

Article via

Standing on the shore of the Hudson River it seems to declare, “Industry!” “Ambition!” It is a majestic symbol of the City-Beautiful era and modernity.  Its compelling industrial beauty has inspired its most inspired definition yet: 

“The building, a marriage of convenience, a modern metal shed with the face of an aging actress, the utilitarian made beautiful, is our city’s Temple of Power.” 
                                - Mosette Broderick, professor at New York University, 
                                  author of Triumvirate: McKim, Mead & White: Art, Architecture, 
                                  Scandal, and Class in America’s Gilded Age 

For all of these reasons and more the Preservation League of New York State has named Manhattan’s former Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) Powerhouse to its list of the Empire State’s most threatened historic resources, Seven to Save. The prestigious designation bodes well for the future of the Beaux Arts masterpiece.

Click here to read the full article by Maria Gorshin, via Untapped Cities.

Slicing through the IRT Powerhouse in section, this image shows the interior layout at the time of the
building's planning and construction, according to the Street Railway Journal of Oct. 8, 1904.
Image via 2009 Columbia Univ. studio report

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