A Squared: NYC Part Two: Downtown

Friday, October 5, 2012

NYC Part Two: Downtown

Architect Alex in action.
So, if you read my last post you know that Friday was a big day for us in New York City.  Now, I know my way around upper Manhattan pretty well but downtown is another story.  I have spent a lot of time there too, but a lot of those visits included cabs, drinks, and darkness so I still find myself a little turned around when I'm sober on foot in the daylight downtown.  I knew, however, that this would be the part of NYC that Alex wouldn't want to miss since this is where a lot of the newer modern buildings and highrises (his favorites) are being built.  Luckily, we had my best friends (and almost native New Yorkers) Meghan and Lisa as our tour guides for the rest of the weekend.

A Squared at the High Line-- and a fab view of New Jersey behind us

Our first downtown stop is always one of the highlights of my visits to New York.  It also seems to be one of the only "touristy" attractions that most New Yorkers don't absolutely hate seeing multiple times.  The High Line by Diller Scofidio + Renfro was a brilliant idea: a park built on the abandoned elevated railroad tracks that winds up the city's west side. 

An art installation off the edge of the High Line

Street view of the urban theatre. You may recall the other side in this old gem.

Western view from the High Line down 19th St. That's the IAC on the left.

The IAC Building by Frank Gehry

100 11th Ave.-- Condos by Jean Nouvel next to the IAC Building

After wandering Chelsea and checking the above buildings off of Alex's Must See List we ventured into the West Village to check out a few more architectural landmarks.  We stopped by the arch (by Stanford White) in Washington Square Park and then checked out the Washington Mews, which was actually something new for me to see.

Following our walk through the West Village we did make a quick stop in SoHo to see the Rem Koolhaas-designed Prada Flagship store.  I'm pretty sure it was one of the only times Alex will ever go into a designer boutique without fighting me on it.  Sadly, we weren't allowed to take any photos there.  You can check it out here though.  It's a really cool space.  We then marched back up north to see the Cooper Union school and specifically 41 Cooper Square designed by Morphosis.

I have fond memories of my friend Matt sliding down the front of the building

40 Bond St. by Herzog & de Meuron.  I thought we were all posing...

That concluded our tour of Chelsea and the East and West Villages.  We still had some time on Sunday before our flight back to Chicago, so Meghan took us way downtown to the Financial District to fully round out our tour of Manhattan.

One World Trade Center (almost complete) by SOM

New York Stock Exchange by Trowbridge & Livingston looking patriotic

I think one of our favorite buildings from the trip was at the end of our tour: 8 Spruce Street by Frank Gehry.  It's a new downtown condo tour that looks sort of like a waterfall on the outside.  Here's a fun fact for you too: a 1-bedroom apartment in this building like the one we have in Chicago would cost about 4 times as much as we currently pay.  Pretty happy we live in Chicago.

I love how ominous Instagram made this cloudy day look!

Manhattan Municipal Building by McKim, Meade, & White


We ended the weekend with a walk along the water in Long Island City.  See?  We did make it to one other borough!  This is Meghan and Will's new neighborhood and our homebase for the weekend.  Check out their phenomenal view of the Manhattan skyline (and the Pepsi sign!).  It was interesting to stay in New York, but not really IN Manhattan for the first time-- and also nice.  I'm an old lady now.  The craziness of the city is fun, but returning "home" at night to the quiet is very nice.

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