The Skyscraper Museum
Book Talks 2019
The Skyscraper Museum

The Skyscraper Museum is devoted to the study of high-rise building, past, present, and future. The Museum explores tall buildings as objects of design, products of technology, sites of construction, investments in real estate, and places of work and residence. This site will look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.



The book talks and lectures below are held at The Skyscraper Museum from 6:30-8 pm and are free of charge, except when noted. The gallery and exhibition are open for viewing from 6 pm. To assure admittance, guests must RSVP to programs[at]skyscraper[dot]org with the name of the program you would like to attend.

Please be aware that reservation priority is given to Members of The Skyscraper Museum. Not a member? Become a Museum member today!


Wednesday, June 5, 2019 6:30-8:00 pm

Kara Schlichting Book Talk

New York Recentered
Building the Metropolis from the Shore

Chicago University Press, 2019

The history of New York City’s urban development often centers on powerful municipal figures such as Andrew Haswell Green and on prominent inner Manhattan sites like Central Park. New York Recentered offers a new model for understanding the invention of metropolitan New York. By broadening the definition of planning, and paying close attention to the levels of governance on which it occurred, this book sees a regional history, not just a history of the city’s influence on its periphery. Schlichting recognizes the influence of diverse local actors in conjunction with the work of well-known power brokers such as Robert Moses. The rise of greater New York between 1840-1940 reveals how residential and industrial decentralization, recreation, and public works tied the urban core and periphery together and gave shape to the region.

Kara Murphy Schlichting is an Assistant Professor of History at Queens College. She earned her PhD from Rutgers University in 2014. Her work in late-19th and 20th-century American History sits at the intersection of urban, environmental, and political history, with a particular focus on property regimes and regional planning in greater New York City.

Reservations are required, and priority is given to Members and Corporate Member firms and their employees.
All guests MUST RSVP to [email protected] to assure admittance to the event. Not a member? Become a Museum member today!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019 6:30-8:00 pm

Zachary Violette Book Talk

The Decorated Tenement
How Immigrant Builders and Architects Transformed the Slum in the Gilded Age

University of Minnesota Press (2019)

In The Decorated Tenement: How Immigrant Builders and Architects Transformed the Slum in the Gilded Age, historian Zachary Violette counters the standard narrative of crowded tenements and crusading urban reformers to reconstruct the role of tenement architects and builders in improving housing for the working poor. Drawing on research and fieldwork that surveyed more than 3,000 extant tenement buildings in New York and Boston, Violette uses ornament as an entry point of his study, employing both new contemporary photography and many never-before-published historical images. His work complicates the monolithic notions of architectural taste and housing standards, while broadening our understanding of the diversity of cultural and economic positions of those responsible for shaping American architecture and urban landscapes.

Zachary J. Violette is a preservation consultant and lecturer at Parsons/The New School of Design.His book is based on his dissertation in American and New England Studies at Boston University.

Reservations are required, and priority is given to Members and Corporate Member firms and their employees.
All guests MUST RSVP to [email protected] to assure admittance to the event. Not a member? Become a Museum member today!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019 3:00 pm

Curator's Tour

Director and curator Carol Willis will lead a curator's tour of the museum's new exhibition HOUSING DENISTY: TENEMENTS TO TOWERS. Curators tours are free with admission. No RSVP required.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019 4:00-8:00 pm

Night at the Museums

The museums and historic landmarks of Lower Manhattan are an American treasure. Explore one of the most diverse and concentrated groups of museums in the world – 15 sites all within comfortable walking distance of each other. This annual event takes place rain or shine.

Free Admission at The Skyscraper Museum and participating sister museums.

Curator's tour at 5pm.



Tuesday, May 21, 2019 6:30-8:00 pm

Alexander Garvin Book Talk

The Heart of the City
Creating Vibrant Downtowns for a New Century

Island Books, 2019

Downtowns are more than economic engines: they are repositories of knowledge and culture and generators of new ideas, technology, and ventures. If we are to have healthy downtowns, noted urban planner Alexander Garvin argues, we need to understand how and why some American downtowns never stopped thriving, some are in decline, while still others, including Lower Manhattan, are resurging. In The Heart of the City, Garvin proffers how to plan for a mix of housing, businesses, and attractions; improve mobility; manage services; and enhance the public realm to ensure urban vitality.

Alexander Garvin is a noted architect and urban planner. He is an adjunct professor of urban planning and management at Yale University. He heads a planning and design firm in New York City. He is written many books, including What Makes a Great City; The Planning Game: Lessons for Great Cities; Public Parks: The Key to Livable Communities; and The American City: What Works, What Doesn’t.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019 6:30-8:00 pm

Andrea Barnet Book Talk

Visionary Women
How Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, Jane Goodall, and Alice Waters Changed Our World

Ecco, 2018

Visionary Women is the story of four renegades - Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, Jane Goodall and Alice Waters - who found their voice in the early 1960s and profoundly shaped today's world. With a keen eye for detail, Andrea Barnet traces the arc of each woman’s career and explores how at a time of enormous social upheaval, all four worked against the corporate culture of the 1950s, prevailing against mostly male adversaries and anticipating the emerging counterculture. For her talk, Barnet will focus on New York urbanist Jane Jacobs and her revolutionary book The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) and Rachel Carson's Silent Spring (1962) which helped to launch the environmental movement.

Andrea Barnet is the author of All-Night Party: The Women of Bohemian Greenwich Village and Harlem, 1913-1930. She was a regular contributor to the New York Times Book Review for twenty-five years, and her journalism has appeared in Smithsonian Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, The New York Times, Elle and the Toronto Globe and Mail, among other publications. She splits her time between the Hudson Valley and New York City.


Monday, April 22, 2019 6:30-8:00 pm

Thomas Leslie

Towards the Glass Box
Postwar Skyscrapers in Portland, New York and Chicago

The ubiquitous "Glass Box" skyscrapers of the postwar era have a surprisingly opaque history. In this talk, architect and professor Thomas Leslie asks "where did the glass skin come from?" and shows how lighting, air conditioning, and glass technologies developed in the decades before Lever House and Seagram. Leslie reveals how solid-wall systems rapidly evolved through experiments with reliable cladding and servicing systems to produce the triumph of transparency.

Thomas Leslie is the Morrill Pickard Chilton Professor in Architecture at Iowa State University, where he researches the integration of building sciences and arts both historically and in contemporary practice. He is the author of​​ Louis I. Kahn: Building Art, Building Science (2005), Chicago Skyscrapers, 1871-1934 (2013) and, with Jason Alread and Robert Whitehead, Design-Tech: Building Science for Architects (2014).


Reservations are required, and priority is given to Members and Corporate Member firms and their employees.
All guests MUST RSVP to [email protected] to assure admittance to the event. Not a member? Become a Museum member today!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 6:30-8:00 pm

Nicholas Dagen Bloom Book Talk

How States Shaped Postwar America
State Government and Urban Power

Chicago University Press, 2019

In How States Shaped Postwar America, historian Nicholas Bloom reveals the enduring impact of activist states in an era of unsteady federal power. Anchoring the story on the example set by New York governor Nelson Rockefeller, Bloom shows how Rockefeller took the lead on a number of aggressive initiatives, including urban redevelopment, mass transit, affordable housing, and the environment. His bold efforts inspired other governors and legislators, ultimately leading to the establishment of long-lived city and state policies. For both better and worse, the daily lives of late twentieth-century urban dwellers across the nation changed as a direct result of sustained state action.

Nicholas Dagen Bloom is a Professor of Social Sciences at New York Institute of Technology. He is the Co-Editor of the Journal of Planning History and the author or editor of eight books about urban development, including Public Housing That Worked: New York in the Twentieth Century and, with Matthew Lasner, Affordable Housing in New York: The People, Places, and Policies That Transformed a City.


Wednesday, February 6, 2019 6:30-8:00 pm

Kate Ascher and Thomas Mellins Book Talk

New York Rising
An Illustrated History from the Durst Collection

Monacelli Press, 2018

New York Rising is a richly illustrated history of real estate development in Manhattan that draws on the wealth of books and historical objects in the Durst Collection at Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. Editors and authors Kate Ascher and Thomas Mellins invited ten Columbia scholars to compose narratives of their areas of expertise, ranging from Dutch governance of Manhattan to recent reclamation of the city’s waterfront as a public space. The resulting volume is a story of speculation and innovation – of the big ideas, big personalities, and big risks that collectively shaped a city like no other.

Kate Ascher is a partner at BuroHappold Engineering, where she leads their cities group, as well as the Milstein Professor of Urban Development at Columbia GSAPP. She formerly served as assistant director at PANYNJ and as executive vice president of the Economic Development Corporation for City of New York. She is the author of numerous books, among them Skyscraper Museum bestsellers The Heights: Anatomy of a Skyscraper and The Works: Anatomy of a City.

Thomas Mellins is an architectural historian and independent curator specializing in New York. He is the co-author, with Robert A. M. Stern, of New York 1880, New York 1930, and New York 1960. He has organized numerous exhibitions, including at the Museum of the City of New York, the National Building Museum, and The New York Public Library.


Tuesday, January 22, 2019 6:30-8:00 pm

Classical New York
Discovering Greece and Rome in Lower Manhattan

Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis, Matthew M. McGowan and Jon Ritter

Empire State Editions, 2018

During New York’s rise to become a global metropolis, the visual language of Greek and Roman antiquity played a formative role in the development of the city’s art and architecture. Classical New York, a collection of essays on the influence of Greco-Roman thought and design on the city, touches on topics from huge, elaborate neo-classical public buildings to public art and Latin inscriptions. Join us as the editors of and a contributor to the volume discuss the enduring influence of the classical world on modern New York and, especially, on lower Manhattan.

Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis is Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies and the Acting Executive Officer of the M.A. Program in Liberal Studies at the Graduate Center, the City University of New York.

Matthew M. McGowan is Associate Professor and Chair of Classics at Fordham University, as well as President of the New York Classical Club.

Jon Ritter is Clinical Associate Professor of Architecture at NYU. He is President of the New York chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians.


Tuesday, December 4, 2018 6:30-8:00 pm

Alice Sparberg Alexiou Book Talk

Devil's Mile
The Rich, Gritty History of the Bowery

St. Martin's Press, 2018

Nicknamed “Satan’s Highway,” “The Mile of Hell,” and “The Street of Forgotten Men,” the Bowery was a synonym for despair throughout most of the 20th century. In Devil’s Mile, Alice Sparberg Alexiou traces the history of the thoroughfare to explain how it evolved from a street of high-end homes to an infamous stretch of flophouses and dive bars. From the origins of the “bouwerie” as a Lenape trail, to its deterioration, then rebirth in the 1990s, Alexiou bears witness to the old Bowery, and retrieves its disappearing memories.

Alice Sparberg Alexiou writes about New York City. With this lecture, she joins the elite three-peat club of Skyscraper Museum authors, following her book on The Flatiron: The New York Landmark and the Incomparable City That Arose with It (2010) and before that, Jane Jacobs: Urban Visionary (2006). Alexiou is a contributing editor at Lilith magazine and she blogs for the Gotham Center. She is a graduate of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and has a Ph.D. in classics from Fordham University.



Tuesday, November 13, 2018 6:30-8:00 pm

Gary Hack Book Talk

Sustainable Site Planning

Gary Hack has studied, taught, and practiced site planning for more than forty years in the United States, Canada, and worldwide. In 1984, and in many subsequent editions, he joined Kevin Lynch as co-author of the classic textbook Site Planning. His new solo volume is a summary of a life’s work, and a comprehensive, lavishly illustrated state-of-the-art guide to the subject. It covers planning processes and standards, new technologies, sustainability, and cultural context, addressing the roles of all participants and stakeholders and offering extensive treatment of practices in rapidly urbanizing countries.

Join us as Hack discusses his new international edition of Site Planning, which focuses on how sustainability can be achieved through the development of sites from small to large. He will illustrate emerging technologies that allow much of the energy, runoff, water, liquid and solid waste removal, and other functions to be handled on-site. He will also discuss the implications of new mobility technologies on the planning of sites and the form of roads, parking, and other areas now devoted to vehicles. Come and share your thoughts on these subjects.

Gary Hack is Professor Emeritus of City & Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania where he teaches, practices, and studies large-scale physical planning and urban design. He is the former dean of the UPenn School of Design, as well as a former chairman of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. Prior to coming to Penn, he was a professor of urban design at MIT, and a partner in the firm of Carr Lynch Hack and Sandell. Hack has served as the principal urban designer for many projects domestically and internationally and has written numerous books on the topic.


Monday, October 29, 2018 6:30-8:00 pm

Barbara Mensch Book Talk

In the Shadow of Genius
The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators

Fordham University Press, 2018

Photographer and author Barbara Mensch has lived alongside the Brooklyn Bridge for over 30 years. Combining her first-person perspective with striking photography, In the Shadow of Genius takes us on a journey of Mensch’s life by the bridge and her curious path to understand the brilliant minds and remarkable lives of those who built it: John, Washington, and Emily Roebling. From New York to Germany, as well as Pennsylvania and other sites of Roebling projects, Mensch fuses her contemporary photography and historical records, giving us a new perspective on Roebling’s masterwork.

Barbara Mensch has lived in the Seaport area since 1979, which has been a constant focus of her work. She holds a BFA degree from Hunter College. Her work has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions, as well as in exhibitions at MoMA, the Brooklyn Museum, and The Skyscraper Museum. Her previous books include South Street and Barbara Mensch: New York Photographs.


Saturday, October 13, 2018 12:00-6:00 pm

Open House New York

The Skyscraper Museum offered FREE ADMISSION on Saturday, October 13 from noon to 6pm in participation with Open House New York.

The annual Open House New York Weekend unlocks the doors of New York’s most important buildings, offering an extraordinary opportunity to experience the city and meet the people who design, build, and preserve New York.



Tuesday, September 11, 2018 6:00-8:00 pm

Camilo Jose Vergara and Richard Berenholtz

The Lower Manhattan Skyline, with & without the Twin Towers

New York skyline from Jersey City. Richard Berenholtz, 1999

Photographers Camilo Jose Vergara and Richard Berenholtz reflect on their decades of focus on New York’s changing skyline, in images and conversation.

In conjunction with the museum's new exhibition SKYLINE, two noted photographers of the New York will discuss their work over several decades of documenting the evolving identity of lower Manhattan. Berenholtz and Vergara will each show a selection of sequences that capture the lower Manhattan skyline from the same position over time and in many temporal conditions, recording in images that are authentic, poetic, and, ultimately, poignant. Join us on the evening of September 11 to remember the Twin Towers and pay tribute to what was lost and to the resilience of the city.

Camilo Jose Vergara has photographed the urban scene in New York, Detroit, and other American cities for more than forty years. In 2002, he was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, and in 2013, he became the first photographer to be awarded the National Humanities Medal. He is author of numerous books, including Detroit is No Dry Bones; Silent Cities: The Evolution of the American Cemetery; The New American Ghetto; and Harlem: The Unmaking of a Ghetto.

Richard Berenholtz has been a commercial photographer since 1984. His panoramas of New York City have been published widely and have been shown internationally, including as the photographs for the NYC 2012 Olympic bid book and to represent New York City at the 2006 Venice Biennale. Richard’s photography features prominently in The Skyscraper Museum’s current exhibition, SKYLINE. He is the author of numerous books of New York photography.


Manhattan skyline, New York, from the Staten Island Ferry, 1989, 2011, and 2016. Camilo Jose Vergara

Tuesday, August 14, 2018 6:30-8:00 pm

John Tauranac Book Talk

Manhattan's Little Secrets
Uncovering Mysteries in Brick and Mortar, Glass and Stone

Globe Pequot, 2018

Manhattan is full of secrets - subjects ignored by guidebooks and overlooked by passersby. In Manhattan’s Little Secrets, John Tauranac "Sherlocks" these elusive and interesting sights throughout Manhattan, from the southern tip of the island to the northern heights. More than 120 subjects are included in the book, accompanied by photography by Kathryn Gerhardt as well as two maps. Join us for a discussion of this new book which is sure to provide something new for even serious students of the city.

John Tauranac writes on New York's architectural history, gives tours of the city, designs maps, and teaches architectural history at NYU's School of Professional Studies. He was named a Centennial Historian of the City of New York by the Mayor's Office in 1999, and he was awarded a Commendation for Design Excellence by the U. S. Department of Transportation and the National Endowment of the Arts in 1980 for his role as the design chief of the 1979 subway map. Other books by Tauranac include New York From the Air; The Empire State Building: The Making of a Landmark, Elegant New York, and Essential New York.



Tuesday, July 24, 2018 6:00-8:00 pm

Building Better with Cantilevers and Bridging

Eugene Flotteron, Paul J. Proulx, John Pierce, and Silvian Marcus

Join a multidisciplinary expert panel in a thought provoking conversation about how today’s tall buildings consider every potential dimension a city site offers. Like a 3-D chess match, site assembly by creative development teams offer complex, value-enhancing strategies in dense urban settings.

This panel is presented in conjunction with the museum’s Skyline exhibit, which organizes New York’s nearly 150 years of skyline development, and looks at how building’s characteristic forms are often shaped by economic, technological and regulatory factors.

Join the speakers for another program in the Museum's continuing series of Skyscraper Seminars, exploring subjects of theory and practice for design professionals.

A conversation with:
Eugene Flotteron, AIA, Principal, CetraRuddy Architecture
Paul J. Proulx, Partner, Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP
John Pierce, Senior VP, Design & Construction, Rockefeller Group
Silvian Marcus, PE, Director of Building Structures, WSP

One Madison rendering: © David Sundberg/ Esto
45 Broad rendering: © CetraRuddy Architecture


Tuesday, July 17, 2018 6:30-8:00 pm

Michele H. Bogart Book Talk

Sculpture in Gotham
Art and Urban Renewal in New York City

Reaktion Books, 2018

In Sculpture in Gotham, Michele Bogart recounts how the City of New York became committed to public art patronage. From the mid-1960s, cultural activists and City officials, for a time, shifted away from traditional monuments and joined forces to sponsor ambitious sculptural projects as instruments for urban revitalization. Bogart, an art historian who also served as a Commissioner on the NYC Public Design Commission, describes how public art became socially and politically relevant during a time when art theories and styles were evolving dramatically and when local government was overwhelmed with economic decline and civil rights issues. Sculpture in Gotham sheds new light on civic activism and collaboration as a force for cultural change in urban America.

Michele H. Bogart is professor of art history and criticism at Stony Brook University. She served on the Art Commission from 1998 to 2003. Her previous books include Public Sculpture and the Civic Ideal in New York City, 1890–1930 (2nd edn 1997), Artists, Advertising, and the Borders of Art (1995) and The Politics of Urban Beauty: New York and Its Art Commission (2006).


Tuesday, June 19, 2017 4:00-8:00 pm

Night at the Museums

The museums and historic landmarks of Lower Manhattan are an American treasure. Explore one of the most diverse and concentrated groups of museums in the world – 15 sites all within comfortable walking distance of each other. This annual event takes place rain or shine.

Free Admission at The Skyscraper Museum and participating sister museums.

Curator's tour at 5pm.


Tuesday, June 12, 2018 6:30-8:00 pm

Fran Leadon Book Talk

A History of New York City in Thirteen Miles

W.W. Norton & Company, 2018

Architect and scholar Fran Leadon offers an eye-opening history of Broadway, Manhattan’s most famous street. Once a cow path in the seventeenth-century Dutch colony, “Brede Wegh” transformed across time and space into the Great White Way. Leadon shows us, mile by mile, from Bowling Green to Marble Hill, how small taverns and farmland gradually grew into department stores, theaters, hotels, apartments, and skyscrapers to become one of America’s most vibrant, complex, and storied thoroughfares.

Fran Leadon is an architect and professor at the City College of New York. In addition to Broadway, he is the co-author of the AIA Guide to New York City (fifth edition).


Wednesday, May 23, 2018 6:30-8:00 pm

Kurt C. Schlichting Book Talk

Waterfront Manhattan:
From Henry Hudson to the High Line

Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018

For hundreds of years, the shorefront of Manhattan served as the country’s center of trade, shipping, and commerce. It was a world of docks, ships, tugboats, ferries, and freight, as well as a place where millions of immigrants entered the Promised Land. The waterfront also presented the city with a monumental challenge: finding the necessary capital to build and expand the maritime infrastructure. In Waterfront Manhattan, Kurt C. Schlichting recounts the story of its initial construction by private interests, the takeover by the City of New York in the second half of the 19th century, the steady decline in the 20th century as containerization changed shipping patterns, and recent rebirth as parkland and luxury housing. Join us for a discussion of the struggle between public and private control of New York’s priceless asset.

Kurt C. Schlichting is the E. Gerald Corrigan ’63 Chair in Humanities and Social Sciences at Fairfield University, where he is a professor of sociology. He is the author of Grand Central’s Engineer: William J. Wilgus and the Planning of Modern Manhattan and Grand Central Terminal: Railroads, Engineering, and Architecture in New York City.



Tuesday, April 24, 2018 6:30-8:00 pm

Jae In Choi and Stephen DeSimone

125 Greenwich Street

The one constant in the evolution of the design of the 912-foot tall, super-slender condominium at 125 Greenwich Street, just south of the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan, is its postage-stamp site, barely 83' x 119 ft. After several early schemes, which ranged in height from 1,100 to nearly 1,400 ft., the tower now under construction will top out at 912 ft./ 278 meters. Offering insights into their strategies of design and structural engineering of the skyscraper are Jae In Choi, the project architect from Rafael Vinoly Architects, and structural engineer Stephen DeSimone of DeSimone Consulting Engineers.

In the changing market for luxury units and the evolving Downtown demographics, the developer’s continuing analysis led to a rethinking of the mix of apartments and placement of amenity floors and, thus, a revised structural approach and expression in the tower’s form. Choi and DeSimone will detail how the current design answers the challenges of mixed floor plans, maximized views, and wind engineering, among other issues.

125 Greenwich Street is being developed by Bizzi & Partners, a global real estate firm with offices in Milan, New York, San Paolo and Tallinn. In addition to Rafael Vinoly Architects and DeSimone Consulting Engineers, consultants to the project include Reginald D. Hough Associates, Cosentini Associates, and Robert Schwartz & Associates.

Join the speakers for another program in the Museum's continuing series of Skyscraper Seminars, exploring subjects of theory and practice for design professionals.

Jae In Choi, AIA, NCARB is a Project Manager at Rafael Vinoly Architects, where is managing 125 Greenwich Street. He has worked at RVA since 2010, where he has been the Project Manager for 432 Park Avenue, among other buildings.

DeSimone Consulting Engineers was established in New York in 1969. Stephen V. DeSimone joined the firm in 1988 and is now President and CEO. In addition to the specialty of super-slender towers in Manhattan that DeSimone has designed, including 220 Central Park South, 50 West Street, 111 Murray, and 45 E. 22 Street, the firm works on a wide range of building types nationally and internationally.

Tower rendering: © March CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO


Thursday, April 12, 2018 6:30-8:00 pm

Charles Waldheim

The New Heliomorphism

In the Museum's continuing series of Skyscraper Seminars exploring subjects of theory and practice for design professionals, Charles Waldheim discusses “The New Heliomorphism.” Recent projects by a number of leading architects and urbanists have suggested new forms of urban order through solar orientation. At the 2017 Chicago Biennial, Waldheim and a team from the Harvard GSD Office for Urbanization, with Siena Sharff Design, presented the installation Heliomorphic Chicago, which re-imagined the Loop's buildings adjusted to a complex and contradictory economy of solar performance. In this talk, Waldheim will discuss a hypothetical Heliomorphic Manhattan, formulated on ideas of revising and extending the ecological urbanism agenda by returning to values of solar performance. Click here for the full program description

Charles Waldheim is a noted architect, urbanist, and educator whose research examines the relations between landscape, ecology, and contemporary urbanism. He is the John E. Irving Professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, where he directs the School’s Office for Urbanization. Waldheim is the author of Landscape as Urbanism: A General Theory and editor of The Landscape Urbanism Reader, among many other publications. CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO

Panel Discussion

Tuesday, April 3, 2018 6:30-8:00 pm

How Downtown Changed in the Decade
Before and After 9/11

Cornell AAP, 26 Broadway, 20th Floor (Click here for directions)

In conjunction with its exhibition MILLENNIUM: Lower Manhattan in the 1990s, The Skyscraper Museum will present a panel discussion that reflects on the extraordinary changes, planned and unplanned, that took place in New York's oldest neighborhood. No place in the mid-1990s was more ripe for reinvention than lower Manhattan – especially the historic Financial District, where, in the wake of the 1987 stock market crash and savings-and-loan crisis, vacancy rates rose to nearly 30 percent. Planning policy, government incentives, Landmarks regulation, new cultural organizations, and eventually a reviving real estate market were beginning to change the FiDi's essential character by the first year of the 21st century. Then unexpected change happened.

A panel of key players responsible for the fate and future of Downtown in the last decade of the millennium will come together to reflect on lower Manhattan, then and now. Two past Chairs of the Landmarks Preservation Commission whose tenures spanned the Nineties, Laurie Beckelman and Jennifer Raab, Joe Rose, Chairman of the NYC Planning Commission from 1993-2002 in the administration of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and Carl Weisbrod, who in 1995 left the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), of which he was the first President, to head the new The Alliance for Downtown New York, the BID established to help address the decline of the Financial District and its 30 million square feet of vacant space.

The program will be introduced by Museum Director Carol Willis and the discussion will be moderated by Lynne Sagalyn. The panel includes Laurie Beckelman, Jennifer Raab, Joe Rose, and Carl Weisbrod.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018 6:30-8:00 pm

Steven Cohen Book Talk

The Sustainable City

Columbia University Press, 2017

The transition to a green economy depends on cities. In The Sustainable City, Steven Cohen, executive director of Columbia University's Earth Institute, provides a broad and engaging overview of the urban systems of the 21st century, surveying policies and projects already under way in cities around the world and pointing to ways that the urban infrastructure of the future--renewable energy, energy efficiency, mass and personal transit, and advanced waste management--can be improved. The Sustainable City provides invaluable lessons for anyone seeking to link public policy to promoting a sustainable lifestyle.

Steven Cohen is executive director of Columbia University's Earth Institute and a professor in the practice of public affairs at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. He is the director of the Master of Public Administration Program in Environmental Science and Policy, the Master of Science in Sustainability Management, and the Research Program on Sustainability Policy and Management at Columbia. His books include Sustainability Management: Lessons from and for New York City, America, and the Planet and Understanding Environmental Policy.

Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 6:30-8:00 pm

Alison Isenberg Book Talk

Designing San Francisco
Art, Land, and Urban Renewal in the City by the Bay

Princeton University Press, 2017

Designing San Francisco is the untold story of the formative postwar decades when U.S. cities took their modern shape amid clashing visions of the future. An evocative portrait of San Francisco between the 1940s and 1970s, the book focuses on the artists, activists, and others who played pivotal roles in rebuilding the city as it underwent large-scale redevelopment. Join us as Alison Isenberg discusses a new paradigm for understanding past and present struggles to define an urban future, and compares and contrasts the well-known example of midcentury Manhattan (think Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs) with equally contentious San Francisco.

Alison Isenberg is Professor of History at Princeton University, where she codirects the Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities. She is the author of Downtown America: A History of the Place and the People Who Made It.
Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 6:30-8:00 pm

Cassim Shepard Book Talk

Citymakers: The Culture and Craft of Practical Urbanism
Written by Cassim Shepard, Photographer Alex Fradkin, Foreword by Rosalie Genevro

The Monacelli Press, 2017

Drawing on six years as the editor of Urban Omnibus, one of the leading publications charting innovations in urban practice, Cassim Shepard explores a broad variety of projects in New York, a city at the forefront of experimental and practical research. Cities are the laboratories of the future, and in Citymakers, Shepard offers a vivid survey of urbanism today, showing that it is no longer just the domain of planners, politicians, and power brokers, but of an array of citizens working at the vanguard of increasingly diverse practices, from community gardeners to architects to housing advocates.

Cassim Shepard is the Principal of SQ Projects, a media consulting and production practice. Shepard was the founding Editor-in-Chief of Urban Omnibus, an online publication of the Architectural League of New York. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia GSAPP.
Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017 6:30-8:00 pm

Barbara Mensch Book Talk

South Street

Columbia University Press, 2007

South Street is a remarkable visual essay, collecting Barbara Mensch’s photographs of the lost world of Fulton Fish Market from 1979-1983. With lively commentary, Mensch documents the tight knit world of fishmongers and the market, which was, in the words of Phillip Lopate, a “last vestige of historic Gotham.” Join us as Barbara Mensch discusses her work, which includes numerous photographs that feature prominently in the Museum’s current exhibition.

Barbara Mensch has lived in the Seaport area since 1979. She holds a BFA degree from Hunter College. Her work has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions and countless group exhibitions, as well as in museums including MoMA and the Brooklyn Museum. Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 6:30-8:00 pm

Mike Wallace Book Talk

Greater Gotham
A History of New York City from 1898 to 1919

Oxford University Press, 2017

Picking up in 1898, where the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gotham left off, Greater Gotham doubles down on detail to cover a remarkable period in New York City's history. Beginning with the consolidation of the five boroughs and ending just after WW1, this long-awaited sequel surveys two decisive decades that saw the city’s physical and population growth into the world's second-largest metropolis and a center of global finance. Join us as Mike Wallace discusses the remarkable book that Publisher's Weekly writes "sets a standard for urban history, capturing both New York's particularities and its protean dynamism."

Mike Wallace is a Distinguished Professor of History at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, specializing in the history of New York City. Gotham, written with Edwin G. Burrows, won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize in History. In 2000, Wallace founded The Gotham Center for New York City History at The Graduate Center, CUNY.

The Skyscraper Museum offered 1.5 LUs for AIA Members for this program.

Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 6:30-8:00 pm

John Hill Book Talk

How to Build a Skyscraper

RotoVision, 2017

In How to Build a Skyscraper, John Hill examines 45 noteworthy skyscrapers from across the decades and around the world – from our hometown Flatiron Building to the world's current tallest, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE – and highlights unique characteristics of their history, design, construction, and function. Each iconic building is described in concise text, beautiful photography, and bespoke drawings that reveal the tower's internal structure. Join us as Hill discusses selections from a book that promises to be a best-seller in The Skyscraper Museum's book store!

John Hill is an architect, editor-in-chief of the Daily News section of, and founder/editor-in-chief of the popular blog A Daily Dose of Architecture, where he publishes daily articles about architecture news and book reviews. He is the author of Guide to Contemporary New York City Architecture and 100 Years, 100 Buildings.

The Skyscraper Museum offered 1.5 LUs for AIA Members for this program.

Click here to watch the program.

Thursday, October 12, 2017 6:30-8:00 pm

Kevin D. Murphy Book Talk

Skyscraper Gothic
Medieval Style and Modernist Buildings

The University of Virginia Press, 2017

Skyscrapers, emblems of the modernity in American cities in late 19th and 20th century, commonly drew upon styles reminiscent of the great Gothic cathedrals of Europe. Skyscraper Gothic brings together a group of renowned scholars to explore what the appearance of Gothic forms on radically new buildings meant urbanistically, architecturally, and socially. Please join us as Kevin D. Murphy, co-editor and contributor to the volume, discusses the under-examined interplay between skyscraper design and the Gothic vocabulary.

Kevin D. Murphy is the Andrew W. Mellon Chair in the Humanities and Professor and Chair of History of Art at Vanderbilt University. His publications include the book Memory and Modernity: Viollet-le-Duc at Vézelay (2000), Jonathan Fisher of Blue Hill, Maine: Commerce, Culture and Community on the Eastern Frontier (2010), several co-edited volumes, and numerous journal articles.

The Skyscraper Museum offered 1.5 LUs for AIA Members for this program.

Click here to watch the program.


Thursday, September 7, 2017 6:30-8:00 pm

Leslie Robertson Book Talk

The Structure of Design
An Engineer's Extraordinary Life in Architecture

The Monacelli Press, 2017

In The Structure of Design, Leslie Earl Robertson offers a personal and accessible chronicle of the partnerships and problem-solving that forged so many classics of modern architecture. He recounts his famous collaborations with architects, including Minoru Yamasaki, Philip Johnson, and I. M. Pei, among many others, and his delight in working with leading sculptors such as Richard Serra and Beverly Pepper. Join us for an illustrated talk that combines personal refections and professional insights on "An Engineer's Extraordinary Life in Architecture."

Leslie Robertson moved to New York City to work on the structural design of the World Trade Center for the Seattle firm Skilling, Helle, Christiansen, and soon added his name to the partnership. He established the firm Leslie E. Robertson Associates in 1986. The firm’s many innovative skyscrapers around the world include the U.S. Steel Tower in Pittsburgh, the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong, the Shanghai World Financial Center, and Lotte World Tower in Seoul. He retired as a partner at the end of 1994 and continued to work on LERA projects through 2012. He now practices as Leslie Earl Robertson, Structural Engineer, LLC.

The Skyscraper Museum offered 1.5 LUs for AIA Members for this program.

Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 6:30-8:00 pm

Anthony W. Robins Book Talk

New York Art Deco
A Guide to Gotham's Jazz Age Architecture

SUNY Press, 2017

Lively and informative, New York Art Deco leads readers step-by-step past the monuments of the 1920s and ’30s that recast New York as the world’s modern metropolis. Anthony W. Robins new walking tour guidebook traces itineraries in Manhattan and across the boroughs. Maps by John Tauranac and color plates by Art Deco photographer Randy Juster enrich the mix. Join Tony for a talk that distills his thirty years experience hunting the urban Art Deco.

A native New Yorker, Anthony W. Robins is the author of books on Grand Central Terminal, the World Trade Center, and the art and architecture of the New York subway system. A popular leader of walking tours all over the city, he specializes in Art Deco, having organized series for many organizations, including the Art Deco Society of New York and the Municipal Art Society. He is the recipient of the 2017 Guiding Spirit Award from the Guides Association of New York City.

The Skyscraper Museum offered 1.5 LUs for AIA Members for this program.

Click here to watch the program.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017 6:30-8:00 pm

Sarah Williams Goldhagen Book Talk

Welcome to Your World:
How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives

Harper, 2016

Drawing on new discoveries in cognitive psychology and neuroscience, in her new book Welcome to Your World, architecture critic and historian Sarah Williams Goldhagen probes how environments profoundly shape our feelings, memories, and well-being. In this Skyscraper Seminar, conceived as a conversation with design professionals, Goldhagen will focus on issues of high-rise living and urban density. Drawing on the examples from her book, she'll suggest how to bring new research and insights to construct a world better suited to human experience.

Sarah Williams Goldhagen is a writer, lecturer, and contributing editor to the Architectural Record and Art in America. Previously, she was the architecture critic at the New Republic and a lecturer at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Her essays and criticism on the topic of the built environment have appeared in both scholarly and general-interest publications.

Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017 4:00-8:00 pm

Night at the Museums

The museums and historic landmarks of Lower Manhattan are an American treasure. Explore one of the most diverse and concentrated groups of museums in the world – 15 sites all within comfortable walking distance of each other. This annual event takes place rain or shine.

Free Admission at The Skyscraper Museum and participating sister museums.

Curator's tour at 5pm.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017 6:30-8:00 pm

John Hill Book Talk

100 Years, 100 Buildings

Prestel, 2016

Lists are fun. In 100 Years, 100 Buildings, John Hill, founder/editor-in-chief of the blog A Daily Dose of Architecture, casts his critical eye back into a century of great architecture. He sifts a superb international collection of the best existing structures, one for each year from 1916 to the present. Starting with H. P. Berlage’s Holland House in London and closing with Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Broad Museum in Los Angeles, Hill combs the globe for iconic buildings which are able to be seen and explored by the average enthusiast. Featuring large color photographs and short text for each building, as well as an introductory essay and timeline of important architectural events, 100 Years, 100 Buildings surveys the underlying themes and developments in the world of architecture.

John Hill is an architect, editor-in-chief of the Daily News section of, and founder/editor-in-chief of the blog A Daily Dose of Architecture, where he publishes daily articles about architecture news and book reviews. He is the author of Guide to Contemporary New York City Architecture.

The Skyscraper Museum offers 1.5 LUs for AIA Members for this program.

Click here to watch the program.

Monday, May 1, 2017 6:30-8:00 pm

Samuel Zipp and Nathan Storring
discuss “The Second Jane Jacobs Century” and their book

Vital Little Plans:
The Short Works of Jane Jacobs

Penguin Random House, 2016

Samuel Zipp and Nathan Storring, urban historians and co-editors of the book of collected short essays by Jane Jacobs entitled Vital Little Plans, celebrate her 101st birthday week with a conversation on her continuing influence. While many know Jacobs for her defense of traditional urbanism and local economies, far fewer think of her as a futurist. As we begin the “second Jane Jacobs century,” what can her writings tell us about the city of tomorrow? In an age of polarized politics, what did she make of xenophobia, separatism and the state of our democracy? In the knowledge age, how did she perceive the relationship between innovation, inequality and facing our greatest existential threats like climate change? And of course, in the age of megacities, what did she think of skyscrapers, slums, and the making of new cities? 

 Samuel Zipp, an Associate Professor of American Studies and Urban Studies at Brown University is a cultural, intellectual, and urban historian with particular interest in 20th century cities  and United States cultural and political history since World War II. He is the author of Manhattan Projects: The Rise and Fall of Urban Renewal in Cold War New York (OUP, 2010).

Nathan Storring describes himself as a “writer, curator, designer, and media producer with a focus on interpreting architecture, city planning, and urban issues for a general audience.” Working with the non-profit Project for Public Spaces, he is a research associate and communications manager for the Bass Initiative on Innovation & Placemaking. He lives in Brooklyn.

The Skyscraper Museum offers 1.5 LUs for AIA Members for this program.

Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 6:30-8:00 pm

John Freeman Gill Book Talk

The Gargoyle Hunters

Penguin Random House, 2017

Join us as John Freeman Gill discusses his debut novel The Gargoyle Hunters. Hilarious and poignant, the book is a love letter to a vanishing city and a deeply emotional story of fathers and sons. Intimately portraying New York’s relationship with time, the novel presents the mystery of a brazen and seemingly impossible architectural heist— the theft of an entire historic Manhattan building. Through the voice of thirteen-year-old Griffin Watts, Gill implores readers to look at New York with a new perspective. The Washington Post writes, “After a few chapters with Watts, it’s impossible not to turn your gaze toward the sky. You’ll never look at the Woolworth Building the same way again.”

John Freeman Gill is a long time New York Times contributor as well as the architecture and real estate editor of Avenue magazine. His work has also appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Observer, The Washington Monthly, The International Herald Tribune, the website of New York magazine, Premiere, the New York Times op-ed page, and The New York Times Book Review.

Click here to watch the program.


Thursday & Friday, March 9 & 10, 2017

TEN & TALLER Symposium
The Rise of the Skyscraper City: ​
All the Tall Buildings in Manhattan, 1874-1900

In conjunction with its current exhibition ​​TEN & TALLER, 1874-1900, The Skyscraper Museum presents symposium that explores new narratives of the first decades of high-rise history. Organized into four sessions, on Thursday evening, March 9 and on Friday morning and afternoon, March 10, the symposium brings together a range of scholars and authors who have studied nineteenth-century New York from the perspectives of architecture, engineering, and urban history.

Reservations are required, and priority is given to Members and Corporate Member firms and their employees. All guests MUST RSVP to [email protected] to assure admittance to the event. Not a member? Become a Museum member today!

Sessions 1 and 2 will be held at The Skyscraper Museum, 39 Battery Place
Sessions 3 and 4 will be held at the Cornell AAP facility at 26 Broadway

Support for the symposium has been generously provided by

Click here to watch the symposium.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017 6:30-8:00 pm

Thomas Leslie Book Talk

Chicago Skyscrapers, 1871-1934

University of Illinois Press, 2013

This history of Chicago's skyscrapers begins in the key period of reconstruction after the Great Fire of 1871 and ends a chapter in 1934 amid the Great Depression that brought construction to a standstill. Thomas Leslie covers these years in his book ​Chicago Skyscrapers , detailing building methods, foundation materials, framing structures, and electric lighting, and other technical innovations. Leslie also considers how the city's infamous political climate contributed to its architecture, as building and zoning codes were often disputed by shifting networks of rivals, labor unions, professional organizations, and municipal bodies.

Thomas Leslie is the Morrill Pickard Chilton Professor in Architecture at Iowa State University, where he researches the integration of building sciences and arts both historically and in contemporary practice. He is the author of​​ Louis I. Kahn: Building Art​​, Building Science (2005) and, with Jason Alread and Robert Whitehead, Design-Tech: Building Science for Architects (2014). A winner of the 2013 Booth Family Rome Prize in Historic Preservation and Conservation at the American Academy in Rome, he is at work on a study of the buildings of the Italian engineer and architect Pier Luigi Nervi.

Click here to watch the program.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017 6:30-8:00 pm

Stefan Al

Mall City: Hong Kong's Dreamworlds of Consumption

University of Hawaii Press, 2016

In his new book, MALL City: Hong Kong's Dreamworlds of Consumption, Stefan Al analyzes Hong Kong as the world’s laboratory of vertical urbanism. The city continues to build ever-higher-density mega-complexes of residential and office towers standing on a podium shopping mall, often integrated with railway infrastructure. These podium-tower developments are cities in and of themselves, accommodating up to tens of thousands of people who live, work and play within a single structure. Stretching up to 26 stories and incorporating stunning vertical atria with dynamic “expresscalators,” these complexes have become one of Hong Kong’s basic units of urban development, like the skyscraper is of New York City. Highly efficient urban forms, they also set in stone a culture of consumerism.

Stefan Al is an architect and urban designer. An Associate Professor of Urban Design at the University of Pennsylvania, he teaches courses and studios on Urban Design and co-teaches, with Jonathan Barnett and Gary Hack, an online Coursera class "Designing Cities" that reaches more than 65,000 students. A leading expert on urbanization in developing countries, high-density cities, and cities of spectacle and entertainment, Als has authored and edited numerous books, including ​​Factory Towns of South China, Villages in the City, Mall City, ​​and ​​Macau and the Casino Complex,​​ as well as a recent work on Las Vegas, ​​The Strip​​. Stefan Al holds a doctorate in City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley, an M.Arch. from The Bartlett, and an M.Sc. from Delft University of Technology.

Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, January 10, 2016 6:30-8:00 pm

Clifton Hood Book Talk

In Pursuit of Privilege
A History of New York City's
Upper Class and the Making of a Metropolis

Columbia University Press, 2016

In his new book In Pursuit of Privilege, Clifton Hood recounts how, throughout the city's history, upper-class New Yorkers have struggled to create a distinct world, guarded against outsiders, even as economic growth and democratic opportunity enabled new aspirants to gain entrance. Yet despite their efforts, the privileged class has been drawn into the larger story of the city, both through class conflict and through their role in institution building. Hood limns the famous and infamous characters, from the elite families and wealthy tycoons of the 18th and 19th centuries to Wall Street executives today. Surveying decades of upheaval and change, he shows that New York's upper class did not rise exclusively from the Gilded Age, but from a relentless pursuit of privilege, affecting not just the urban elite, but the city's entire cultural, economic, and political fabric.

Clifton Hood is professor of history at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. A noted urban historian and expert on New York City, he is the author of 722 Miles: The Building of the Subways and How They Transformed New York (1993). His work has appeared in numerous publications, including the Journal of Urban History, Journal of Social History, Reviews in American History, and the New York Times.

Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016 6:30-8:00 pm

Camilo Vergara Book Talk

Detroit Is No Dry Bones

University of Michigan Press, 2016

Over the past 25 years, award-winning ethnographer and photographer Camilo José Vergara has traveled annually to Detroit to document not only the city’s precipitous decline, but also how its residents have survived. From the 1970s through the 1990s, changes in Detroit were almost all for the worse, as the fabric of the city was erased through neglect and abandonment. But over the last decade, the city has seen the beginnings of a positive transformation. Vergara's photographs, collected in Detroit Is No Dry Bones, provide unique documentation of revival. Beyond the fate of the city’s buildings, Vergara captures the distinct culture of this largely African-American city and documents re-purposed structures, including local churches that have re-occupied old bank buildings and other institutions of the past that carry unexpectedly powerful architectural and spiritual force.

Camilo Jose Vergara was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 2002 and received a Berlin Prize Fellowship in 2010. In 2013, he became the first photographer to be awarded the National Humanities Medal. He is author of numerous books, including ​​Silent Cities: The Evolution of the American Cemetery; The New American Ghetto; ​​and ​​Harlem: The Unmaking of a Ghetto.​

The Skyscraper Museum offers 1.5 LUs for AIA Members for this program.

Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 6:30-8:00 pm

Stephen Graham and Keller Easterling, in conversation

Vertical: The City from Satellites to Bunkers

Verso Books, 2016

As the urban landscape grows ever more vertical, extending from the satellites that encircle our planet to the tunnels deep within the ground, Stephen Graham argues it is time for a revolutionary re-imagining of our cities. Starting at the edge of earth’s atmosphere and, in a series of riveting studies, descending through each layer, Graham explores the world of drones, the city from the viewpoint of an aerial bomber, the design of sidewalks and the hidden depths of underground bunkers. In his new book Vertical: The City from Satellites to Bunkers, Graham argues that it is time for a revolutionary re-imagining of our cities.

To celebrate the launch of his new book, Vertical: The City from Satellites to Bunkers, The Skyscraper Museum will host a conversation between Professor Graham and writer and architect Keller Easterling about our vertical cities and the geographies of inequality.

Stephen Graham is Professor of Cities and Society at the Global Urban Research Unit, based in Newcastle University’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape. He is the author or editor of several books, including Telecommunications and the City, and Splintering Urbanism (both with Simon Marvin), Cities, War and Terrorism, Disrupted Cities: When Infrastructures Fail, and Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism.

Keller Easterling is an award-winning writer, architect and Professor at the Yale School of Architecture. She is the author of Organization Space and Enduring Innocence, which was named Archinect’s Best Book of 2005. Easterling is also the author of two essay-length books: an ebook, The Action Is the Form: Victor Hugo’s TED Talk and a forthcoming book Subtraction. Easterling lectures widely in the US and abroad and contributes to, among others, Domus, Artforum, Grey Room, E-Flux, Cabinet, and Volume.

The Skyscraper Museum offers 1.5 LUs for AIA Members for this program.

Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 6:30-8 pm

Lynne B. Sagalyn Book Talk

Power at Ground Zero​
Politics, Money, and the Remaking of Lower Manhattan

Oxford University Press, 2016

The destruction of the World Trade Center complex on 9/11 set in motion a chain of events that fundamentally transformed both the United States and the wider world. War has raged in the Middle East, and Americans have become accustomed to surveillance, enhanced security, and periodic terrorist attacks. But the symbolic locus of the post-9/11 era has always been "Ground Zero" – the sixteen acres in Manhattan's financial district where the twin towers fell.

In ​​Power at Ground Zero​, Lynne Sagalyn presents the definitive account of one of the greatest reconstruction projects in modern history. The culmination of over a decade of research, her book is both epic in scope and granular in detail. While the emotional dimension of 9/11 shaped the rebuilding effort, supercharging its sanctity and complexity with truly unique politics, Sagalyn shows the process was also a classic New York story.

​Lynne B. Sagalyn​​, author of ​Times Square Roulette: Remaking the City Icon​, is the Earle W. Kazis and Benjamin Schore Professor of Real Estate and Director of the MBA Real Estate Program at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business.

All book talks are free and open to the public. The gallery opens at 6:00pm.

All guests must RSVP to [email protected] to assure admittance.

Please be aware that reservation priority is given to members of The Skyscraper Museum. Not a member? Become a Museum member today!

Click here to watch the program.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016 6:30-8 pm

Alexander Garvin Book Talk

What Makes a Great City

Island Press, 2016

What makes a great city? Not a good city, or a functional city, but a great city that people admire, learn from, and replicate. Planner and architect Alexander Garvin sets out to answer this question by closely observing successful cities such as Paris, London, New York, and Vienna. He argues that a great city is a dynamic, constantly changing place that residents and their leaders can reshape to satisfy their demands. Most importantly, it is the interplay between people and public realm that creates great cities.

Garvin analyzes how particular components of the public realm (squares in London, parks in Minneapolis, and streets in Madrid) have shaped people’s daily lives, and he shows how 21st- century initiatives in Paris, Houston, Atlanta, Brooklyn, and Toronto are making an already fine public realm even better.

​Alexander Garvin is a noted architect and urban planner. He is an adjunct professor of urban planning and management at Yale University. He heads a planning and design firm and lives in New York. Some of his previous books include The Planning Game: Lessons for Great Cities; Public Parks: The Key to Livable Communities;​​ and ​​The American City: What Works, What Doesn’t.

Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016 6:30-8 pm

Linda Jacobs Book Talk
The Syrian Colony of New York City, 1880-1900

Strangers in the West

Kalimah Press, 2015

​Strangers in the West is the never-before-told story of the Arab-speaking immigrants – primarily from the region known as "Greater Syria – who, beginning in 1880, settled in New York City. The center of their community was "Little Syria," an area on the lower west side of Manhattan just south of the future site of the World Trade Center, as well as just a few blocks from the future home of The Skyscraper Museum.​

​Linda Jacobs paints a vivid portrait of life in this early immigrant community and the people who founded it. They were peddlers and merchants, midwives and doctors, priests and journalists, performers and impresarios. They capitalized on the orientalist craze sweeping the United States by opening Turkish smoking parlors, presenting belly dancers on vaudeville stages, and performing across the country in native costume. Through exhaustive archival and demographic research, Dr. Jacobs has captured the identities of virtually every member of this 19th-century community to fill in details about the rich tapestry of the immigrant culture of 19th century New York.

Linda Jacobs​​ is a New York-based scholar and author. She holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Archaeology/Anthropology and spent many years working on archaeological excavations and economic development projects in the Middle East. She is the author of ​​Digging In: An American Archaeologist Uncovers the Real Iran​​ (2012) and a series of articles about the nineteenth-century Syrian Colony in New York. In 2011, she founded Kalimah Press to promote understanding about Middle Eastern culture in the United States. All four of her grandparents were members of the New York Syrian Colony.

Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016 6:30-8 pm

The Bowery Boys Book Talk

Adventures in Old New York

Ulysses Press, 2016

If you are a fan of the Bowery Boys podcasts, you'll be excited at the opportunity to see the engaging pair in person, with pictures, in a talk about their new book Adventures in Old New York. Greg Young and Tom Meyers, co-founders of the popular podcasts, have for the first time published on paper their most engaging stories, covering historic neighborhoods of Manhattan, exploring well-known destinations and hidden gems that will surprise and enthrall even lifetime New Yorkers who consider themselves history buffs.

​Greg Young​ has worked for many years in the music industry and has also written for ​New York Magazine, Entertainment Weekly​​, and ​​Esquire​​. In 2007 he cofounded the ​​Bowery Boys: New York City History​​ podcast and blog, along with ​ Tom Meyers , founder, editor and chief hotel reviewer of the budget travel website

Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016 6:30-8 pm

Jason Barr Book Talk

Building the Skyline
The Birth and Growth of Manhattan's Skyscrapers

Oxford University Press, 2016

The Manhattan skyline is one of the great wonders of the modern world. But how and why did it form? Jason M. Barr’s book Building the Skyline explores the economic forces that shaped our high-rise history. Barr chronicles the economic history of the Manhattan skyline from colonial times through the rise of the skyscraper, both downtown and in midtown, along the way debunking some popular misconceptions such as “geology is geography” on the determinative role of bedrock. Investigating of the impetus for the extraordinary levels of skyscraper construction during the Roaring Twenties, the book argues that the boom was largely a rational response to the rapidly expanding economic growth of the nation and city. The final chapter investigates the value of Manhattan Island and the relationship between skyscrapers and land prices.​

​Jason M. Barr​ is an associate professor of economics at Rutgers University – Newark whose areas of interests include urban economics, New York City history, and computational economics. He has taught economics at Rutgers, Dartmouth College, and Columbia University.
Click here to watch the program.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016 6:30-8 pm

Judith Dupré Book Talk

One World Trade Center: Biography of the Building

Little, Brown and Company, 2016

Best-selling Skyscrapers author Judith Dupré chronicles the rise of One World Trade Center from the building's groundbreaking design and engineering, through the initial excavation to the final placement of the spire. For this first “authorized biography” of the emotion-charged and technically complex project, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey granted Dupré unprecedented access to the World Trade Center site, suppliers, and archives. Rich with hundreds of photographs, drawings, models, and plans, including a timeline of construction milestones and annotated 360-degree views from the One World Observatory, the book captures the hope, resiliency, and pride of those who built it.

Judith Dupré writes about art and architecture. The many editions of Skyscrapers have been a publishing phenom and a worldwide bestseller. Above all, she seeks to engage and delight those who profess "not to know much" about architecture.

Click here to watch the program.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 6:30-8 pm

Peter L. Laurence Book Talk

Becoming Jane Jacobs

University of Pennsylvania Press (2016)

Jane Jacobs was born on May 4, 1916. Forty-five years later, she published The Death and Life of Great American Cities, which she wrote between 1958 and 1961, and which stands today of the most influential books on urbanism ever written. The Skyscraper Museum celebrates Jacobs’s birthday and the beginning of her centennial year with a talk by Prof. Peter Laurence on his new book, Becoming Jane Jacobs, an intellectual biography that focuses on Jacobs's early life and writing career leading up to her great book.

In praise of Laurence’s work, urban historian Robert Fishman observes: “Jane Jacobs taught the world to perceive the city with new eyes, but she first had to teach herself to see. In this superbly researched and wonderfully original book, Peter L. Laurence for the first time reveals the depth and complexity of Jacobs's self-education…. This book is both a worthy tribute to Jacobs's genius and a brilliant exposition of the broader context of designs and ideas that made her work possible."

Peter L. Laurence is director of graduate studies in architecture and associate professor of architectural history, theory, and design at Clemson University School of Architecture.

Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016 6:30-8 pm

Matthew Lasner and Nicholas Dagen Bloom Book Talk

Affordable Housing in New York:
The People, Places, and Policies That Transformed a City

Princeton University Press, 2016

The astonishing range of high-quality affordable housing efforts realized in New York over more than a century are the subject of Affordable Housing in New York. a smart and handsomely illustrated volume that highlights, as its subtitle suggests, "The People, Places, and Policies That Transformed a City." Editors and authors Nicholas Dagen Bloom and Matthew Gordon Lasner frame an essential overview of the subject, drawing together targeted essays by leading historians in the field, illustrated with historic and contemporary humanizing portraits that make clear the continuing importance of subsidized housing in the life of the city.

Matthew Gordon Lasner is an Associate Professor of Urban Studies and planning at Hunter College, City University of New York, where he teaches courses on urbanism, US and global housing, and the built environment. He is the author of High-Life: Condo Living in the Suburban Century.

Nicholas Dagen Bloom is an Associate Professor of Social Sciences, Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies, and the Director of the Urban Administration and Core Curriculum programs at New York Institute of Technology. He is the author or editor of eight books about urban development, including Public Housing That Worked: New York in the Twentieth Century and American Tourism: Constructing a National Tradition.

Click here to watch the program.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016 6:30-8 pm

James Lindgren Book Talk

Preserving South Street Seaport

NYU Press, 2014

In Preserving South Street Seaport James Lindgren tells the story of the South Street Seaport, a landmarked historic district that is home to the largest concentration of early 19th-century mercantile buildings in the city, a maritime museum with a (shrinking) fleet of renovated sailing ships, and a modern urban festival market, a retail, entertainment, and tourist destination once more in the process of redevelopment. Focusing on the history of the past half century, Lindgren explains how preservationists mobilized in 1966 to save the last piece of lower Manhattan’s old port and how urban renewal plans by the City failed to find a formula that could sustain the complex goals for the museum and the broader economic development project.

Dr. James M. Lindgren is part of the history faculty at SUNY Plattsburgh where he teaches courses on America’s maritime heritage and its preservation. His previous books include, Preserving Maritime America: Public Culture and Memory in the Making of the Nation’s Great Marine Museums and Preserving Historic New England: Preservation, Progressivism, and the Remaking of Memory.

Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016 6:30-8 pm

Bob Bowen

On Creating a 4D Video Sculpture: The Lower Manhattan Shoreline through Time, Extracted from Archival Footage

A screening by artist Robert Bowen and a conversation with historian Carol Willis

anrew alpern dakota

Photographer and video artist Robert Bowen has long been fascinated by New York’s skyscrapers. His interest in the city’s architecture and in early moving images come together in this project in which 3-D hyper-stereoscopic depth is digitally extracted from archival 2D film footage. As Bowen writes:

One day in 1903, the filmmaker, J.B. Smith, on assignment for the Thomas A. Edison Co. of West Orange, NJ, took a boat ride around Lower Manhattan. This project takes off from a digital stereoscopic conversion of what Smith saw, what he didn't see, what we see now, what's missing, and what's been added since.
This video presentation is based on Bowen's experimental media project, N.Y. Background. The film will be followed by a conversation between the artist and Museum Director Carol Willis.

ROBERT BOWEN is a New York-based new (and old) media artist whose work includes site-specific visualizations, performances, and screenings combining computational photographic approaches, in particular, temporal montage. He teaches courses on Photo/Video, and Computer Art in the MFA Program of the School of Visual Arts.

Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016 6:30-8 pm

Gerard Koeppel Book Talk

City on a Grid: How New York Became New York

Da Capo Press, 2015

No other grid in Western civilization was so large and uniform as the one ordained in New York in 1811. Not without reason. At the time, the city was just under two hundred years old, an overgrown town at the southern tip of Manhattan, a notorious jumble of streets laid at the whim of landowners. To bring order beyond the chaos—and good real estate to market—the street planning commission came up with a monolithic grid for the rest of the island. Mannahatta—the native "island of hills"—became a place of rectangles, in thousands of blocks on the flattened landscape, and many more thousands of right-angled buildings rising in vertical mimicry.

Gerard Koeppel is a native New Yorker, historian, and writer. He is the author of Bond of Union: Building the Erie Canal and the American Empire and Water for Gotham: A History. Koeppel has contributed to numerous other books, including the Encyclopedia of New York City, of which he was an associate editor, and The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan.

All book talks are free and open to the public. The gallery opens at 6:00pm.

Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 6:30-8 pm


Jay Berman: World One & The World Towers, Mumbai

Currently under construction and slated to rise 117 stories above Central Mumbai, World One Tower will be the tallest building in Mumbai and one of the tallest residential towers in the world. Along with companions—World Crest (65 stories) and World View (95 stories)—the skyscraper forms the core of a mixed-use development comprising more than 6 million sf on a 17-acre former textile mill site. A development of this scale in the center of Mumbai has posed unique construction challenges, presented important design opportunities, and occasioned questions of conventional local residential typologies and the role of tall-building development vis-à-vis urban fabric in one of the world’s most populous and rapidly redeveloping metropolises.

Jay L. Berman, AIA, is a design partner at Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, where he has led some of the firm’s most important building and planning assignments. His practice is focused on planning and design of complex projects that frequently straddle the boundary between public and private realms, usually involve diverse stakeholders, and often require extensive public approvals, community review, and government sanctions. As a designer, Mr. Berman has played a leading role in the conception and development of academic, institutional, residential, commercial, corporate headquarters, and tall building projects. As a planner, he has been a driver of the firm’s master planning and development planning practice in the United States and internationally.

The program is free to Museum Members. Reservations are required, and priority is given to Corporate Member firms and their employees. All guests MUST RSVP to [email protected] to assure admittance to the event. Not a member? Become a Museum member today! Click here for more information on our upcoming programs.

AIA Members can earn 1.5 LUs for this program.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015 6:30-8 pm

Barry Bergdoll Book Talk

Partners in Design: Alfred H. Barr Jr. and Philip Johnson

Monacelli Press, 2015

anrew alpern dakota

Partners in Design: Alfred H. Barr Jr. and Philip Johnson, a catalog that accompanies an exhibition opening in 2016 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, chronicles the collaboration of two key figures who in the 1920s and 1930s helped to establish the Museum of Modern Art and to introduce Modern Architecture – the European avant-garde movement that became known as the International Style – to New York and America. In this volume of essays edited by David A. Hanks, Barry Bergdoll, who himself served in the position of The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art from 2007-2013, examines the context of New York’s architectural cultures in the late Twenties and the catalytic role of the 1932 MoMA exhibition curated by Johnson and Henry Russell Hitchcock, called Modern Architecture: International Exhibition.

Architectural historian Barry Bergdoll is the Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archeology at Columbia University, where he studied as an undergraduate, received his PhD., and has taught since 1986, specializing in modern architecture and culture in the broadest sense. The author of numerous books, articles, and distinguished lecture series, Bergdoll spent six years, through 2013, as the Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at MoMA, during which time he organized and curated a series of influential exhibitions, ranging from the contemporary inquiries "Rising Currents: Projects for New York's Waterfront" and "Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling," to scholarly surveys of the works of Henri Labrouste and Le Corbusier, as well as the 2015 "Latin America in Construction: 1955-1980."

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Monday, November 16, 2015 6:30-8 pm


Forth Bagley: Chow Tai Fook Centre in Guangzhou

CTF Guangzhou

Continuing our series of close examinations of the typology of supertalls, this seminar led by Forth Bagley of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates will focus on the 530-meter Chow Tai Fook Centre in Guangzhou, China. When completed late next year, the CTF Centre will be the city's tallest building, a symbol of Guangzhou's growing economic might within the Pearl River Delta and one of the most programmatically complex super tall towers ever constructed. Housing office, residential, hotel and retail program within a high-tech "breathing" facade made of glazed terra cotta and metal, the tower has become a model of sustainable, high-density, center-city architecture.

Forth Bagley is a Director at KPF with over ten years of experience in the design and management of a range of commercial projects, including hotel, retail, residential and mixed-use projects in the United States, England, China, Thailand, and India. He has focused on issues of density, the intersection of public and private space, and the intricate programmatic relationships of some of the most complex projects in the contemporary city.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015 6:30-8 pm

Judith Gura & Kate Wood Book Talk

Interior Landmarks: Treasures of New York

Monacelli Press, 2015

Interior Landmarks: Treasures of New York

In the fifty years since its passage in 1965, the New York City Landmarks Law has preserved outstanding buildings of cultural, social, economic, political, and architectural history. Interiors, though, have only been protected since 1973, as the new book Interior Landmarks: Treasures of New York recounts. Authors Judith Gura and Kate Wood focus on 47 colorful examples of the city’s current 117 interior landmarks. From the infamous Tweed Courthouse, centerpiece of the largest corruption case in New York history, to the glamorous Art Deco Rainbow Room, to the modernist Ford Foundation Building, whose garden-filled atrium prefigures green design, Gura and Wood examine the original construction and style, exceptional design features, materials, and architectural details, as well as the challenges to preserving these landmark interiors.

Design historian Judith Gura is on the faculty of the New York School of Interior Design and serves as a contributing editor to Art+ Auction magazine. Her previous books include Guide to Period Styles for Interiors, A History of Interior Design, Design After Modernism, and New York Interior Design, 1935–1985.

Kate Wood is the President of the preservation advocacy group Landmark West! and teaches in the Historic Preservation Program at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015 6:30-8 pm

Nan A. Rothschild and Diana diZerega Wall Book Talk

The Archaeology of American Cities

University Press of Florida, 2015

Archaeology of American Cities

New York has been built, altered, redeveloped, destroyed, reimagined, and rebuilt for centuries. When new construction projects require digging, literally, into the city’s past, urban archeologists are presented with the challenging problems of reconstructing from limited data, a picture of the material culture of the past and of the social forces that drive urban development.

At the forefront of this academic discipline, Professors Nan Rothschild and Diana Wall introduce their fascinating field of research to a broad readership. Focusing on case studies of work undertaken in New York, Philadelphia, Tucson, West Oakland, The Archaeology of American Cities uses the material culture of former centuries to highlight recurring themes that reflect distinctive characteristics of urban life in the United States.

Nan A. Rothschild, director of the Museum Studies Program and professor of anthropology at Barnard College, Columbia University, is the author of three books, including New York City Neighborhoods: The 18th Century.

Diana diZerega Wall, professor of anthropology at the City College of the City University of New York, is the author of The Archaeology of Genderand the coauthor of Unearthing Gotham.

Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015 6:30-8 pm

Andrew Alpern Book Talk

The Dakota: A History of the World's Best-Known Apartment Building

Princeton Architectural Press, 2015

anrew alpern dakota

Built more than 130 years ago, New York's first true luxury apartment house, the Dakota, is still the gold standard against which all others are weighed. Historian Andrew Alpern recounts how Singer sewing magnate Edward Clark erected a building luxurious enough to coax the wealthy from their mansions downtown to ultra-modern living on the former swamplands of the Upper West Side. Redrawn plans, published here for the first time, show how Clark created glamorous apartments that made life under a shared roof as acceptable in Manhattan as in Europe's grand capitals, revolutionizing apartment life in New York City. This internationally renowned building is now accessible to us all—at least in print, if not in its ultra-private, well-guarded reality.

Andrew Alpern is a much-published architectural historian, architect, and attorney. A preëminent expert on historic apartment houses, he has authored nine prior books on the subject, as well as scores of articles. Since 2002 Alpern has served as general counsel and chief compliance officer for an SEC-registered investment adviser firm. He has been a resident of Manhattan since 1938.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015 6:30-8 pm

Jake Rajs & Francis Morrone Book Talk

New York City Landmarks

Antique Collectors Club, 2015

Jake Rajs landmarks

In the second edition of New York City Landmarks,Jake Rajs’ amazing eye captures more than 70 of New York City’s most celebrated architecture in vivid new images, including the newest additions to New York’s landscape, One World Trade Center and the new Whitney Museum of American Art. Each image is accompanied by a short text, written by Francis Morrone, providing a comprehensive history and lively anecdotes.

Born in Poland, Jake Rajs moved to Israel before immigrating to Brooklyn at age eight. His work has been featured in more than 10,000 publications and numerous books including New New York, New York: City of Island, Manhattan: an Island in Focus, and The Hudson River: From Tear of the Clouds to Manhattan.

Francis Morrone is an author, critic, columnist, literary historian, and teacher at NYU's School of Continuing and Professional Studies. His books include An Architectural Guidebook to Brooklyn,and An Architectural Guidebook to New York City. He also regularly leads architectural walking tours of New York City for the Municipal Art Society.

Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 6:30-8 pm

Andrew Dolkart Book Talk

Saving Place: 50 Years of New York City Landmarks

The Monacelli Press, 2015

Dolkart Saving Place

From irrefutable icons to lesser-known structures throughout the city, much of what makes New York City unique owes its existence to the New York City Landmarks Law. Born out of the destruction of McKim, Mead & White’s monumental Pennsylvania Station, the Landmarks Law established the parameters for protecting the places that represent New York City’s rich cultural, social, political, and architectural history. Today there are more than 31,000 landmark properties woven into daily life, many located in 111 historic districts across the city — including 1,347 individual buildings, 117 interior landmarks, and 10 scenic landmarks.

Published in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Landmarks Law, and a major exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York, Saving Place tells its story in essays by notable New Yorkers and preservationists, including Robert A.M. Stern, Adele Chatfield-Taylor, Andrew S. Dolkart, Françoise Bollack, Anthony C. Wood, and Claudette Brady.

Andrew S. Dolkart is the Director of the Historic Preservation Program and Professor of Historic Preservation at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. He is the author of numerous books on the architecture and urban development of New York City, focusing in particular on the city's everyday, vernacular building types, including Morningside Heights: A History of Its Architecture and Development, Biography of a Tenement House in New York City: An Architectural History of 97 Orchard Street, and The Row House Reborn: Architecture and Neighborhoods in New York City 1908-1929.

All book talks are free and open to the public. The Gallery opens at 6:00pm.
All guests must RSVP to programs[at]skyscraper[dot]org to assure admittance to the event. Please be aware that reservation priority is given to members of The Skyscraper Museum.

    The Skyscraper Museum supports the NYC Landmarks50 Alliance

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015   6:30 pm


David Malott: Supertall: Reshaping our Vertical Habitat

Beyond transforming skylines, the Supertall is at the center of compact and connected cities. David Malott of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates will share his insights into a building type which can hold the key to our sustainable urban future. In focus are three projects for which David was Senior Designer: the Shanghai World Financial Center, the Hong Kong ICC, and the topped-out 600+ meter Ping An Financial Center in Shenzhen.

David Malott is a Principal at KPF and the current Chairman of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. With over 15 years of experience as an architectural designer, then as project director with buildings throughout Asia, he is a leading contributor to KPF’s strong presence in China, Japan, and Hong Kong.

Click here to watch the program.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 6:30-8 pm

Tom Miller Book Talk

Seeking New York:
The Stories Behind the Historic Architecture of Manhattan--
One Building at a Time

Rizzoli, 2015

Tom Miller

Beautifully illustrated with line drawings and photographs, engagingly presented, and organized by neighborhoods, this richly detailed guide takes a narrative approach, telling stories that illuminate the architectural, personal, and social histories of Manhattan, building by building. Alongside details about each architect, dates, and styles, author Tom Miller reveals the joys, tragedies, and scandals of those who lived within. In addition to iconic structures, the book includes many off-the-beaten-path buildings, as well as notable buildings that no longer stand but remain key to Manhattan’s architectural history.

Tom Miller
moved to New York City in 1979 from Dayton, Ohio, bringing with him a passion for buildings. He currently holds the rank of deputy inspector within the NYPD’s Auxiliary Police Force. In 2009 he started a blog, "Daytonian in Manhattan", which has now reviewed over a thousand buildings, statues, and other points of interest.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015 6:30-8 pm

Annice M. Alt Book Talk

Boak & Paris / Boak & Raad: New York Architects

Xlibris, 2014

Architectural historian Annice Alt has relentlessly tracked the buildings and careers of the New York architect Russell Boak and his successive partners Hyman Paris and Thomas Raad, researching their work from the earliest Art Deco examples in the late 1920s through their mid-century Modern work of the 1950s and 1960s. Her book reconstructs the firm's four-decade practice, focusing in particular on their many residential high-rises, viewed in the context of the speculative real estate development that has significantly shaped streetscapes and neighborhoods across the city. In a testament to the architect’s work, one of his key clients, developer Elihu Rose of Rose Associates, recalled Russell Boak was "an unsung architect who was incapable of doing a bad drawing, a bad design. No one (was) comparable.”

Raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Annice Alt began her immersion in the architectural history of New York City began after her retirement from her work in early childhood education. Boak & Paris / Boak & Raad: New York Architects is her first book

Click here to watch the program.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 3:00 pm

TEN TOPS: Curator's Tour

Director Carol Willis lead a curator's tour of the museum's current exhibition TEN TOPS.

Thursday, May 7, 2015   6:30 pm


Chris Wilkinson: Four Towers on Four Continents

Following the success of WilkinsonEyre’s 440m Guangzhou IFC tower, the practice has been commissioned to design towers in Sydney, Toronto and London. Chris, will give an illustrated talk about his experience of designing four towers on four continents, each one taking a very different architectural approach, responding to its particular context and brief.

Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015 6:30-8 pm

Marta Gutman Book Talk

OF OAKLAND, 1850-1950

University of Chicago Press, 2014

In her path-breaking study of everyday architecture and 19th- and early 20th-century urban reformers who were women, Marta Gutman focuses on the use and adaptive reuse of everyday buildings in Oakland, California, to make the city a better place for children. She explores the ways in which women turned private houses in Oakland into orphanages, kindergartens, settlement houses, and day care centers, and in the process built the charitable landscape. These urban transformations created a network of places critical for the betterment of children, families, and public life. Spanning one hundred years of history, A City for Children provides a compelling model for building urban institutions and demonstrates the central role children, women, charity, and the built environment play in our understanding of modern cities.

Marta Gutman is associate professor of architectural and urban history at the Spitzer School of Architecture, City College of New York and visiting professor of art history at the Graduate Center, City College of New York, as well as an editor for Designing Modern Childhoods. She is a licensed architect.

Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 6:30-8 pm

Daniel Rose Book Talk


Half Moon Press, 2014

Among New York’s famed “families” of real estate, the Roses of Rose Associates are most closely identified with the residential sector. During his 60-year career in development and management, Daniel Rose, Chairman of Rose Associates, has also created large-scale mixed-use properties, including the award-winning Pentagon City complex in Arlington, Virginia and the One Financial Center office tower in Boston. As an institutional consultant, his credits include the creation and implementation of the "housing for the performing arts" concept for New York's Manhattan Plaza.

The winner of numerous awards, Daniel Rose has long pursued a broad range of professional, civic, and non-profit activities. He teaches, lectures, and writes on a variety of real estate, urban planning and economic subjects. Winner of a number of national Cicero speechwriting awards, he has received Honorary Doctorates in Humane Letters from Long Island University; in Engineering from NYU/Polytechnic; and in Science from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. Making A Living, Making A Life brings together many of his best essays and speeches.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015 6:30-8 pm

Vicky Ward Book Talk


Wiley 2014

The Liar’s Ball describes the desperate scramble that ensued when the world’s most expensive building went on the auction block. The iconic GM Building brought out the best and worst in New York’s real estate royalty, and led a few of them to ruin.

A story of naked, unregulated capitalism, of the sometimes bloody free-for all of the free market, The Liars Ball is tale of brilliant and enormously ambitious billionaires fighting bare-knuckled to get what they want. And they all wanted the GM Building. Through over 200 interviews with real estate’s best and brightest—Donald Trump, Harry Macklowe, Samuel Zell, Mort Zuckerman and many more—Ward exposes the lies and schemes and insecurities behind the deals made by some of the world’s biggest egos.

Vicky Ward is the New York-based, British-born author of the New York Times bestseller The Devil’s Casino: Friendship, Betrayal and the High-Stakes Games Played Inside Lehman Brothers (Wiley, 2010). A former contributing editor to Vanity Fair for 11 years, she is the former executive editor of Talk and the former news features editor of the New York Post. She holds a master’s in English literature from Cambridge University.

Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 6:30-8 pm

David Smiley Book Talk


University of Minnesota Press, 2013

In Pedestrian Modern, David Smiley reveals how the design for places of consumption—stores and shopping centers—informed emerging modernist tenets. Tracing the history of architecture’s relationship with retail environments during a time of significant transformation in urban centers and in open suburban landscapes, Pedestrian Modern expands and qualifies the making of American modernism.

David Smiley is an architect who teaches architectural and urban theory, design and practice at the Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation. Dr. Smiley has written on contemporary urban and suburban issues, large-scale urban interventions, the re-use of shopping malls and the recent history of urban planning and urban design in the Journal of Architectural Education, Perspecta, and the Journal of Urban History. He has taught at Yale University's School of Architecture, Washington University in St. Louis, and Texas A & M University.

Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 6:30-8 pm

Anthony Flint Book Talk

Modern Man: The Life of Le Corbusier, Architect of Tomorrow.

Amazon Publishing 2014

Arguably the most important architect of the twentieth century, Le Corbusier invented new ways of building and thinking. In Modern Man, Anthony Flint offers a popular biography of a constant self-inventor, as well as a sweeping tale filled with exotic locales and high-stakes projects. Flint’s Corbusier isn’t just the grandfather of modern architecture but a man who sought to remake the world according to his vision, dispelling the Victorian style and replacing it with something entirely new. If his s legacy remains controversial today, the evidence of his genius is secure.

Anthony Flint is the author of two previous books: Wrestling with Moses and This Land. A former Boston Globe reporter, he is a fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and contributes to The Atlantic Cities website.

Click here to watch the program.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 6:30-8 pm

Judith Dupré Book Talk
Judith Dupré, in conversation with Alice Bloom

Fourth Edition

(Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers; November 2013)

Skyscrapers captivate the eye, excite the imagination, and inspire awe and reverence. Wonders of artistic creativity and engineering ingenuity, of hard work and playful dreaming, skyscrapers embody the best of our practical achievements and reflect our highest aspirations. Judith Dupré’s Skyscrapers invites you to enjoy the stunning works born of that quest, introducing readers to the world’s most remarkable and beloved buildings while also exploring both the ancient roots of skyscrapers and visionary cities of the future.

This is a revised and updated version of Dupre's popular skyscraper survey, first published in 1996.

A graduate of Brown and Yale Universities, Judith Dupré is the author of several acclaimed books about architecture, including Bridges (BD&L), New York Times bestselling Churches and Monuments. A resident of New York, Dupré consults on large scale infrastructure projects and lectures at Yale and other universities.

Alice Bloom is the producer and host of A Town... And Village Two, a cable show broadcast widely in the metropolitan area that features interviews with leaders in the arts, education, business, and public service. Trained as an attorney, Alice segued into media and communications through her public service work.

Click here to watch the program.

Monday, October 27, 2014 6:30-8PM

Lynne Sagalyn Book Talk

Times Square Roulette: Remaking the City Icon

(MIT Press)

In 2001, Lynne B. Sagalyn published Times Square Roulette, the definitive history of Times Square's redevelopment. Debunking the myth of an overnight urban miracle performed by Disney and Mayor Giuliani, she tells the far more complex and commanding tale of a twenty-year process of public controversy, nonstop litigation, and interminable delay. On the occasion of the Museum's exhibition TIMES SQUARE, 1984, she gave a talk about the process of researching and writing the book and her thoughts on Times Square today.

From its beginning as Longacre Square, Times Square's commercialism, signage, cultural diversity, and social tolerance have been deeply embedded in New York City's psyche. Its symbolic role guaranteed that any plan for its renewal would push the hot buttons of public controversy: free speech, property-taking through eminent domain, development density, tax subsidy, and historic preservation. Times Square Roulette details the complex relationship between planning and politics and the role of market forces in reshaping Times Square, demonstrating how policy was wedded to deal making and how persistent individuals and groups forged both.

Lynne B. Sagalyn is the Earle W. Kazis and Benjamin Schore Professor of Real Estate and Director of the MBA Real Estate Program at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. She is currently finishing a book on the rebuilding of T he World Trade Center.

Click here to watch the program.

Monday, September 29, 2014 6:30PM-8PM

Scott Johnson Book Talk


(Princeton Architectural Press, June 2014)

In recent years, contemporary architectural theory and practice have shifted from a focus on how a building appears to how it performs. In the field of skyscraper design, the emergence of ultra-performing materials, interactive processing systems, and digital design and fabrication techniques are making remarkable new structures possible. In Performative Skyscraper, architect Scott Johnson describes how the combination of sophisticated modeling software and demands for ever-increasing environmental sustainability have led to an emphasis on high performance. From advanced window-walls to vertical mixed-use towers, Johnson captures the breadth and immediacy of skyscraper design now.

Scott Johnson is the founding design partner of the Los Angeles architecture firm, Johnson Fain. He has designed a wide variety of buildings worldwide and is currently working on high-rise buildings in Jakarta, Taichung City, and L.A., as well as mixed-use projects throughout the West Coast. He is a former Director of the Master of Architecture Programs at the USC School of Architecture and frequently lectures on the evolution of modern cities and the emergence of new building typologies. His previous books include The Big Idea: Criticality + Practice in Contemporary Architecture and Tall Building: Imagining the Skyscraper.

Click here to watch the program.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 6:30-8:00.


TIMES SQUARE REVISITED: Urban Planning and Urban Design

How Today's Times Square's Design Was Encoded in the Eighties.

Click here for more information

July 22, 2014 6:30PM-8PM

John Tauranac Book Talk


(First Published 1995; New Edition, Cornell University Press; March 2014)

The Empire State Building is the landmark book on one of the world’s most famous skyscrapers. John Tauranac focuses on the inception and construction of the building, as well as its history through the interwar years. In a new epilogue to the Cornell edition, Tauranac highlights the continuing resonance and influence of the Empire State Building in the rapidly changing post-9/11 cityscape.

John Tauranac writes on New York's architectural history, teaches and lectures, and gives tours of the city.  He is also a mapmaker. In 1997, he was the guest curator of A Dream Well Planned: The Empire State Building at the Museum of the City of New York. His books include New York from the Air, Elegant New York, Essential New York, and Seeing New York. A frequent contributor to New York newspapers and magazines,Tauranac is an adjunct associate professor at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

Click here to watch the program.

June 26, 2014 6:30PM-8PM

Donald L. Miller Book Talk


(Simon & Schuster; May 2014)

The 1920s Jazz Age in New York was a decade of rapid cultural and urban transformation. Innovations such as radio, tabloid newspapers, and movies with sound began to command the attention of New Yorkers, and as Times Square became America’s movie mecca, the center of New York’s cultural life shifted from downtown to Midtown. In Supreme City, Donald Miller charts Manhattan’s modernization by delving into the era's brilliantly ambitious personalities and the engineering triumphs, including Grand Central Terminal and the Holland Tunnel, which shifted New York’s commercial, social, and cultural hub to Midtown.

Donald Miller is the John Henry MacCracken professor of history at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania. He is the New York Times best-selling author of 7 books including Masters of Air: America’s Bomber Boys Fought the Air War Against Nazi German. One of the country's most respected authorities of WWII and U.S. History, he is a consultant and advisor to historical productions on HBO and PBS.

Click here to watch the program.

June 11, 2014 3:00PM

SKY HIGH & the logic of luxury: Curator's Tour

Director and Curator Carol Willis conducted a tour of the current exhibit SKY HIGH & the logic of luxury.

May 22, 2014 6:30PM-8PM

William W. Buzbee Book Talk


(Cornell University Press; April 2014)

From 1971 to 1985, legal and political battles raged over Westway, the controversial multibillion-dollar highway, development, and park project conceived for the Hudson River edge on Manhattan’s Lower West Side. The most expensive highway project ever proposed, Westway provoked one of the highest stakes legal battles of its day. Drawing on archival records and interviews, legal scholar William W. Buzbee probes beneath the veneer of government actions and court rulings to illuminate the political pressures and strategic moves that shaped the Westway wars. Involving all branches of government, environmental laws, scientific conflict, strategic citizen action, trials and court cases, the history of Westway illuminates how urban priorities are contested and how separation of powers and federalism frameworks structure legal and political conflict.

William W. Buzbee is currently Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law and will be joining the law faculty at Georgetown University Law Center in the fall of 2014. He is co-author of Environmental Protection: Law and Policy and editor of Preemption Choice: The Theory, Law, and Reality of Federalism's Core Question. He has published in many leading law reviews.

Click here to watch the program.

May 14 and 28, 2014 3:00PM

SKY HIGH & the logic of luxury: Curator's Tour

Director and Curator Carol Willis conducted a tour of the current exhibit SKY HIGH & the logic of luxury.

April 29, 2014 6:30PM-8PM

James Sanders Book Talk


(Rizzoli; March 2014)

Film historian and documentary writer James Sanders delighted his audience with a trove of movie memories taken from the new edition of Scenes from the City: Filmmaking in New York. This revised and expanded edition, first published in 2006, is a celebration of the rise of New York-shot films, covering in particular the decades since NYC aggressively promoted the film industry through the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, established in 1966. James Sanders updates the past dozen years of filmmaking under the Bloomberg administration and adds a section on women filmmakers, as well as rare, behind-the-scenes shots directly from studio archives. The book also explores the recent growth of the City's television industry. Today the entertainment industry employs 130,000 New Yorkers and contributes more than $7 billion to the local economy each year.

James Sanders, an architect, co-wrote the Emmy Award-winning PBS series New York: A Documentary Film and its companion volume, New York: An Illustrated History, as well as Celluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies. He has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Vanity Fair and Architectural Record. He has also participated in important design projects in and around the city.

Click here to watch the program.

April 2, 16, and 30, 2014 3:00PM

SKY HIGH & the logic of luxury: Curator's Tour

Director and Curator Carol Willis conducted a tour of the current exhibit SKY HIGH & the logic of luxury.

March 25, 2014 6:30PM-8PM
*Previously scheduled for March 11, 2014.

May Joseph Book Talk


(Duke University Press Books; July 2013)

Hurricane Sandy was a fierce demonstration of the ecological vulnerability of New York, a city of islands. Yet the storm also revealed the resilience of a metropolis that has started during the past decade to reckon with its aqueous topography. In Fluid New York, May Joseph describes the many ways that the city and its citizens have begun to incorporate the urban archipelago ecology into plans for a livable and sustainable future.

May Joseph's reflections reach back to the city's heyday as a world-class port—a past embodied in a Dutch East India Company cannon recently unearthed from the rubble at the World Trade Center site. They also encompass the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy and suggest that the city's future lies in the reclamation of its great water resources—for artistic creativity, civic engagement, and ecological sustainability.

May Joseph is Professor of Social Science at the Pratt Institute, where she teaches urbanism, global studies, and visual culture. She is the founder of Harmattan Theater, which produces site-specific outdoor productions exploring the history of New York City through its architecture, design, and natural environment Joseph is also the author of Nomadic Identities: The Performance of Citizenship and a coeditor of Performing Hybridity.

Click here to watch to the program

March 11, 2014 6:30PM-8:00PM

Mirror, mirror... who is the slenderest of them all?

111 W. 57TH ST.

At Edmond J. Safra Hall, Museum of Jewish Heritage
36 Battery Place, across the street from The Skyscraper Museum.

Courtesy of SHoP Architects

Vishaan Chakrabarti, Partner, SHoP Architects
Gregg Pasquarelli, Partner, SHoP Architects
Silvian Marcus, Principal in Charge, WSP Group

Panel discussion, moderated by Carol Willis, Director of the Skyscraper Museum:
SHoP Architects, WSP Group, and developer Michael Stern, Managing Partner, JDS Development Group

Among the extraordinary new crop of New York's super-slim, ultra-luxury residential towers surveyed in The Skyscraper Museum's exhibition SKY HIGH & the logic of luxury, the most slender of all is the 111 W. 57th St., designed by SHoP Architects, with structural engineering by WSP Group for JDS Development Group and Property Markets Group. With a ratio of the width of the base to height of 1:23, the 1,350+ ft tower will be the most slender building in the world.

SHoP's design harkens back to the quality, materiality, and emphatic verticality of historic NYC skyscrapers, while utilizing advanced engineering and technology to craft a contemporary contribution to the skyline. The tower's silhouette rises in an elegant series of feathered setbacks, while the façade reads at multiple scales and vantage points. An intricate pattern of shaped terracotta panels and bronze latticework on the east and west façades creates a sweeping play of light and shadow, while a glass curtain wall on the north and south façades provide sweeping views of Central Park and Midtown.

SHoP Architects was founded in 1996 on a premise of proving that intelligent and evocative architecture can be made in the real world, with real world constraints, and has made a name for itself by pioneering the use of innovative technologies to produce both iconic architectural forms and a new model for the profession.

WSP is one of the world's leading professional services firms. Its New York-based structural engineer, the WSP Group (formerly Cantor Seinuk) are the designers of the structural systems for a majority of the city's super-slender towers now under construction.

The exhibition was open to the public from 5:00 to 6:30 before the lecture.

This lecture was presented with
the generous support of
JDS Development Group.

Click here to watch to the program.

March 5 and 19, 2014 3:00PM

SKY HIGH & the logic of luxury: Curator's Tour

Director and Curator Carol Willis conducted a tour of the current exhibit SKY HIGH & the logic of luxury.

February 24, 2014 6:30PM-8PM

Rafael Viñoly Lecture


This lecture was held in the auditorium of the National Museum of the
American Indian, Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, 1 Bowling Green

Rafael Viñoly is the founding principal of Rafael Viñoly Architects PC, a New York-based firm with an international practice. Viñoly’s award-winning designs include museums, performing arts centers, convention centers, and numerous research and academic buildings and complexes. His commercial high-rise work began in the 1980s, and he explored innovative forms and structural strategies in several projects, including the post-9/11 WTC competition, in which the collaborative design of the THINK team for a World Cultural Center was a finalist.

Taller than the rooftop of either the original or current 1 WTC, 432 Park Avenue will top out in 2015 at 1,396 feet, making it–in the words of its developers Macklowe Properties and the CIM Group–the loftiest residence “in the Western Hemisphere.” Exemplifying “the logic of luxury,” the tower's soaring height is predicated on its compact 93-foot square floor plate and extra-high ceilings, which produce its slenderness ratio of 1:15. The emphatic white grid of the concrete frame, divided into six sections by open mechanical floors, represents an integration of the elegant architectural concept and structural logic that sets 432 Park Avenue apart from curtain-wall contemporaries.

Rafael Viñoly discussed the design of 432 Park Avenue in the context of his high-rise work and design philosophy.

There was be a Q & A after the talk moderated by Cathleen McGuigan, editor in chief of Architectural Record.

This lecture was presented with
generous support of Enclos.

Click here to watch to the program.

February 21 and 28, 2014 5:00PM

SKY HIGH & the logic of luxury: Curator's Tour

Director and Curator Carol Willis conducted a tour of the current exhibit SKY HIGH & the logic of luxury.

February 18, 2014 6:30PM-8PM

Alexandros Washburn Book Talk


(Island Press; May 2013)

In his visually rich book The Nature of Urban Design, Alexandros Washburn argues that the best cities become an ingrained part of their residents’ identities and that the strength of our communities will determine how we respond to crises like Hurricane Sandy, whose floodwaters he watched from his home in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Urban design is the key to this process, but all too often, citizens abandon it to professionals, unable to see a way to express what they love and value in their own neighborhoods. His book strives to empower urbanites and offer a new approach to design that will help cities to prosper in an uncertain future.

Alexandros Washburn is a professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology, former Chief Urban Designer of the New York City Department of City Planning and former Public Works Advisor and chief architect for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. He lives in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Click here to watch to the program

February 5, 2014 3:00PM

SKY HIGH & the logic of luxury: Curator's Tour

Director and Curator Carol Willis conducted a tour of the current exhibit SKY HIGH & the logic of luxury.

February 4, 2014 6:30PM-8PM
*Previously scheduled for January 28, 2014.

Vishaan Chakrabarti Book Talk


(Metropolis Books; May 2013)

In A Country of Cities, Vishaan Chakrabarti argues that well-designed cities are the key to solving America's great national challenges: environmental degradation, unsustainable consumption, economic stagnation, rising public health costs and decreased social mobility. If we develop them wisely in the future, our cities can be the force leading us into a new era of progressive and prosperous stewardship of our nation. Through clear, accessible prose and a distinct visual language of original illustrations created by SHoP Architects, Chakrabarti delivers a wealth of information about cities, suburbs and exurbs, looking at how they developed across the 50 states and their roles in prosperity and globalization, sustainability and resilience, and heath and joy.

Vishaan Chakrabarti, AIA, is the director of Columbia University’s Center for Urban Real Estate (CURE). An architect and planner, Chakrabarti has worked in both the public and private sectors: as a director at the New York City Planning Commission; an associate partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; a transportation planner for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and as an executive at the Related Companies. In March 2012, Chakrabarti became a partner at SHoP Architects.

Click here to watch to the program

January 14, 2014 6:30PM-8PM

Constance Rosenblum Book Talk


(New York University Press; March 2013)

There may be eight million stories in the Naked City, but there are also nearly three million dwelling places, ranging from Park Avenue palaces to Dickensian garrets and encompassing much in between. The doorways to these residences are tantalizing portals opening onto largely invisible lives. Habitats offers 40 vivid and intimate stories about how New Yorkers really live in their brownstones, their apartments, their mansions, their lofts, and as a whole presents a rich, multi-textured portrait of what it means to make a home in the world’s most varied and powerful city.

Constance Rosenblum, most recently author of the Habitats column published in the Real Estate section The New York Times, was the longtime editor of Times's City section and a former editor of the paper’s Arts and Leisure section. She is the author of Boulevard of Dreams: Heady Times, Heartbreak and Hope along the Grand Concourse in the Bronx.

Constance was joined in conversation with Boris Fishman, a subject of one of her Habitats profiles, who is also the author of the novel A Replacement Life, forthcoming from HarperCollins in June 2014.

Click here to watch to the program

December 10, 2013 6:30PM-8PM

Phyllis Lambert Book Talk


(Yale University Press; April 2013)

On December 10, Phyllis Lambert will discuss her book Building Seagram, published by Yale University Press. Her illustrated talk will be followed by a dialogue with Museum Director Carol Willis.

Considered one of the greatest icons of twentieth-century architecture, the Seagram Building was commissioned by Samuel Bronfman, founder of the Canadian distillery dynasty Seagram. Bronfman’s daughter Phyllis was twenty-seven when she took over the search for the project's architect and chose Mies van der Rohe (1886–1969), a pioneering modern master of what he termed “skin and bones” architecture.

Building Seagram is a comprehensive personal and scholarly history of a major building and its architectural, cultural, and urban legacies. Lambert makes use of previously unpublished personal archives, company correspondence, and photographs to to tell the ultimate insider’s view of the debates, resolutions, and unknown dramas of the building’s construction, as well as its crucial role in the history of modern art and architectural culture.

Phyllis Lambert is the founding director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal. A licensed architect, she has contributed essays to numerous books and is the subject of the 2007 documentary film "Citizen Lambert: Joan of Architecture."

Click here to watch to the program

November 19, 2013 6:30PM-8PM

Erica Stoller Book Talk


(Yale University Press; December 2012)

Ezra Stoller Photographer, the book by Nina Rappaport and Erica Stoller, considers the scope of work by Stoller, known as the dean of American architectural photographers. His iconic photographs of 20th-century architectural masterpieces, such as Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater and Mies van der Rohe's Seagram Building, are often cited in aiding the rise of modernism in America. Stoller (1915–2004) elevated architectural photography to an art form, capturing the mood of numerous buildings in their best light.

On November 19, Erica Stoller will take a close look at rarely-seen images of models, construction and final views made in the '50s and '60s of the most important Modern buildings along Park Avenue and other New York City sites. Looking beyond the content, one can begin to understand the photographer's decisions about where, when and how the images were made.

Erica Stoller is director of Esto, the photographic agency founded by Ezra Stoller. She is the co-author with Nina Rappaport of Ezra Stoller, Photographer.

Click here to watch to the program

November 13 and 20; December 4 and 18, 2013 3:00PM

SKY HIGH & the logic of luxury: Curator's Tour

Director and Curator Carol Willis conducted a tour of the current exhibit SKY HIGH & the logic of luxury.

October 29, 2013 6:30PM-8PM

Matthew Gordon Lasner Book Talk


(Yale University Press; October 2012)

Today, one in five homeowners in American cities and suburbs lives in a multifamily home rather than a single-family dwelling. As the American dream evolves, precipitated by declining real estate prices and a renewed interest in city living, many predict that condos will become the predominant form of housing in the 21st century. In this unprecedented study Matthew Gordon Lasner explores the history of co-owned multifamily housing in the United States, from New York City's first co-op, in 1881, to contemporary condo and townhouse complexes coast to coast. Lasner explains the complicated social, economic, and political factors that have increased demand for this way of living, situating the trend within the larger housing market and broad shifts in residential architecture. He contrasts the prevalence and popularity of condos, townhouses, and other privately governed communities with their ambiguous economic, legal, and social standing, as well as their striking absence from urban and architectural history.

Matthew Gordon Lasner is assistant professor of urban affairs and planning at Hunter College.

Click here to watch to the program

September 11, 2013 3:00PM

9/11 Gallery Talk

On the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, director and curator Carol Willis gave a gallery talk in the World Trade Center permanent exhibitions.

September 5, 2013 3:00PM and September 12, 2013 1:00PM
1411 Broadway, corner of 40th St.

Urban Fabric 2: Curator's Tour

Director and Curator Carol Willis conducted a tour of the current exhibit Urban Fabric 2. This event was free and open to the public.

August 21 and September 4, 2013 3:00PM

Woolworth Building @ 100: Curator's Tour

Director and Curator Carol Willis conducted a tour of the current exhibit The Woolworth Building @ 100.

July 24, 2013 6:30PM-8PM

Marguerite Holloway Book Talk


(W. W. Norton & Company; February 2013)

John Randel Jr. (1787-1865) was an eccentric and flamboyant 19th-century surveyor who plotted Manhattan's famous defining grid, the 1811 Commissioners' Plan. Unearthing Randel's engrossing and dramatic life story for the first time, Marguerite Holloway's eye-opening biography resurrects this unheralded pioneer of American engineering and mapmaking.The Measure of Manhattan illuminates the ways in which surveying and cartography change the ground beneath our feet. Bringing Randel's story into the present, Holloway travels with contemporary surveyors and scientists trying to envision Manhattan as a wild island once again.

Marguerite Holloway, the director of Science and Environmental Journalism at Columbia University, has written for Scientific American, Discover, the New York Times, Natural History, and Wired

July 10, 2013 3:00PM

Woolworth Building @ 100: Curator's Tour

Director and Curator Carol Willis conducted a tour of the current exhibit The Woolworth Building @ 100.

June 26, 2013 6:30PM-8PM

David Anderson Book Talk


(George F. Thompson Publishing; January 2013)

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, as big glass and steel boxes rose across the city, photographer David Anderson dedicated himself to a project to document Wall Street's classic architecture. Avoiding the focus on people, traffic, and street life, he concentrates attention on architectural details or certain profiles to reveal built form, energy, and a larger sense of place within the city's urban fabric.

Architectural historian Gail Fenske observes: "David Anderson's poignant photographs capture the coldness, power, and impregnability of the mythical Wall Street. Devoid of the flux of street movement and crowds, the monuments speak. Creatures keep watch, frozen in stone, while surprising traces of decay and delicate detail suggest the contingency, even frailty, of human existence. Paul Goldberger's masterful introduction guides us as well in seeing and appreciating this historic citadel of American finance."

David Anderson is an architectural photographer who was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska. He moved to New York City at a young age, beginning his photographic career at the Daily News. He served in the U.S. Army as a cameraman, and from 1969-1983, he worked as a cinematographer, specializing in commercials and documentaries. He now lives in the Hudson River Valley.

Click here to watch to the program

June 12 and 26, 2013 3:00PM

Woolworth Building @ 100: Curator's Tour

Director and Curator Carol Willis conducted a tour of the current exhibit The Woolworth Building @ 100.

June 14, 2013 1PM-5PM

Medieval or Modern?


In conjunction with the current exhibition The Woolworth Building @ 100, the Skyscraper Museum presented an afternoon of illustrated talks, inquiry, and dialogue inspired by the centennial of New York City’s great Gothic tower, “The Cathedral of Commerce.”

Our distinguished speakers included Mary Beth Betts, Gail Fenske, Joanna Merwood-Salibury, Kevin Murphy, Dietrich Neumann, Suzanne Stephens, and Mary Woods.

The program took place in the rear lobby arcade of the Woolworth Building.

The program was presented with the generous support of ELISE JAFFE + JEFFREY BROWN.

The Skyscraper Museum offered 2.5 CEUs for AIA Members for this program.

Click here for a video stream archive of the symposium.

MAY 15, 6:30-8PM


The Woolworth Building: Engineering Height

Wind Bracing Diagram
Plan of the Woolworth Building Foundation Wind-bracing Diagram. Reproduced from American Architect, 103, March 26, 1913.

The 792-foot Woolworth Building doubled the height of the tallest skyscraper of 1900, the neighboring Park Row Building, and surpassed the 1908 SInger Building by 180 feet. The rapid rise in height, from Park Row, to Singer, to the 700-foot Metropolitan Life Tower in 1909, reflects the arrival of mature steel-frame technology.

Gunvald Aus, the chief engineer of the Woolworth Building, was one of a group of turn-of-the-century structural engineers who were designing ever-larger steel-frame buildings and openly debating the best engineering methods for high-rise design and construction. At a time when the building codes and engineering education was still catching up to the reality of skyscrapers, this professional debate on the proper methods of dealing with foundations, wind loads, and supporting masonry curtain walls served as a method of technology transfer that allowed engineers who had not previously designed tall steel-frame buildings to understand key issues.

Donald Friedman, a structural engineer, is the president of Old Structures Engineering and lives in New York City. He is the author of Historical Building Construction; After 9-11: An Engineer’s Work at the World Trade Center; The Investigation of Buildings; The Design of Renovations, with Nathaniel Oppenheimer; and Building the Empire State with Carol Willis.

Click here to watch to the program

May 8 and 15, 2013 3:00PM

Woolworth Building @ 100: Curator's Tour

Director and Curator Carol Willis conducted a tour of the current exhibit The Woolworth Building @ 100.

May 7, 2013 6:30PM-8PM

Gail Fenske Lecture


On July 1st, 1912, structural ironworkers topped off the Woolworth Building's steel frame with an American flag and New Yorkers celebrated the "Highest in the World." Yet the project had started out as a mere 20-story office building. Only after Frank W. Woolworth's disjointed process of parcel acquisition and Cass Gilbert's erratic, protracted sequence of design did the Woolworth Building's spectacular 792-foot high tower rise to command its surroundings.

And while both Gilbert and Woolworth participated in the day's obsession with big spatial ideas, Gilbert had romantically aspired to build the world's tallest tower and Woolworth simply to erect a "giant signboard" to advertise his chain of stores around the world. How did Gilbert and Woolworth negotiate such aims with the realities of the marketplace to construct what the New York Times called "The World’s Greatest Skyscraper"?

Gail Fenske is author of The Skyscraper and the City: The Woolworth Building and the Making of Modern New York (University of Chicago Press, 2008). She is professor of architecture in the School of Architecture, Art & Historic Preservation at Roger Williams University, and has taught as a visiting professor at Cornell, Wellesley, and MIT. She is also a licensed architect and has practiced architecture in Boston and New York. She holds a Ph.D. in the history, theory, and criticism of architecture from MIT.

Click here to watch to the program

April 22, 2013 6PM-8PM

Gail Fenske lecture and reception at the Center for Architecture


This event, co-sponsored by The Woolworth Centennial Celebration Committee, the AIA New York Chapter Historic Buildings Committe, and The Skyscraper Museum, was held at the Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place, New York.

When the Woolworth Building was completed in 1913, critics hailed Cass Gilbert’s design as a spectacular feat of engineering and wondrous Gothic tower. The highest skyscraper in the world, it secured the emblematic status of New York’s skyline as a “city of towers.” But the Woolworth Building’s fame as a landmark belies the differing aims of its architect, client, and builder, each of whom had a unique relationship to the city. How did Gilbert reconcile his vision for the Woolworth Building with that of his client, F. W. Woolworth, and builder, Louis Horowitz of the Thompson-Starrett Company, to create the artistic masterwork and exemplar of urbanity that we recognize today?

Gail Fenske is author of The Skyscraper and the City: The Woolworth Building and the Making of Modern New York (University of Chicago Press, 2008). She is professor of architecture in the School of Architecture, Art & Historic Preservation at Roger Williams University, and has taught as a visiting professor at Cornell, Wellesley, and MIT. She is also a licensed architect and has practiced architecture in Boston and New York. She holds a Ph.D. in the history, theory, and criticism of architecture from MIT.

Click here to watch to the program

April 17 and 24, 2013 3:00PM

Woolworth Building @ 100: Curator's Tour

Director and Curator Carol Willis conducted a tour of the current exhibit The Woolworth Building @ 100.

April 15, 2013 6:30PM-8PM

Aurora Wallace Book Talk


(University of Illinois Press; October 2012)

With a unique focus on corporate headquarters as embodiments of the values of the press and as signposts for understanding media culture, Media Capital demonstrates the mutually supporting relationship between the media and urban space. Aurora Wallace considers how architecture contributed to the power of the press, the nature of the reading public, the commercialization of media, and corporate branding in the media industry. Tracing the rise and concentration of the media industry in New York City from the mid-nineteenth century to the present–including the great skyscraper headquarters of Newspaper Row and Times Square–Wallace analyzes physical and discursive space, as well as labor, technology, and aesthetics, to understand the entwined development of the mass media and late capitalism.

Aurora Wallace is a professor in the department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University and the author of Newspapers and the Making of Modern America.

The Skyscraper Museum continues its WHAT’S UP? series on international skyscraper design and development.

April 10, 2013 6:30PM-8PM

Christoph Ingenhoven Lecture


This lecture was held in the auditorium of the National Museum of the
American Indian, Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, 1 Bowling Green

1 Bligh Street. Image credit: H.G. Esch.

Christoph Ingenhoven is the founding principal of ingenhoven architects, a Dusseldorf-based firm with an increasingly international practice. His assertively modernist work emphasizes ecological principles in combination with innovative engineering and close attention to the public realm. In 2012, his sleek, sustainable, and elegant design for 1 Bligh Street in Sydney, Australia (with Architectus) won the International High-Rise Award of the DAM, the Deutsches Architekturmuseum, the Best Tall Building in Asia & Australasia Award of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, as well as numerous other prizes.

This lecture was presented in collaboration with the Facades + Performance NYC conference, April 11+12. The conference was presented by The Architect’s Newspaper and enclos.

Click here to watch to the program

March 22, 2013 10:00AM-5:30PM

Society of Architectural Historians Study Program


Join the Society of Architectural Historians at the The Skyscraper Museums exhibition, Woolworth Building @ 100, on March 22, 2013. SAH will be presenting a customized study day that will offer participants an opportunity for an in-depth look at the exhibition with the curators Gail Fenske, Susan Tunick, and Carol Willis along with a tour of Cass Gilberts buildings in lower Manhattan led by Andrew Dolkart and Gail Fenske, featuring the United States Custom House, the West Street Building, and the Broadway-Chambers Building, concluding with a visit to the Woolworth Building.

The exhibition features original design drawings by Cass Gilbert and his office staff, along with original documents, photographs, and artifacts. The original drawings will be available only for a limited time. The study day will end with a tour of the Woolworth Building, which will include a visit of a typical office space and view what remains of the designs European-inspired interiors. There will be a reception held at The Skyscraper Museum to follow.

Read the full description of the "Woolworth @ 100" Study Day.

Click here to read a report of the "Woolworth @ 100" Study Day.

March 19, 2013 6:30PM-8PM

Alexander Garvin Book Talk


(W.W. Norton & Company; March 2013)

The Planning Game: Lessons from Great Cities provides a focused, thorough, and sophisticated overview of how planning works. Generously illustrated with 200 colorful photographs, diagrams, and maps, the book presents the public-realm approach to planning–emphasizing the importance of public investments in streets, squares, parks, infrastructure, and public buildings. The book examines planning at every level, explaining the activities necessary to successfully transform a community. The Lessons from Great Cities draw on four historical examples and their colorful motive forces: Paris (Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann), New York (Robert Moses), Chicago (Daniel Burnham), and Philadelphia (Edmund Bacon).

Alexander Garvin is a noted architect and urban planner. He is an adjunct professor of urban planning and management at Yale University. He heads a planning and design firm and lives in New York.

Click here to watch to the program

March 6 and 20, 2013 3:00PM

Woolworth Building @ 100: Curator's Tour

Director and Curator Carol Willis conducted a tour of the current exhibit The Woolworth Building @ 100.

March 7, 2013 6:30PM-8PM

Elihu Rubin Book Talk


(Yale University; June 2012)

One of the most significant urban developments of the 1950s and ’60s, the Prudential Center anchors the Boston skyline with its tall gray tower. It is also a historical beacon, representing a midcentury moment when insurance companies like Prudential paid particular attention to how their physical presence and civic engagement reflected on their intangible product: financial security.

For Prudential executives, the construction of a new complex of buildings was not only a way to house the company’s regional headquarters, but was also an investment in central Boston at a pivotal time in the city’s history. To carry out its ambitious project, the private insurance company succeeded in establishing itself as a quasi-public entity, permitted by city planners to use real estate development as a means of fighting urban blight. Architectural historian Elihu Rubin tells the full story of “The Pru,” placing it in the political, economic, and architectural contexts of the period, and providing new insights into urban renewal in postwar America.

Elihu Rubin is an architectural historian, city planner, and documentary filmmaker. He is assistant professor of urbanism at the Yale School of Architecture.

Click here to watch to the program

February 5, 2013 6:30PM-8PM

Mary Anne Hunting Book Talk


(W. W. Norton & Co; November 2012)

“Colossus,” “visionary,” “giant” are terms used to describe Edward Durell Stone (1902–1978), the mid-twentieth century celebrity architect whose popular aesthetic of “new romanticism” played a role in defining postwar American modernism. Architectural historian Mary Anne Hunting will discuss the recent interest in Stone’s architecture, which has been spurred by the reconsideration of a number of his buildings–especially the controversial conversion of his most flamboyant New York building, former Gallery of Modern Art (1958–64) at 2 Columbus Circle.

Stone's skyscrapers included commissions for New York's 50-story General Motors Building (1963-58) and the 83-story Standard Oil Building (1970-1974) in Chicago. Mary Anne Hunting will discuss Stone’s work, placing his aspirations of giving form to the aspirations of an emerging consumer culture.

Mary Anne Hunting received her doctorate from the City University of New York’s Graduate Center and a master’s degree in the history of decorative arts and design from the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum/Parsons School of Design.

Click here to watch to the program

January 14, 2013 6:30PM-8PM

Kurt Schlichting Book Talk


(Johns Hopkins University Press; March 2012)

In the centennial year of New York's great Grand Central Terminal, we celebrate the chief engineer of the New York Central Railroad, William J. Wilgus. Few people have had as profound an impact on the history of New York City. Prof. Kurt C. Schlichting will discuss the remarkable career of this innovator, revealing how his tireless work moving people and goods over and under Manhattan Island and its surrounding waterways forever changed New York’s bustling transportation system. After his herculean efforts on behalf of Grand Central, the most complicated construction project in New York’s history, Wilgus turned to solving the city’s transportation quandary: Manhattan—the financial, commercial, and cultural hub of the United States in the twentieth century—was separated from the mainland by two major rivers to the west and east, a deep-water estuary to the south, and the Harlem River to the north.

Kurt Schlichting is the E. Gerald Corrigan Endowed Chair in the Humanities and Social Sciences and professor of sociology and anthropology at Fairfield University. He is also the author of Grand Central Terminal: Railroads, Architecture and Engineering in New York.

January 8, 2013 6:30PM-8PM

Regina Lee Blaszczyk Book Talk


(Lemelson Center Studies in Invention and Innovation series; August 2012)

When the fashion industry declares that lime green is the new black, or instructs us to "think pink!," it is not the result of a backroom deal forged by a secretive cabal of fashion journalists, designers, manufacturers, and the editor of Vogue. It is the latest development of a color revolution that has been unfolding for more than a century. In this book, the award-winning historian Reggie Blaszczyk traces the relationship of color and commerce, from haute couture to automobile showrooms to interior design, describing the often unrecognized role of the color profession in consumer culture. As a tie-in to the URBAN FABRIC exhibit, Blaszczyk will focus her talk on America's first color forecasters and their relationship to Seventh Avenue garment manufacturers and Fifth Avenue retailers in the 1920s and 1930s.

Reggie Blaszczyk is a Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania and an editor at the Journal of Design History. She is the author of seven books, including Imagining Consumers: Design and Innovation from Wedgwood to Corning; Producing Fashion: Commerce, Culture, and Consumers; and American Consumer Society, 1865-2005: From Hearth to HDTV.

Click here to watch to the program

December 5, 2012 6:30PM-8PM

Rebecca Kobrin & Andrew Dolkart Book Talk


(Rutgers University Press; August 2012)

Edited by Prof. Rebecca Kobrin of Columbia University, the collection of essays in Chosen Capital examines the impact of Jewish immigrants and residents on American capitalism as both its architects—through their participation in specific industries—and as its most vocal critics through their support of unionism and radical political movements. Two chapters address New York's garment industry, including one by Andrew Dolkart, who traces the rags-to-riches career of developer Abraham E. Lefcourt. After an overview based on her introduction, "The Chosen People in the Chosen Land," Professors Kobrin and Dolkart will discuss the extraordinary dominance of Jews in the creation and culture of "Seventh Avenue."

Rebecca Kobrin is the Russell and Bettina Knapp Assistant Professor of American Jewish History at Columbia University. She has published widely on issues concerning American Jewish history and East European Jewish migration and is the author of Jewish Bialystok and Its Diaspora, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. Andrew S. Dolkart is the guest curator for URBAN FABRIC.

Click here to watch to the program

November 29, 2012 6:30PM-8PM

Thomas E. Rinaldi Book Talk


(W.W. Norton & Co.; November 2012)

Thomas E. Rinaldi treats New York City like an open-air museum of signs, capturing the glow of 200 surviving early- and mid-twentieth-century signs. In a generously illustrated introduction, drawing on documents including rare period trade publications, Rinaldi recounts the development of signage and the technological evolution of neon and examines its role in the streets of New York, in America’s cultural identity, and in our collective consciousness.

Raised near Poughkeepsie in upstate New York, Thomas E. Rinaldi visited New York City frequently before moving there in 2004. His life-long interest in the city’s built landscape drove him to pursue a career in architecture: he works as a designer for Thornton Tomasetti, a leading engineering and architecture firm. Rinaldi holds degrees in history from Georgetown University and in historic preservation from Columbia University. He is the coauthor, with Robert J. Yasinsac, of Hudson Valley Ruins: Forgotten Landmarks of an American Landscape.

October 15, 2012 6:00PM-7:30PM
at Edmond J. Safra Hall, Museum of Jewish Heritage
36 Battery Place across the street from The Skyscraper Museum

Richard Hassell Lecture


The Skyscraper Museum introduced a new lecture series WHAT'S UP? which highlights innovative high-rise architecture around the world. The series started with the work of WOHA, an internationally-acclaimed practice based in Singapore, established in 1994 by Richard Hassell and Wong Mun Summ. With a particular focus on Asia and the tropics, WOHA explores architectural strategies in response to contemporary issues of urbanization, density, sustainability, and climate. Their award-winning 69-story skyscraper in the heart of Bangkok, The Met, is a naturally-ventilated green tower that employs both public and private sky terraces and gardens in a new model for high-density urbanism.

Richard Hassell, co-Founding Director of WOHA, discussed Breathing Architecture, an overview of the firm’s recent work, from high-rise public housing to a visionary city of 5 million on just 45 square kilometres. The title refers to the climate-based approaches to sustainable design explored in the firm’s recent monograph and in a travelling exhibition of their work organized by the Deutsches Architekturmuseum in Frankfurt, Germany.

Comment: Cathleen McGuigan, Editor in Chief, Architectural Record

Click here to watch to the program

October 9, 2012 6:30PM-8PM

Susan Tunick and Andrew S. Dolkart Lecture


In the 1910s and 1920s, the prolific architectural firm of George & Edward Blum worked closely with speculative builders to design a large number of New York City's apartment buildings and commercial structures. The Blum brothers were among the most active architects in the Garment District, designing nineteen lofts.

Susan Tunick and Andrew Dolkart, guest curator for URBAN FABRIC, are co-authors of George & Edward Blum: Texture and Design in New York Apartment House Architecture (1986). They expand their close study of the firm's characteristic aesthetics, focusing in this illustrated lecture on their commercial loft buildings.

Susan Tunick is a national spokesperson for the preservation of architectural terra cotta and an established artist living and working in New York. She is the president of the Friends of Terra Cotta and has written extensively on terra cotta and tile, contributing to a renewed interest in the use and preservation of architectural ceramics. She is the author of Terra-Cotta Skyline (Princeton Architectural Press, 1997), which won that year's New York Society Library Award: Best Book on NYC.

Click here to watch to the program

October 7, 2012 1:00PM-2:30PM

Walking Tour of the Garment District

Exhibition curator Andrew S. Dolkart led a 90-minute walking tour of the Garment District, focusing on the history of the key developers and architectural firms who designed and built in the 1920s the high-rise lofts and showrooms that constitute the greatest concentration of skyscraper factories in the world.

October 4, 2012 3:25PM-4:25PM

Carol Willis at Architectural Record's Innovation Conference


Museum Director Carol Willis moderated a panel discussion on "Supertall Case Studies: Technique, Practice & Design" at the annual Architectural Record Innovation Conference on October 4th. The speakers included the "cloud club" of designers of the world's tallest buildings:

William F. Baker, PE, SE, FASCE, FIStructE, Structural & Civil Engineering Partner, SOM, LLP
Gordon Gill, AIA, Partner, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
William Pedersen, FAIA FAAR, Vice Chairman, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

September 12, 2012 3:00PM

Urban Fabric: Curator's Tour

Guest-curator Andrew Dolkart conducted a tour of the current exhibit Urban Fabric.

September 6, 2012 6:30PM-8PM

Charles D. Warren Lecture


In this lecture of approximately one hour, architect and author Charles Warren discusses the history and construction of the stacks and their integral role in one of New York’s most celebrated civic buildings.

The New York Public Library’s plan to remove millions of books from its century-old building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street has elicited a roar from many writers and scholars. But there has been little comment about the historic value of the remarkable book stacks that will be destroyed once the shelves are emptied. This construction of steel and iron, like a skyscraper frame threaded with curtain-walls of books, is the innovation at the core of the Library’s ingenious organizational scheme. The characters involved in its invention and construction include a celebrated surgeon, an unsung engineer, a Southern foundryman, and several of the most important architects of the era.

Charles D. Warren is principal of the Manhattan firm, Charles Warren Architect. He is the co-author of the two-volume monograph, Carrere & Hastings Architects and author of other books and essays on architecture and town planning.

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August 7, 2012 6:30PM-8PM

Andrew Blum Book Talk


(Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins; June 2012)

Everyone thinks they know the Internet. The most powerful information network ever conceived—an indispensable tool and constant companion in both our professional and personal lives. We’re all connected but connected to what? In TUBES: A Journey to the Center of the Internet by Andrew Blum, acclaimed young journalist Andrew Blum takes readers on a fascinating journey to find out.

Andrew Blum writes about architecture, infrastructure and technology for many publications, including The New Yorker, the New York Times, Bloomberg BusinessWeek,, Slate, and Popular Science. He is a correspondent for Wired, a contributing editor to Metropolis, and lives in his hometown of New York City.

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July 31, 2012 6:30PM-8PM

Constance Rosenblum Book Talk


(NYU Press, August 2009)

Stretching over four miles through the center of the West Bronx, the Grand Boulevard and Concourse, known simply as the Grand Concourse, has gracefully served as silent witness to the changing face of the Bronx and New York City. For a century, it has truly been a boulevard of dreams for various upwardly mobile immigrant and ethnic groups. Constance Rosenblum unearths the colorful history of this grand street and its interlinked neighborhoods. With a seasoned journalist’s eye for detail, she paints an evocative portrait of the Concourse through compelling life stories and historical vignettes. The story of the creation and transformation of the Grand Concourse is the story of New York—and America—writ large, and Rosenblum examines the Grand Concourse from its earliest days to the blighted 1960s and 1970s, right up to the current period of renewal.

Constance Rosenblum was the longtime editor of the City section of The New York Times, a Sunday section that used the techniques of narrative nonfiction to explore issues affecting New York City and the texture of life in the five boroughs. From 1990 to 1997, she was editor of the paper’s Arts and Leisure section, and previous to that she was deputy Arts and Leisure editor. Prior to joining The Times, she was culture editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer and a reporter and editor at The New York Daily News.

In addition to Boulevard of Dreams, she is the author of Gold Digger: The Outrageous Life and Times of Peggy Hopkins Joyce, a biography of a Jazz Age celebrity, published by Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt. She is also the editor of two collections of essays: “New York Stories: The Best of the City Section of The New York Times” and "More New York Stories," both published by NYU Press. Rosenblum currently writes the Habitats column in the Sunday Real Estate section of The Times, and a collection of her columns will be published next year by NYU Press.

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July 26, 2012 6:30PM-8PM

Andrew Dolkart Lecture


The Ladies' Garment Industry was New York City's largest employer in the first half of the 20th century, and "Seventh Avenue" was the city's most famous industry. While much has been written about the history of the unions and of fashion in general, this lecture and the related URBAN FABRIC exhibition focus on the architecture and development of the Garment District. Curator Andrew Dolkart discusses the character of the high-rise lofts and the forces that led to the creation of one of New York's most distinctive neighborhoods.

Andrew Dolkart is the James Marston Fitch Professor of Historic Preservation at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. He has written extensively about the architecture and development of New York, including the award-winning Morningside Heights: A History of Its Architecture and Development and the Guide to New York City Landmarks. He is well-known for his walking tours of New York City neighborhoods.

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June 19, 2012 6:30PM-8PM

Eric Firley Book Talk


(written with Julie Gimbal and Philippe Honnorat)

(Wiley, July 2011)

For well over a century, the modern skyscraper has provided an ingenious solution to high-density living and working. In the contemporary context of drastic urban growth, its role can only gain in importance. Firley analyzes fifty case studies—from Rockefeller Center in Manhattan to Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai, from Hong Kong to São Paulo—to explore how planning authorities use tall buildings to realize their urban goals and visions, and addresses the uneasy relationship between high-rise structures and sustainability.

Eric Firley is a French-German architect and urban designer. He is an Assistant Professor at the University of Miami School of Architecture and heads an international research consultancy. In addition to The Urban Towers Handbook, Firley is the author of The Urban Housing Handbook (Wiley, 2011), written with Caroline Stahl.

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June 5, 2012 6:30PM-8PM

Carol Willis Lecture

New York's Newspaper Towers

Curator Carol Willis reflects on the research for the exhibition News PAPER Spires and proposes that New York's early newspaper headquarters represent an extraordinary new form of high-rise: vertical urban factories that exploit technological advances in both printing and building construction to multiply the real estate advantages of prime locations. The lecture traces the rise of the signature towers of "Newspaper Row," on the east side of City Hall Park, from the 1870s through the early 1900s, then the migration uptown that spawned both Times Square and the E. 42nd Street axis with the headquarters of the Daily News.

Carol Willis is the founder and director of the Skyscraper Museum and a professor of Urban Studies at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation and Planning. She is also the author of Form Follows Finance and co-author of Building the Empire State with Donald Friedman.

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May 23, 2012 6:30PM-8PM

Samuel C. Florman, in conversation with Carol Willis


(Thomas Dunne Books, March 2012)

After more than five decades as a general contractor in New York City, Samuel Florman, chairman of Kreisler Borg Florman General Construction Company, has many stories to tell. An engineer with a gift for prose, he has published six books, including The Existential Pleasures of Engineering and The Introspective Engineer, as well as more than 250 articles. His new autobiographical volume Good Guys, Wiseguys, and Putting Up Buildings: A Life in Construction, recounts his career from the 1950s, amidst the rise of the notorious Mafia families and evolution of the Civil Rights Movement. Along with the rousing adventures, Florman writes of his enchantment with seeing architecture made real and the pride of creating housing, hospitals, schools, places of worship—shelter for the body and nourishment for the spirit. After a conversation about his career with the museum’s director, Carol Willis, Florman engaged in Q & A with the audience.

Samuel Florman is the chairman of Kreisler Borg Florman General Construction Company.

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News PAPER Spires

In conjunction with the current exhibition News PAPER Spires, the Museum is presenting a series of lectures that examine the architectural history of New York's earliest skyscrapers and the role of publishers and newspaper in the urban culture of the city.

May 5, 2012 11:00AM

Thorin Tritter Walking Tour


Thorin Tritter serves as the Managing Director of Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE) at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. He is currently a research fellow in the School of Advanced Study at the University of London working on a project about the history of book publishing in North America. In addition to his academic work, he has worked as a tour guide for Big Onion Walking Tours for more than 10 years.

April 25, 2012 6:30PM-8PM

James McGrath Morris Book Talk


(Harper Collins, February 2010)

Like Alfred Nobel, Joseph Pulitzer is better known today for the prize that bears his name than his contribution to history. Yet, in 19th-century industrial America, while Carnegie provided the steel, Rockefeller the oil, Morgan the money, and Vanderbilt the railroads, Pulitzer invented the modern mass media. Pulitzer traces the epic story of this Jewish Hungarian immigrant’s rise through American politics and into journalism, where he accumulated immense power and wealth, only to fall blind and become a lonely tormented recluse wandering the globe -- but not before Pulitzer transformed American journalism into a medium of mass consumption and immense influence.

James McGrath Morris is the editor of the monthly Biographer’s Craft and serves as the Executive Director of Biographers International Organization. His previous book, The Rose Man of Sing Sing: A True Tale of Life, Murder, and Redemption in the Age of Yellow Journalism, was selected as a Washington Post Best Book of the Year for 2004. He is currently working on the biography of journalist Ethel L. Payne.

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April 24, 2012 6:30PM-8PM

Donald Friedman Lecture


Donald Friedman, a structural engineer, is the president of Old Structures Engineering and lives in New York City. He is the author of Historical Building Construction; After 9-11: An Engineer’s Work at the World Trade Center; The Investigation of Buildings; The Design of Renovations, with Nathaniel Oppenheimer; and Building the Empire State with Carol Willis.

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April 10, 2012 6:30PM-8PM

Lee Gray Lecture


Lee Gray is an Associate Professor of Architectural History in the School of Architecture and Associate Dean in the College of Arts + Architecture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. An expert on early commercial buildings, Lee Gray is the author of From Ascending Rooms to Express Elevators: A History of the Passenger Elevator in the 19th Century. He has written monthly articles on the history of vertical transportation for Elevator World Magazine since 2003.

March 19, 2012 6:30PM-8PM

Kathryn Holliday Lecture


Kathryn Holliday is an architectural historian and Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Arlington. Her research focuses on American architecture and theory, particularly interactions with Europe. Her book Leopold Eidlitz: Architecture and Idealism in the Gilded Age (W. W. Norton, 2008) won the 2008 Book of the Year Award from the southeast chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians. Her new book Ralph Walker: Architect of the Century will be published by Rizzoli this fall.

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May 2 & 23, and June 6, 2012 3:00PM

Curator's Tour

Museum Director and Curator Carol Willis conducted curator's tours of the current exhibit News PAPER Spires!

March 7, 2012 6:30PM-8PM

Angus Kress Gillespie Book Talk


(Rutgers University Press, August 2011)

Crossing under the Hudson takes a fresh look at the planning and construction of two key links in the transportation infrastructure of New York and New Jersey--the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels. Writing in an accessible style that incorporates historical accounts with a lively and entertaining approach, Gillespie explores these two monumental works of civil engineering and the public who embraced them. He describes and analyzes the building of the tunnels, introduces readers to the people who worked there--then and now--and places the structures into a meaningful cultural context with the music, art, literature, and motion pictures that these tunnels, engineering marvels of their day, have inspired over the years.

Angus Kress Gillespie is a Fulbright professor and teaches American Studies at Rutgers University. Gillespie is also the author of Twin Towers: The Life of New York Citys Trade Center and the coauthor of Looking for America on the New Jersey Turnpike (both Rutgers University Press).

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February 22, 2012 6:30PM-8PM

John Hill Book Talk


(W. W. Norton & Company, December 2011)

This essential walking companion and guide features 200 of the most notable buildings and spaces constructed in New York since 2000. Grouped by neighborhood, this richly illustrated guide allows for easy, self-guided tours, with photos, maps, and directions. Join the author for an engaging talk on some of his favorites.

John Hill is a registered architect who writes about contemporary architecture and "archi-tourism." He is the U.S. representative and editor for and has published articles in Architect Magazine, The Architect's Newspaper, and eVolo.

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January 10, 2012 6:30PM-8PM

John Tauranac Book Talk


(Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Photographer)

(Harry Abrams, September 2011)

John Tauranac knows architectural New York, but even he was stumped by some of the subjects that the great aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand shot for their newest book. Tauranac takes it all with a sense of humor and more than a dash of humility as he discusses some of the mysteries with which he was presented. He will share the stories with you, and he’ll show some of his favorite photographs from this glorious book and tell the tales behind them.

John Tauranac writes on New York's architectural history, teaches the subject, gives tours of the city, and designs maps. He also teaches New York history and architecture at NYU's School of Continuing & Professional Studies, where he is an adjunct associate professor. He was named a Centennial Historian of the City of New York by the Mayor's Office for his work in history in 1999, and he was awarded a Commendation for Design Excellence by the U. S. Department of Transportation and the National Endowment of the Arts in 1980 for his design contributions to the 1979 subway map.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand is a world famous photographer renowned for his aerial photography. His work includes the bestseller The Earth from Above, which has sold over a million copies. He lives in France.

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December 7 & 14, 2011

Curator's Tour

Museum Director and Curator Carol Willis led a gallery tour of the current exhibit Supertall!

December 1, 2011

Kate Ascher Book Talk


(Penguin Press, November 2011)

The skyscraper is perhaps the most recognizable icon of the modern urban landscape. Providing offices, homes, restaurants, and shopping to thousands of inhabitants, modern skyscrapers function as small cities- with infrastructure not unlike that hidden beneath our streets. Clean water is provided to floors thousands of feet in the sky; elevators move people swiftly and safely throughout the building; and telecom networks allow virtual meetings with people on other continents. How are these services-considered essential, but largely taken for granted- possible in such a complex structure? What does it really take to sustain human life at such enormous heights?

Exploring the interconnected systems that make life livable in the sky is the task of Kate Ascher's stunningly illustrated The Heights: Anatomy of a Skyscraper. Ascher examines skyscrapers from around the world to learn how these incredible structures operate. Along the way, The Heights introduces the reader to every type of person involved in designing, building, and maintaining a skyscraper: the designers who calculate how weight and weather will affect their structures, the workers who dig the foundations and raise the lightning rods, the crews who clean the windows and maintain the air ducts, and the firefighters whose special equipment allows blazes to be fought at unprecedented heights.

Kate Ascher is author of The Works: Anatomy of a City. She received her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in government from the London School of Economics and her B.A. in political science from Brown University. She formerly served as assistant director of the Port at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and worked overseas in corporate finance, before her previous position as executive vice president of the Economic Development Corporation for City of New York. Currently, she is a Principal at Happold Consulting in New York and in fall 2011 will begin to serve as the new Milstein Professor of Urban Development at Columbia University, GSAPP.

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November 9, 2011

Daniel Okrent Book Talk


(Simon & Schuster May 2010)

That Americans would ever agree to relinquish alcohol was as improbable as it was astonishing. Yet we did, and Last Call is Daniel Okrent's dazzling explanation of why we did it, what life under Prohibition was like, and how such an unprecedented degree of government interference in the private lives of Americans changed the country forever.

Writing with both wit and historical acuity, Okrent reveals how Prohibition marked a confluence of diverse forces: the growing political power of the women's suffrage movement, which allied itself with the antiliquor campaign; the fear of small-town, native-stock Protestants that they were losing control of their country to the immigrants of the large cities; the anti-German sentiment stoked by World War I; and a variety of other unlikely factors, ranging from the rise of the automobile to the advent of the income tax.

Daniel Okrent was the first public editor of The New York Times, editor-at-large of Time, Inc., and managing editor of Life magazine. He worked in book publishing as an editor at Knopf and Viking, and was editor-in-chief of general books at Harcourt Brace. He is author of four books, one of which, Great Fortune, was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in history. Okrent was also a fellow at the Shorenstein Center at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, where he remains an Associate. He lives in Manhattan and on Cape Cod with his wife, poet Rebecca Okrent.

October 12, 19, 2011

Curator's Tours

Museum Director and Curator Carol Willis led a gallery tour of the current exhibit Supertall!

October 5, 2011

Paul Shaw Book Talk


(The MIT Press 2011)

More than a tale of a typeface. If you use subways or select fonts, you'll enjoy this book talk! There is a common belief, reinforced by Gary Hustwit's documentary film "Helvetica," that Helvetica is the signage typeface of the New York City subway system. But it is not true - or rather, it is only somewhat true. Helvetica is the official typeface of the MTA today, but it was not the typeface specified by Unimark International when they created the signage system at the end of the 1960s. Why was Helvetica not chosen originally? what was chosen in its place? why is Helvetica now used? when did the changeover occur? Paul Shaw answers these questions and then goes beyond them to look at how the subway's signage system has evolved over the past forty years. The resulting story is more than a tale of a typeface. It is a look at the forces that have molded a signage system.

Paul Shaw an award-winning graphic designer, typographer, and calligrapher in New York City, teaches at Parsons School of Design and the School of Visual Arts. He is the coauthor of Blackletter: Type and National Identity and writes about letter design in the blog Blue Pencil.

September 27, 2011

Andrew Alpern Book Talk


(David R. Godine Publisher 2011)

Holdouts are often thought of as David versus Goliath battles, but is David the little homeowner who doesn't want to abandon his hearth to the big heartless developer? Or is David the harried builder who has invested huge sums of money in buying up ninety percent of the land needed for development – whose benefits would be enjoyed by thousands of citizens – but whose plans are thwarted by the one landowner who controls the critical land parcel without which the project is doomed?

Holdouts! depicts with vivid clarity the colorful personalities and outrageous actions that emerge in these stark confrontations. It describes epic battles that have been fought to erect buildings in New York. More than 200 illustrations and photographs show the holdouts before, during, and after the construction they delayed. This unique pictorial history will delight architecture buffs, New Yorkers, urban historians, indeed anyone interested in the sometimes hectic, sometimes pathetic, and sometimes hilarious struggles of individuals against real estate developers whose projects are so essential to the continuing economic viability of our large cities.

This is the third appearance of a unique view of New York's real estate and architecture by Andrew Alpern and Seymour Durst with an additional foreword and revisions.

Andrew Alpern is a much-published architectural historian, architect, and attorney. His co-author, the late Seymour Durst, was a major real estate developer whose own encounters with holdouts were the impetus for the book’s original version more than 25 years ago.

September 11, 2011

John Bartelstone Gallery Talk

John Bartelstone gave a talk about his photographs, featured in our gallery, on the decade of recovery and rebuilding at Ground Zero.

AUGUST 3, 10 and 24, 2011
Curator's Tour


Museum Director and Curator Carol Willis led a gallery tour of the current exhibit Supertall!

AUGUST 2, 2011
Ann Ferebee & Jeff Byles Book Talk


Click here to watch to the program

A unique cross-disciplinary survey of design history, A History of Design from the Victorian Era to the Present offers a concise overview of the modern milestones of architecture, interior design, graphic design, product design, and photography from the Crystal Palace of 1851 to the iPhone at the turn of the twenty-first century. This abundantly illustrated volume traces modern design across continents and cultures, highlighting the key movements and design traditions that have shaped the world around us.

This new edition of a classic text first published in 1970 expands coverage to include developments in design over the last forty years, with emphasis on its global reach, the impact of the digital revolution, and new trends in sustainable design that will shape the century to come.

Ann Ferebee is founder of the Institute for Urban Design, a membership organization for landscape architects, architects, and planners, of which she is now director emerita. In the early 1960s she launched Design and Environment, with a special focus on landscape architecture and the design of public space. She also taught the history of modern architecture and design at the Pratt Institute and the Parsons School of Design.

Jeff Byles is an author and journalist who has written about architecture, urbanism, and culture for The New York Times, The Village Voice, Metropolis, Modern Painters, Cabinet, The Believer, and other publications. His book Rubble: Unearthing the History of Demolition was named a Best Book of the Year by The Village Voice and Time Out New York.

July 6, 2011
Mary Woods Book Talk


(University of Pennsylvania Press 2009)

Typical architectural photography freezes buildings in an ideal moment and rarely captures what photographer Berenice Abbott called the medium's power to depict "how the past jostled the present." In Beyond the Architect's Eye, Mary N. Woods expands on this range of images through a rich analysis that commingles art, amateur, and documentary photography, genres usually not considered architectural but that often take the built environment as their subject.

Woods explores how photographers used their built environment to capture the disparate American landscapes prior to World War II, when urban and rural areas grew further apart in the face of skyscrapers, massive industrialization, and profound cultural shifts.

Mary N. Woods is Michael A. McCarthy Professor of Architectural Theory at Cornell University. She is the author of From Craft to Profession: The Practice of Architecture in Nineteenth-Century America.

JULY 13, 2011

Guest-curator and architectural historian Nina Rappaport led a gallery tour and discussion of the impetus behind VUF and the state of manufacturing in cities.

June 28, 2011
James S. Russell Book Talk


(Island Press 2011)

Click here for a video archive of the program

In a very short time the developed world has realized that global warming poses real challenges to the our future. The Agile City engages the fundamental question: what to do about it? Journalist and urban analyst James S. Russell argues that we’ll more quickly slow global warming—and blunt its effects—by retrofitting cities, suburbs, and towns. The Agile City shows that change undertaken at the building and community level can reach carbon-reduction goals rapidly.

James S. Russell is the architecture columnist for Bloomberg News. He has written about cities, architecture, and environmental design for more than 20 years.

June 20, 2011
Domino: Old and New

Click here for a video archive of the program

A program on reinventing Williamsburg's historic industrial waterfront

At the Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, Battery Park City
June 20, 2011

In the ongoing reinvention of Williamsburg's richly historic industrial waterfront into a burgeoning residential neighborhood, the massive Domino Sugar complex remains the greatest challenge and opportunity. With a site of 11.2 acres and a potential for 2200 residential units, including 30 percent of subsidized affordable housing, more than four acres of public open space, and the restoration and adaptive reuse of the landmarked refinery buildings, the Domino site is key to both the past and the future of this evolving neighborhood.

The program featured presentations by the principals of the development, design, engineering and construction teams, followed by a panel discussion.

Introduction & History
Carol Willis – Founder & Director, The Skyscraper Museum

The Refinery Buildings: Historic Preservation & Adaptive Reuse
Frederick A. Bland – Managing Partner, Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners

Engineering Issues and the Construction Conundrum
Robert Silman – President, Robert Silman Associates
Frank Sciame – CEO, F. J. Sciame Construction Co., Inc.

New Housing Development and Urban Enhancements
Michael Lappin – President & CEO, Community Preservation Corporation

Panel Discussion moderated by
Julie V. Iovine, Exec. Editor of The Architect's Newspaper and architecture & design reporter and critic.

Click here to see further past programs.

The exhibitions and programs of The Skyscraper Museum are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.