Contemporary New York City Municipal Architecture and Allied Arts
- Dates: October 15, 1934 through November 12, 1934
- Collections: American Art
September 26, 1934: An exhibition of New York contemporary architecture and allied arts will be opened at the Brooklyn Museum by a reception from three to six o’clock on the afternoon of Monday October 15th.
The exhibition will be installed in the Rotunda and west galleries on the fifth floor. Mayor La Guardia has been invited to open the exhibition and there will be a brief addresses by The Honorable Robert Moses; park Commissioner and by Borough President Raymond V. Ingersoll. The exhibition is being arranged by Herbert B. Tschudy, Curator of Contemporary Art.
The exhibition will show work planned or completed during the present administration by the various city departments and civic organizations. It is intended to give the public a comprehensive picture of contemporary New York municipal architecture and associated arts, such as city planning; housing, landscape architecture, architectural sculpture, murals, etc.
Two print shows have been installed at the Brooklyn Museum to run through the month of October. In the Library Gallery are shown prints, blocks, plates, tools, and photographs of artists at work illustrating how fine prints are made. The exhibits are installed to demonstrate the three chief classes of prints, relief represented by wood-cuts and wood-engravings, surface prints represented by lithographs; and intaglio prints represented by copper and steel plate, etchings, engravings, mezzotints, aquatints, etc. The Gallery of the Print Department shows lithographs by thirty one contemporary artists, featuring several accessions through the Federal Government from the Public Works of Art Project.
The Silk Show, arranged in cooperation with the International Silk Guild, illustrates silk culture by educational exhibits of silk worms and moths, cocoons, and various types of raw silk. It also shows costumes, accessories and silk textiles from the museum collections and contemporary silk fabrics lent by manufacturers. Costumes from the Hewitt Collection of Worth and other gowns of the late 19th century compare in a striking way with the most recent creations of Paris and New York.
New installations of primitive, classic and mediaeval art and of the Wilbour Egyptological Library are being made in connection with plans for the opening of the new main entrance now in progress of reconstruction. Plans include a general rearrangement of collections which is being gradually carried out in such a way as to permit an historical survey from primitive art on the first floor to a gallery of living artists on the sixth. Such installations as that of the Friedsam collection and the Renaissance Hall throw decorative arts and fine arts into natural human relationships, and contrast with the former museum practice of installing sculpture in one hall, paintings in another, porcelains in another, textiles in another, etc.
Three symphony orchestra programs are held in the sculpture court of the Brooklyn Museum every week and broadcast over WNYC. Concerts are on Thursday and Saturday at three P. M. and Sunday at four P. M. The Thursday program is given by the Knickerbocker Little Symphony Orchestra, Allan Lincoln Langley; Conductor; the Saturday program by the New York Civic Orchestra, Eugene Plotnikoff, Conductor; and the Sunday program by the Municipal Symphony Orchestra, Harry W. Meyer, Conductor. Admission to the Museum is free to the public on these days as well as on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the count is ordinarily crowded for the concerts.
The Thursday program for this week includes: Mozart "Over¬ture to Figaro", Mendelssohn "Nocturne and Scherzo", Mahler "Adagietto from Symphony No. 5", Dvorak "Svavonic Dances", Sullivan "Excerpts from the Mikado", Komsak "Concert Waltz”, Buisson "La Guapa".
The features of the Saturday program on the 29th are a double concerto for violin and cello performed by Louis Greene and Bruno Steinke, James P. Dunn's "Negro Overture", Enrico's "Roumanian Rhapsody" and Brahms "Fourth Symphony", the E minor.
Sunday afternoon the Knickerbocker will play Raff's "Romantic Suite" transcribed for orchestra by the Conductor, Mr. Langley, and shorter numbers by Schubert, Haydn, Joseph Strauss Johann Strauss, Joseph Manner and Smetana.
October 10, 1934: Sections of the Exhibition of New York Municipal Architecture and Associated Arts, opening at the Brooklyn Museum on the afternoon of October 15th, will be devoted to the New York Park Department, the Long Island state park Commission, Public schools, the Borough of Queens, the Tri-Borough Bridge Authority, the Port of New York Authority, the Department of Public Welfare, Murals for Textile High School and other municipal buildings, the Regional Plan, the Housing Authority, the Borough of Richmond Free Port, the Brooklyn Museum and Botanic Gardens which are both under the supervision of the Park Department, and the New York Municipal Art Commission.
Exhibits will include models, sketches, plans, elevations, maps, sculpture, etc. The park Department will install a small garden and will also exhibit plans and drawings of Marine Park, Jacob Riis Park, Pelham Bay Park, the Arsenal of Central Park, Bryant Park, Roosevelt Park, The Tavern on the Green, Prospect Park Zoo, Central Park Zoo, the development of the new Riverside Drive area, the War Memorial Playgrounds, and other projects.
A plan for the Marine Park in Brooklyn was prepared by the former administration. The larger part of the park is under water and comprises in total 1234 acres. The plans call for the construction of a boat basin which will also accommodate sea planes; construction of a golf course and three children’s playgrounds.
Jacob Riis Park in Queens has a mile of shore front of fine beach. The present bath house can accommodate 10,000 bathers but was poorly designed, being so close to the water's edge that there remains a totally inadequate beach. The new plan provides for renovation of the improperly built building, construction of a swimming pool to provide bathing during that part of the season when surf bathing is unpleasant or dangerous, and also the construction of a boardwalk sufficiently removed from the shore to provide a generous beach. The plan will follow generally the scheme of the development of Jones Beach state park.
Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, the largest of the city's parks contains Hunter Island and Orchard Beach. The new plan provides for bathing beach one mile in length between Rodman's Neck and Hunter’s Island on entirely remade land.
The new Central Park Zoo in Manhattan is laid out with the Arsenal as its main building. It has been altered many times in its 86 years of history and is now being restored to its original character.
Bryant Park was one of the first projects to be under¬taken by the Park Department and has been transformed from its old confusion to what is now probably the handsomest park in New York City.
Roosevelt Park (Chrystie-Forsyth Playground), built on the Chrystie-Forsyth area, called for the closing of several streets to make possible the large areas given over almost entirely to recreational facilities for children.
The Tavern on the Green, the old sheepfold which used to harbor the sheep who served as the lawnmowers of Central park in its earliest days has been converted into a new restaurant having facilities for dancing and dining indoors as well as on the terrace outside.
Prospect Park Zoo has new buildings forming semi-circular group around a grand staircase and the use of cages has been minimized by the installation of large moats around the animal areas.
In Central Park Zoo the new structures are built to harmonize with the architecture of the Arsenal Building and comprise nine buildings for animals grouped around of central court containing a seal pool and outdoor aviaries. There is also included a concession building with outside dining space.
Development of the new Riverside Drive areas has included a new highway built over the N. Y. Central R. R. tracks and surrounded by newly planned park areas. At the termination of 79th street is a great circular fountain surrounded by an arcade.
The War Memorial Playgrounds, nine in number, include wading pools and shelters. Among them is the William E. Sheridan Playground on Grand street, Brooklyn.
Model concession stands, fountains and park benches as well as sculpture from the Prospect Park Zoo and two figures of a boy and a girl to be placed on the recreational building in Central Park are shown.
In conjunction with the park Department the Long Island State Park Commission is exhibiting large drawings and photographs of Long Beach, also model of Grand Central Parkway Extension with Northern Boulevard and Astoria Boulevard, model of the Grand Central and Union Turnpike including Kew Gardens and model showing the connection of highways with the Interborough Bridge.
October 15, 1934: The rotunda on the fifth floor of the Brooklyn Museum was thronged with thousands of guests who had come to the private view and opening of the Exhibition of Municipal Architecture and Allied Arts. This exhibition shows municipal work planned or completed during the present administration, and is a rather exciting show, giving a glimpse of the future development of New York City. This development which covers planning of approaches and thoroughfares to take care of increased traffic, better housing, more spacious parks and play grounds, new and more beautiful municipal and commercial buildings, and a place for the decorative arts of painting and sculpture, is a vision of hope, a concrete plan for a larger, happier and more satisfactory life.
Greeting the throngs as they entered the spacious rotunda, was a painting of George Washington by Charles Willson Peale. This portrait has been recently purchased by the Brooklyn Museum and is publicly exhibited for the first time today. It represents Washington as a General, a younger man than the more familiar portraits of the Father of Our Country painted when he was president. Washington wears his dress uniform and sword. He stands against a romantic landscape background showing great trees and a broad expanse of land and water. He was not quite at ease posing for his portrait, more used to heroic action no doubt. One hand he has tucked into his vest in something of the favorite gesture of that other general of his day, Napoleon. The other hand rests on a cane. The face is kindly, good humored, almost smiling. The buff and blue of his uniform stand cut against the more subdued tones of the background.
At the entrance of the exhibition of Municipal Architecture and Allied Arts in the west galleries of the Brooklyn Museum, the flag of New York hangs, blue, white and orange, with the great seal of New York displayed on the white field. The galleries also have been decorated in the New York colors and make a picturesque setting for the exhibits. In the rotunda a large refectory table was set for tea with a great bunch of yellow chrysanthemums and oak leaves, and several urns of polished brass.
Within the doorway of the galleries we catch glimpses of the exhibits. There are architects' renderings of the new entrance to the Brooklyn Museum, now in process of construction, and the new entrance hall which replaces the old auditorium. The new entrance hall by a flight of steps to doors in the third story. The new entrance will be at street level. Spacious drives and walks for pedestrians will lead to several arched doorways. Except for the removal of the steps, the appearance of the facade will not be changed.
There are also drawings of the north addition to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, next to the Museum. These new acres are now being graded and made ready for planting. When completed they will provide shady walks through groves of trees, and open spaces for flower beds and lawns. Sculptured busts of Dr. John Torrey and Asa Grey are included in the exhibit of the Botanic Gardens.
The long galleries, gay with blue and orange and with the bright colors of paintings, maps and models are divided into alcoves. Within each alcove a group of exhibits gives a clear visual picture of some feature of the present or future development of Greater New York.
The Borough of Richmond Free Port shows water color renderings of Goodhue Field on Staten Island, a swimming pool, recreation pier, and the boardwalk for South Beach. There are also drawings of the addition to Richmond County Court House and designs for murals in Richmond Borough Hall and Veteran's Hall.
The Regional Plan Association displays maps of the city showing the used to which different sections of the city are to be put in accordance with the new scientifically worked cut plans of zoning. The plans end accompanying paintings show park systems, the Columbia Heights development, highway systems, railroad systems, and the actual appearance of various schemes f low cost and high cost housing. They look vastly attractive with their provision for schools, athletic fields and plentiful park space.
In the opposite alcove are designs for the Hayden Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History. Here too are the plans for transforming the lower east side into one of the most beautiful as well as useful sections of the New York water front. Tall, modern and beautiful business blocks take the place of antiquated structures, and there is a boulevard with trees and grass plots between the commercial buildings and the new wharves and docks. Here also are shown pictures of the Prison Ship Martyr's Monument and an old colored print of City Hall.
Among other exhibits other decorative wall maps for Julian Peterson High School showing transportation and industry, a model of Textile High School Library showing murals, colorful sketches for the mural decoration of children's medical words at Greenpoint Hospital, and the Solarium of the surgical ward. The subjects of these murals are sports and picnics and other children's diversions well calculated to distinct the attention of patients from aches and pains. There are also designs for the murals in the library and museum of Textile High School showing costume through the ages, a mural project for the Harlem Municipal Court, mural projects for the City Hospital on Welfare Island, and n most for¬bidding group of murals designs proposed for a penitentiary. Apparently the intention is moral teaching, but the sermon is presented in such terms as to add to the horrors of time served within walls so decorated. The Department of Public Welfare presents, maps and charts showing economy surveys pertaining to the use of land an substantiating the exhibits of the Regional Planning Association. They were prepared with the cooperation of the Bureau of Business Research of the College of the City of New York, and show the most profitable use of land for business and residential purposes, emphasizing the value of open recreation, park, and air spaces for the protection of land values, over-building being one of the chief causes for the deterioration of real estate values. The Port of New York Authority shows by photographs and by colorful paintings the chief approaches to the City of New York. They include the George Washington Bridge, Bayonne Bridge, Goethals Bridge, Outerbridge Crossing, Holland Tunnels and Midtown Harlem Tunnels, The Triborough Bridge Authority shows maps, elevations and details, including photographs of the first bridge
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Authority show cross sections of tunnels, elevations of ventilator buildings, approaches, plazas and garages. The Borough of Queens is represented by maps, water color renderings of projected parkways, and photographs of park and other municipal buildings. The Department of Parks shows photographs of gateways, bath houses, pools, playgrounds, benches, news stands, police booths, and makes a striking exhibit of one museum gallery arranged as a park with evergreens, box, privet, ivy and other plants set in a border of earth and surrounding the room. A relief map is set in the center of the floor, with an railed platform beside it for more convenient inspection. Life preservers, ice cream wagons, flags, and park sculpture add a realistic touch to this exhibit featuring plans for Jones Beach, Grand Central Parkway, Bryant Park and the proposed state parkway extension in connection with the Triborough Bridge.
The exhibition as e whole is of intense civic interest and the view it gives of the development of Greater New York should also arouse not a little feeling of civic pride.
Also present were:-
Douglas Mathewson, First Deputy Comptroller
Edward C. Blum
Maj. Gilmore B. Clarke, Consulting Landscape Architect, NYC Dept. of Parks
Mrs. Glentworth R. Butler
Mrs. Edward Haynes
Miss Rachel King
Mrs. Raymond V. Ingersoll
Mrs. Herman DeWetter
Mrs. Malcolm Gray
Miss Elizabeth Condit
Mrs. Malcolm Gray
Miss Elizabeth Condit
Mrs. Robert E. Blum
Miss Phyllis Williams
Mrs. Frederick Bates
Miss Adelaide Hart
Miss Louise Hart
Mrs. John Stevens Allen
Mrs. William Hamlin Childs
Mrs. Alexandrina R. Harrison
The Misses Harriet H., and Frances E. White
Mr. Walter Crittenden
Mrs. Frederic B. Pratt
Dr. Frank Curran
Miss Isabel Spaulding
Miss Helen Woods
Mrs. James N. Jeffares
Mrs. Ralph Root
Mr. and Mrs. John I. H. Baur
Miss Anna Billings Gallup
Mrs. Necie Silverman
Mr. Luke Vincent Lockwood
Charles P. Zirmele
Hugo C. M. Wendel
Mr. and Mrs. Perez Babcock
Dr. and Mrs. Hebert Spinden
Mr. and Mrs. William Lescaze
Mrs. J. T. Halsey
Miss Isabel Kimbell
Miss Agnes Cowing
Mr. Frederick H. Gross
Mrs. John McGree
Miss Lee McCann
Miss Violet Organ
Mr. and Mrs. Walter Pach
Miss Marjoire Bergmann
Miss Joan Donner
Mrs. Ruby Warrn Newby
Mr. and Mrs. Philip N. You
Mrs. E. A. Winters
Mrs. Wm. B. Chase
Mrs. R. Edwon Doolittle
Mrs. Henry Cochran
Mrs. Herman F. Bell
Miss Kathleen Page
Miss Marion J. Terry
George E. Brower
Mrs. Mary B. Felter
H. A. Hall
Mrs. Ruth Vivash
Mrs. Hans V. Kaltenborn
Mrs. P. B. Chochran
Miss K.V. Ilgenfritz
Mrs. E. I. Pilsbury
Mr. Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.
Mr. & Mrs. Louis McCage
Miss Maud Purdy