Contributor: Bill Eubank (Architectural Sales Representative)
Amongst all the hustle and fast paced life of New York, I always notice the great examples of architectural stonework that present themselves all over the city. One of the most famous structures in the world is the Empire State Building. It towers some 1453 feet over midtown Manhattan and is constructed with over 200,000 cubic feet of Indiana Limestone in an urban low-key Art Deco Style.
Completely restored, the interior of Grand Central Station is an amazing site of its own. Detailed with Tennessee Marble, this building has become a destination for both travelers and shoppers alike.
Located in the Upper West Side, the American Museum of Natural History is a classic example of Romanesque Revival architecture. The details of this building are exquisite but I was most impressed with the carved granite pieces displaying animals from around the world.
Across from the museum in Central Park is Belvedere Castle. This Victorian style castle dates back to 1865 and is built with hand chiseled granite blocks. Today the castle offers visitors panoramic views of the park as well as houses a fully operational weather station.
All of these buildings (just to name a few) are magnificent and definitely contribute to making the city unique in its own way. But the more I explore New York the more I realize there is another side to this city, a much more simplistic side. To me, Manhattan is really just a series of smaller often quaint areas all connected together. Each of these areas can create a relaxed, inviting environment in which stone plays a vital part.
The natural outcroppings in Central Park provide visitors an escape from city life. I witnessed both the young and the young at heart use these formations as a destination for adventure, exercise, and romance.
At the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge is the Seaport Historic Area. There I found great examples of cobblestone streets, granite curbing, bluestone paving and stone planking. Often all these materials were used at the same intersection. Granite block benches also lined the walkways in the area creating the opportunity to sit and enjoy a slower paced afternoon.
Stone Street is a narrow cobblestone alley of bars and restaurants creating an oasis in the middle of lower Manhattan’s financial district. Said to be the first paved street in the city, its history dates back to the 1600s. The area has truly withstood the test of time and to me it is absolutely one of the most charming areas in the city.
The only unauthentic stone I experienced on my last trip to NYC was at a swank Sushi establishment in Gramercy Park. The restaurant offered an appetizer called “The Rock” where thinly sliced marinated New York Strip is “cooked on a hot rock presentation”. At first glance I thought “The Rock” was a piece of soapstone but I was later informed that the material was actually ceramic with a metal coating. Even though the stone itself was artificial the food was fantastic and the entire experience was simple New York.