Last weekend, I took a reprieve from the unprecedented heat wave in NYC (who am I kidding, I love this heat–every sweaty, heavy, baking-in-an-oven minute of it) to attend an exhibition in the Park Avenue Armory. The exhibit, WS by Paul McCarthy, is a bit beside the point (it was actually so beyond bizarre and unsettling that there’s not much I can say about it here) but my experience of the Armory itself was something much more pleasant.
The Armory was built between 1877 and 1881, hailed as containing “the single most important collection of nineteenth century interiors to survive intact in one building” by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. The 55,000-square-foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall, with an 80-foot-high barrel vaulted roof, is one of the largest unobstructed spaces in New York City. Today the Armory is dedicated to the development and presentation of work int he visual and performing arts–those performances that can not be seen in traditional performance halls. The building is currently undergoing a $200 million renovation and transformation by Herzog & de Meuron. It’s everything that a historical building should be: warm and dark and grand with just enough creaks and groans.
Visiting the Armory was just another reminder to me of all the beautiful, old spaces, the transporting, often overlooked spots that give us a glimpse of the history of the city. What are your favorite architectural spaces in New York?