How lucky are we to have our own Big Apple Greeter-Historian: the adventurous Tom Keating. A true sleuth, he explores different parts of the city with camera clicking…and we get to savor his slide show.
Fifth Avenue has more famous buildings than any other street in the city. Tom started at Washington Square Arch in Washington Square Park in lower Manhattan. This marble triumphal arch was built in 1889 to celebrate the 1789 centennial of President George Washington’s inauguration.
On to The New School built in 1919 at Fifth Avenue and West 12th Street. It was founded by university professors as a progressive, free school for adults. Today it is one of the city’s bastions of art and design, with 5 divisions including the Parsons School of Design, the Mannes School of Music, and the School of Drama.
What New Yorker isn’t proud of our iconic Empire State Building at 34th and Fifth Avenue? Built in 1931, this 102-story Art Deco skyscraper was the tallest building in the world for forty years. Today, it is only the 45th!
As Tom headed uptown, we saw the original B. Altman Department Store, and Rockefeller Center, often called “The greatest urban complex of the 20th Century.” It includes 19 commercial buildings covering 22 acres between 48th and 51st Streets.
The largest single family home – with 128 rooms – was built by Cornelius Vanderbilt II in 1883, at 1 West 57th Street and Fifth Avenue. 43 years later, it was sold and demolished, and today the luxurious Bergdorf Goodman has taken its place.
The procession of famous buildings continued as Tom walked farther: the Louis Vuitton store, The Plaza Hotel, and The Apple Store, known as the Glass Cube.
The Frick Museum, at 71st and Fifth Avenue, has world renowned art and a bowling alley! It is part of Museum Mile, which also includes the Metropolitan Museum at 83rd Street and Fifth Avenue — the largest museum in the country and one that’s revered by the world.
Tom ended his presentation with a statue of Duke Ellington at Fifth Avenue and 110th Street. Designed by sculptor Robert Graham in 1997, the imposing statue is 25 feet tall and a fitting tribute to the celebrated musician. But you can’t get there on the A train!