Author Archives: tasnuva

Blog 3: Downtown Manhattan

Our trip to downtown Manhattan fulfilled my longstanding wish to see the Woolworth Building up close in person. Although I work only a few blocks away from the building I have never had the opportunity to go visit it in person. One of America’s  first early skyscrapers, the Woolworth building stands amongst other terracotta tiled buildings in the midst of the tourist infested downtown Manhattan. The building’s neo-Gothic style and brilliantly decorated exterior gives off a cathedral-like vibe that, in my opinion, no photograph that I have seen was able to capture. I learned that the pyramid top on the tower is actually made of copper that changed its’ color to the bright pastel green from 100 years of exposure to the elements. Since I have only seen this building in pictures and movies, I also did not know that the H-shaped building was braced at the back with steel beams.

I also found myself caught off guard when I realized that I was staring at Frank Gehry’s Spruce street building and did not recognize it. Perhaps it was because of the overcast sky and the lack of sunlight that caused the otherwise visually dynamic building to look meek and flat, or maybe it is only meant to be viewed from across the river, whatever the reason, I was a little shocked to find myself standing so close to it without being able to identify it.

Blog 2

The Erie Canal opened in 1825 making a direct connection from the west to the east for the very first time. It has a tremendous influence in the history of New York for it had helped the city prosper in trade beyond the ports. Before the Erie Canal was constructed, any trade between the east and the west required long journeys through the Allegheny Mountains. Right from the inception of the Erie Canal, it had proven to be a success. New York became the busiest port in North America, shipping and moving tons of good per day through the canal. New York City certainly was not the only state to benefit from the Erie Canal, by means of the canal, the importance of New Orleans as the economic capital of the nation was largely supplanted as well. With the development of the steam boat, the canal became even more important, as goods were then shipped upstream from the Midwest, then by the canal to the port cities of the Northeast.

People from New York started migrating westward in great numbers for the first time but the stream of immigrants still flooded the city. The rapidly growing population culminated in poor living conditions and overcrowded streets. In the 1830’s small apartments were resultant factors of the stream of immigrants that came. These tenements were small and dark and unsanitary. The rooms were windowless and were linked together. Between buildings there were communal water closets. There was a lack of proper plumping and draining which spread disease and illness. Tenement laws were passed and by 1850 the tenements were required to have natural light and cellars were replaced.

Reflection: Contemporary New York

During the late 20th century New York was shrouded by a dark cloud that overshadowed the glitz and luster that the city was known for. The city was going through a difficult time. From the ever increasing financial dependency, to rise in crimes, murder, drugs and AIDS. There was a steady decline in population. After mayor Koch was elected, he sought to resolve the issues that his predecessors were not able to solve. The first two years of office ran smoothly where he quickly became a favorite among the residents of the city, but near the end of his second mayoral term he was faced with a major scandal. Many of his elected officials were in jail because of corruption and bribery. It was shocking to learn that the people of New york, who are so often labeled as tough and unforgiving, elected him as mayor for the third time.

The 80’s brought iconic buildings that are now known around the world. The construction of the World Trade Center had started and the new era of post modern architecture was introduced. The once AT&T building, currently known as the Sony building, by architect Phillip Johnson is one of the few famous examples of post modern architecture that is still standing today in New York.

Contemporary New York in my opinion looks like an enthusiastic art collector’s home. If buildings were paintings, then New York would be the Louvre. The wide variety of styles, from Greek revival, art deco, beaux arts, post modernism to international style, New York City has it,  and has had it all by every famous architect of their respected time. Perhaps that is why no matter how much tragedy and hardship the city goes through, or no matter how much the people suffer with it, every New Yorker will proudly (stubbornly) say, that “there is no better place to live, than New York City.”


My New York- Still A Better Love Story Than Twilight

November 20 2003, a little over ten years ago, a terrified little girl stepped foot in New York City for the first time. Going from JFK to Jamaica Queens all she could think of was how clean this new city is, little did she know how drastically that idea would change.

A person who has never stepped outside of the third world country that is Bangladesh, New York City to me was nothing less than a strange concrete jungle with even stranger vicious wild animals. I was never exposed to much of the city other than queens for the first three years of my life here. When I started high school I found myself suddenly thrown into the subway and forced to navigate every single day to midtown by myself. That was my first real encounter with my now beloved city.

My initial impression of this sparkly clean city changed when I encountered rats in the subway, dirty pigeons that attacked me on the streets, and the homeless man that took up a whole train car because of his body odor. Four years of high school in midtown put me in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the New York life and soon I became part of the herd. I felt, and still feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have gotten the chance to experience the real New York life and to have felt accepted in this crazy concrete jungle.

My New York is walking around Union Square and bumping into an old friend, My New York is taking the seven train from Grand Central Station at night and eagerly waiting for that cinematic turn and getting hit in the face with the full unobstructed spectacular view of Manhattan’s skyline. My New York is going to Williamsburg every Sunday and having brunch after yoga at my regular hole-in-the-wall restaurant, it’s going to Central Park just to see the cherry blossoms every spring. My New York is a never ending love story.