Author Archives: TINA FREDERICKS

Blog #5- Less is More

This trip through Midtown Manhattan was a better experience than Downtown Manhattan; to me at least.  This tour was about the international style.  The international style is probably my favorite style of architecture.  It’s the most modern.  The buildings are simple and elegant; tall and slender.  As Mies Van de Rohe says, “Less is more.”

I was excited to see Mies Van de Rohe’s building, the Seagram building.  It was beautiful; the simple black box with bronze tracings for the curtain wall.  It was said that he wanted the skeleton of his building to be exposed as a façade.  I’m proud to say that I actually got to see it for myself and feel it as well.  I love how the bronze and black go together.  I also loved how the building was standing on pilitis like Le Corbusier’s buildings.  The pilitis is one of Corbusier’s five points.  The pilitis gave the building a beautiful plaza entrance.

Not only did Mies Van de Rohe’s building showed Corbusier’s five points, but the ones surrounding it did too; with its roof gardens, free plan and pilitis too.  Corbusier was a great influence in today’s modern architecture.

Across the street from Mies Van de Rohe’s Seagram building, was the first curtain wall building ever.  It, too was held up on pilitis.  Seeing the first curtain wall building amazed me to imagine how everyone at the time it was built, felt looking at it; watching a fully glassed building go up.  It was a simple elegant building.  After that building went up, a whole lot more like it went up as well.

 Walking on the tour I saw all types of colors of curtain wall, even down to the color pink.  I saw white building with pink glazed curtain wall.  Apart from the different colors, they also had different shapes as well.  There was this one building with a geometric shaped glass façade.  It was an odd shape but still fit well with the rest of the buildings.  I believe the shape was due to the FAR conditions.

blog #4 – Downtown Manhattan Trip

Taking the walking tour down Downtown Manhattan was quite an experience.  As a child walking through the streets of any part of Manhattan wasn’t interesting to me as it was that day.  Studying what we do now changes how we look at our environment.  Now every building catches my eyes, whether it’s a simple box building.  It makes me wonder what its original form used to look like.  We’ve learned that many buildings that are still standing today aren’t in its original forms.  They’ve all had some change to it.  For example, many of the buildings had many ornaments hanging on its façade, but now they are little to none left on the façade.  No one can really notice it, but if you look closely, you can.

Seeing many types of buildings in Downtown Manhattan was interesting to me; seeing our slideshows from class come to life.  We even visited a church.  We walked in and got the experience of the interior of the beautiful structure.  Sometimes actually visiting the building rather than looking at photos gives you a different understanding of the building.  You sometimes can’t get the experience from a simple photo as you would in person.  It is always better to go in person so you can see things you’ve missed in the photos.

We visited the Trinity Church, the Federal Hall Memorial, the Bank of New York, the Indian Museum and etc.  all of which are very decorative buildings.  The facades including interior, (the ones we went inside of).  Mostly every building had columns, which I found interesting.  Getting the feeling of old architecture and how it still exists; gothic revival, neo classic, greek, etc.  It was quite an experience for me, to appreciate the building structures as a New Yorker, knowing that this city is mine.  It shows me that architecture is everywhere and everything.

Blog #3- City of Tourists

The construction of the Erie Canal is when it all started.  The Erie Canal was completed in 1825.  With the Erie Canal being opened it, it led to rapid improvement of transportation which moved people and goods.  It opened the world up to the Industrial Revolution.   New York City was now going into a time of massive economic and industrial growth. (1860’s) They now had international trade, transportation, labor supply, etc. Technology just kept growing and growing.  They even came across their first banking system in 1861.  They had their first stocks, checks and money loans for the first time.

As the economy and industrial grew, so did the people.  The population of New York City kept increasing by the year.  It was now known as the city of tourists.  The land along with population was also growing.  Manhattan’s first public park, Central Park opened up in 1859. 

Apart from using the Erie Canal as transportation, New York City now had public train stations.  Everyone now traveled with subway trains; it was more efficient and quicker.  Unlike today, each subway line was owned by its own company.  The train lines were all separate, but now today most of it is owned by the MTA.

To earn profit in New York, they had to get cheap labor.  Women worked long hours for no kind of money.  They made at least thirty cents a day for a fifteen hour shift.  Unlike today, they did not get paid for overtime or get benefits.

Overall, New York City has changed a lot.  Manhattan was no longer covered in wetlands.  Every corner you look, or any direction rather, you would see a tall sky scrapper.  Buildings are covered on every block.  The technology increased drastically.  Everywhere you look, there’s technology.  That’s what makes New York City the “City of Tourists.”

Blog Assignment #2 – “TALE OF TWO CITIES”


Native- Born VS. Immigrants

Now that the Erie Canal opened up in New York has rapidly grew.  The population grew and grew and grew! Everyone wanted to come to New York from all over the world.  The Irish and Germans came to the USA through New York.  New York became so overpopulated that they stopped the new comers from coming through the gates.

These people that came to our “New World” were now called immigrants.  New York was now a huge diverse city.  Although New York was considered one big city, it was more like two cities.  The Immigrants VS. The Native- Born Citizens. These two groups of people lived very different from one another.  After doing the reading in Lankevich, I was horrified by the conditions the Immigrants were living in.

The Immigrants were living the worst out of the two cities.  They were living in unsanitary and unhealthy conditions.  They created the “ghetto.”  They were also the first to live in tenements.  Tenements were the first apartments but were very highly unsanitary.  They smelled really bad and were very filthy.  They didn’t have bathrooms inside the tenements.  They had to go outside and shower and use the bathroom. Families and single bachelors lived in these tenements.  It’s the only thing they could afford at the time; they didn’t have much of a choice, and if they did complain, the landlord wouldn’t care.  He could find someone else to replace it immediately.

Back then, no one knew about being sanitary.  They had poor hygiene, even the rich; however the poor were the ones who mostly lacked hygiene.  Because of these conditions, diseases and epidemics spread throughout the city, killing many.  There were more Immigrants dying than the Native-Borns. 

Meanwhile these Immigrants are living in these horrible conditions, the Native-Borns were living in houses.  They didn’t have to use the bathroom outside like the Immigrants.  Their homes weren’t as filthy as the tenements.  Of course they also had better jobs than the Immigrants.

I believe the “Tale of the Two Cities” still exists until this day, except it isn’t between the Immigrants and the Native-Borns.  It’s between the rich and the poor.  Ghettos still exist.  Although it was all one big city, it still was like it was two cities in one.  The diversity of New York all started from 1825, when the “Tale of the Two Cities” began.

“MY NEW YORK” (blog assignment #1)

Everyone thinks New York is where all dreams come true; The American Dream; the city that never sleeps.  All of which may be true, but it doesn’t come that easy.  Dreams can come true, but you have to work hard to get there.  New York isn’t exactly what the movies portray it to be. People from all over the world come to New York for a better life, for what they believe the American Dream is, but do get disappointed after experiencing what it truly is. 

I was born and raised in New York, but my parents weren’t.  They came from Guyana, moving here to the city believing it to be where their dreams will come true.  When they first came here to the country, it was hard for them to find a job.  They thought it would have been easy, but unfortunately it wasn’t.  They eventually got where they wanted to be and worked really hard to get there.  At first they did miss their country, but they grew to love New York; it was their new home.  Going back to their country to visit wasn’t the same anymore.  They couldn’t imagine themselves ever going back to live there again.

I’ve always lived in Queens.  I rarely went to Brooklyn or Manhattan, the actual city of New York until I started college.  Going to Brooklyn or Manhattan meant traveling in a train or a bus if you didn’t have a car.  Even getting around in queens meant taking the bus.  It terrified me; traveling with complete strangers, getting lost.  Even though I am from New York, it didn’t feel like it.  I felt like a tourist.  Every time a tourist would ask me for directions I always say I’m not sure.

When I was little, I was terrified of public transportation.  I never understood how people used to do it as their daily routine.  I’ve always been driven everywhere with a car.  I always remembered my first time in a train; I was about 8 years old traveling to Brooklyn with my aunt.  I thought the train smelled bad and was extremely dirty.  There was writing everywhere.  Everyone around us was strangers.  The cart keep moving fast and we were all shifting.  I couldn’t wait to get off the train.

I guess I am different from any other New Yorker.  If you ask an average New Yorker how they feel about public transportation, their response probably wouldn’t be like mine.  They might think it’s a silly question because it was ordinary, but to me it wasn’t.

Now that I’ve started college, I feel like I’m an expert of the A train line.  I now memorize all the stops from Queens to Jay Street, Brooklyn.  Further into the city, I don’t.  Traveling daily made me overcome my fear with public transportation.  Now I feel more like a New Yorker.

Now, I go to Manhattan to shop or go to parties/ bars.  I take the train as well.  I do feel more confident, but at the same time afraid.  Manhattan is indeed the city that never sleeps.  It’s chaotic.  There’s always traffic with people and cars; people bumping into each other, homeless people on every 2 blocks begging for money, smugglers trying to rob you, solicitors trying to sell you stolen accessories, people dancing or singing for money, and etc. The buildings are quite tall and jumbled together.  To me, there is no space to breathe.

New York is known for its skyscrapers, the empire state building, Time Square, the statue of Liberty, and the twin towers. For my whole life of living in New York, I’ve never been to the Empire state building or the statue of liberty. I do plan to one day; it really is a shame.

I love my New York.  I still don’t love the public transportation or the weird people you find on them, but I’ve overcame my fear with it.  I can travel just about anywhere by myself.  I am more confident and I am proud to feel that way.  I still am afraid of getting robbed, and of the weird people on the train, and the homeless people, but I’m used to it now.  “New York is MY New York”.