Reading Christopher Gray’s article in the New York Times (Sunday, 1/6/13) headlined “Still Stopping Me in My Tracks” about his favorite buildings in New York, I began to think of mine. Here is the list and, strangely enough, they are a combination of buildings I’ve spent tons of time in along with others I’ve never set foot in. Some are old, some are new — all of them make me feel good.
10. St. Patrick’s Cathedral — There’s nothing like a soaring cathedral in the middle of Manhattan or the quiet oasis it is when you step inside and escape the city. I think St. Pat’s is beautiful but more than that, I have a lot of memories associated with the place. I graduated from high school inside and have been to countless midnight masses.
9. The Ford Foundation building on the far east side of 42nd Street — This happens to be a very unpublicized building. I hardly ever read anything about it but it has one of the nicest interior courtyards of any building in the city.
8. Cardinal Hayes High School building in the Bronx (650 Grand Concourse) — I spent four years in this building so you might think, given the disciple in those years, that I’ve had my fill. But today and even when I attended high school there, I admired the curved front of the building and the way it bent to the street. It’s a huge place and, in its heyday, could accommodate 2,400 students. A recent visit there confirmed that the Archdiocese or someone is keeping the building in tip top shape.
7. The Plaza Hotel — If you want to feel the elegance that is New York, step inside and walk about the center restaurant or visit the Oak Room bar in the back on the Central Park South side. A throwback to another time in the city. It makes me feel special just to walk through the place.
6. The Osbourne apartment building — At the corner of 57th Street and 7th Avenue is one of the 19th-century’s grand apartment buildings of New York. Charles Osgood is one of the residents there now along with other celebrities and well-heeled New Yorkers. I’ve never been inside but one look at the outside and the interior lobby convinces me it’s a special place. Would love an invite to look around.
5. The Gainsborough Studios — Along Central Park South and near Columbus Circle, this is a slender but impressive building. I’ve always fantasized what it would be like to live and/or work there. Again, it is one of those buildings that escapes notice in a place like New York but it’s one I’d love to visit. Never been inside.
4. The Time Warner Center — I walk through this building nearly every day on my way to work and I always get a good feeling when I do. It has a soaring atrium that looks especially beautiful at Christmas and I love walking on the third floor skywalks. Be careful if you’re afraid of heights or get vertigo. Fabulous views of Central Park South. Worth having lunch here at the Porter House Restaurant that has lunch specials and views of the park. One of the best new buildings in New York and so much better than what it replaced that it’s not even worth talking about.
3. The High Line — True, it’s not a building but it is a structure and one of the new ones in New York. The magic is in its simplicity. It’s remarkable how special it feels to walk along a street that’s about 30 feet up from everything around it but it is. Amazing new residences have sprung up along it, the plantings are great, the sunsets beautiful and there’s people watching. Eat in the nearby Chelsea Market, another favorite of mine. Note: avoid it on summer weekends when it’s just too crowded to be enjoyable.
2. The Dakota — At 72nd Street and Central Park West, this is a gothic landmark. “Rosemary’s Baby” was filmed here and of course John Lennon was murdered on its doorstep. His widow Yoko Ono still lives here along with a bunch of other celebrities. It’s the building I most want to visit in all New York. It has a very dark charm but there is something about it. If any building is haunted, this is the one.
1. The Daily News Building — Yes, I have a soft spot in my heart for this place, having worked at The News (when it was housed there) for 16 years. The biggest mistake the paper ever made was moving away from this landmark. You just do not leave a building named for your newspaper. Since then, The News has been wandering around Manhattan from one dreary home to another. Move back, people, and your glory will be restored. The lobby with its giant globe is worth a visit any day of the week. Fabulous art deco design features and I was lucky to have worked there so long.