Friday, January 26, 2007

WHERE WAS I? As usual, it's in one of the five boroughs. Leave your guesses in the comments section.
























VISUAL CLUE ADDED JANUARY 27
























VISUAL CLUE ADDED JANUARY 28

























VISUAL CLUE ADDED JANUARY 29
























VISUAL CLUE ADDED JANUARY 30
























BONUS IMAGE ADDED JANUARY 31

























Photos: David Marc Fischer

34 comments:

Scott said...

Are you standing outside a tatani room at a Japanese restaurant?

And, if so, did they invite you in?

Debbie said...

Scottie, I see that you were at the ready waiting to be the first one to pounce! Did you even wait for the whole image to load?

Keeping things Japanese-ish, the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City?

David Marc Fischer said...

Sorry to keep you two waiting, Scott and Debbie!

No. And No.

If it's any consolation: I would have made the same guesses (especially Scott's).

Dolph said...

In this first clue is the camera pointed up?

David Marc Fischer said...

Yes, Dolph. All those years of looking skyward are paying off!

Debbie said...

Is this a Queens thing?

David Marc Fischer said...

No, Debbie. Hee hee.

Scott said...

Are you in the Gagosian gallery in Chelsea, on 24th Street?

David Marc Fischer said...

Scott, that's the warmest guess so far.

noonoo said...

Are you near a lamp?

noonoo said...

Are you in 2/20 Gallery 220 W 16th St

David Marc Fischer said...

No and no, noonoo!

Debbie said...

Is this in an art gallery?

David Marc Fischer said...

Good question, Debbie!

The answer: No.

Debbie said...

Is this above 42nd Street?

David Marc Fischer said...

Yes it is, Ga--I mean, Debbie.

Dolph said...

Is it the Terence Koh exhibit in the lobby of the Whitney?

David Marc Fischer said...

Koh? No. (Not the Whitney, either.)

Debbie said...

I don't know what it is but I'm liking it.

Is it on the west side?

David Marc Fischer said...

Yes it is, Debbie.

I'm glad you like it!

Scott said...

The JCC on Amsterdam and 76th?

David Marc Fischer said...

No, Scott--sorry!

Debbie said...

Were you on West 51st Street?

David Marc Fischer said...

No, Debbie--but you seem to be getting warmer.

David said...

Obviously some bank lobby.

Is the building still an active bank?

David Marc Fischer said...

Ex-cellent, David-it's still an active bank!

Debbie said...

Is it the Deutsche Bank building at 31 West 52nd Street?

David Marc Fischer said...

No, Debbie--you've gotten a little colder.

Debbie said...

Bank of America. 1633 Broadway at West 50th Street?

David Marc Fischer said...

Sorry--that's not much of an improvement, Debbie.

Debbie said...

Is this on an avenue?

David Marc Fischer said...

Yes, Debbie.

gary said...

Were you at 510 Fifth Ave at 43rd, The Manufacturer's Hanover Trust Branch Bank, which according to the website I was looking at says CHASE?

David Marc Fischer said...

Wow, Gary--this might be the most dramatic swoop so far!

I was, in fact, at the Chase Bank (originally Manufacturer's Trust Company) on the southwest corner of 43rd Street and Fifth Avenue.

With the bonus picture, you can get an idea of how it looks from the northeast--big-windowed, well-illuminated. The entrance to the building is on the street; the vault, which faces Fifth Avenue, can be clearly seen from the sidewalk. Much of the rest of the ground level is ATM-land, but take the escalator to the higher-ceiling second floor to see design work of Harry Bertoia, much admired by poor, swooped Debbie. Bertoia is probably best known today through his work on Knoll chairs, samples of which can be found via Google images.

From The New York Times (June 19, 1988):

>>>The [banks's] design, refined by Gordon Bunshaft...and others would express openness and accessibility where other bank buildings had expressed solidity and safety. Construction was completed in 1954 and the building received enthusiastic reviews and awards from the Municipal Art Society, the American Institute of Architects and other organizations.

It was notable on several accounts. At five stories, it was dwarfed by the surrounding 1920's skyscrapers, like the 60-story 500 Fifth Avenue next door. Instead of the customary skin of brick and stone, the new bank had a wall of aluminum and glass, with some panes 9 by 22 feet, the largest ever installed in a building.

The bank's ceilings were made of translucent plastic panels, above which was placed cathode-tube lighting. The glow gave the building volume and eliminated the reflectivity that makes other glass buildings simply black, mirrored facades.

Inside, it was more like an airline ticket office than a traditional bank, with wide-open spaces, escalators, no teller cages and, on the second floor, a great, golden steel sculpture by Harry Bertoia.

The main floor, originally designed for briefer banking transactions, like check cashing, was of regular height. The second floor was really the main banking space, nearly twice the height of a regular story, resting on a cantilevered floor set back from the outer wall. This setback, the thinness of the aluminum mullions and the glowing ceilings led writers to describe the building as a floating bank.

Only one element identified the building as a bank - a great 30-ton Mosler safe with a seven-foot-wide door that stood a shockingly small distance behind the Fifth Avenue plate-glass window. The safe, whose door was kept open during the day, signaled a revolution in banking symbolism. "The A.I.A. Guide to New York City," by Norval White and Elliot Willensky, said that the Manufacturers Trust Company building "led the banking profession out of the cellar and onto the street."

The bank merged with the Hanover Bank in 1961 to form Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company, but changes to the building have been minor. Signs and an automatic-teller machine now block part of the Fifth Avenue windows and additional furniture and some office dividers on the first and second floors detract from the original expansiveness of the interior.<<<

And, from Paul Goldberger's The City Observed:

>>>It looks pretty routine today, but this was a daring building for its time. Banks were supposed to be in Roman temples or Romanesque halls or Renaissance palaces.... The buliding was built to create an image...and to be fair, this bank is successful at it, too. It is best, indeed, as a stage set; as a great Miesian statement it comes off as second-rate and ordinary. The huge safe, oriented toward the glass wall to tantalize passersby and reinforce the image of openness, remains an eye-catching aspect of this influential building.<<<

As far as I can recall, Bertoia's work in the bank consists not only of the aforementioned "golden steel sculpture" pictured above (and apparently related to this work at Yale) but also of the "pick-up stick" sculpture hanging under some of the ceiling panels in a separate section of the floor, by the escalators.