NYC once encapsulated elegance in architecture and architectural detail. Materials were freely used and lavished with ornamentation. Several reasons caused the rise of relatively inexpensive ornament-free structures in recent years. Practically speaking, the City has grown enormously and the need for workable space with it. The artfully constructed buildings of the past are now deemed (perhaps rightfully) inefficient in offering maximum space and acceptable technology logistics. Cost is a prevailing factor in almost all construction decisions today. In yesteryear there was apparently money to spend and much thought given to the look of the City. It seems that today people with the purse strings are looking only at the bottom line. Finally, the master masons, sculptors, craftsmen and artisans are not the legions they once were. The waves of immigrants seeking a new life in New York in the 1800's and early 1900's no longer bring their expertise in artistic building with them to the City. And those whose grandparents or great-grandparents were artisans have rarely followed in their ancestors' footsteps.
When I chance upon architecture beautified with architectural detail, I stop to reflect, with respect, on the marvelous past that New York City enjoyed in its architecture and design. And, once in a while I will be buoyed by a new building that hosts my eye to the pleasures of exquisite architecture, art and craft.
Black and white architectural photography
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