The Temple of Dendur in the Sackler Wing, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The combination of the 15 century BC Egyptian temple and the 20th century sleek modern enclosure designed by Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo is a stunning juxtaposition of architecture. An ancient treasure encased in a glass jewel box, all reflected in a still pool.
The Campbell Apartment and the Glass Walkway, Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal hosts two of our favorite spaces, both off the beaten path of the famous Main Concourse. One, a salon, the other a passageway. Once the office of 1920s tycoon John W. Campbell, The Campbell Apartment now serves as an elegant cocktail lounge. It beautifully replicates the galleried hall of a 13th-century Florentine palace. Meanwhile, the enormous stately windows overlooking the Concourse are actually back to back windows with a space between allowing passage across glass walkways. A secreted industrial bridge amidst Beaux Arts sashes.
Christian Liaigre’s modern take on the Parisian salon. One immediately looks prettier descending into this stunning subterranean space.
A branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this 1930s replication of a European abbey is a bit off the tourist-traveled circuit but is well worth the pilgrimage to Fort Tryon Park in Washington Heights. The picture-perfect complex serves as sanctuary to the Museum’s Medieval Art collect but, in our opinion, the building and grounds are the true draw.
John Saladino’s Apartment
A few of our choices, unfortunately, no longer exist. During the late 80s and early 90s, interior designer John Saladino held court in what had to be the most glamorous apartment in all of Manhattan. We had the pleasure of being entertained by John in his lofty lair and it remains one of the loveliest contemporary spaces I’ve ever lounged in. Over the years John has moved on to many, many other homes, but this masterful salon still holds sway in my memory.
The Royalton Hotel
Another interior that has vanished is Philippe Starck’s iconic design for the Royalton Hotel, the second branch of the then-new Morgans Hotel group. Starck’s groundbreaking design turned the chintz-ridden New York hotel world upside down and singlehandedly invented the concept of the boutique hotel. We haunted this place in the 90s. Bobby once told me he probably stayed in every room in the place at one time or another. The hotel interior has been totally redesigned but, every time I walk into the new digs, the ghost of Starck’s brilliant interior still lingers in the air.
The Walter Kerr Theatre
Broadway theatres are famously grand dames, festooned, bejeweled and ready for a night out at the thee-a-tahr. My favorite is the Walter Kerr. Named after the theatre critic and owner by the Shubert family, this playhouse is one of the smallest of the Broadway houses. It’s as if someone took a grand opera house and shrunk it in the dryer. All 975 seats are the best in the house so no matter where you sit, you will indeed be afraid of Virginia Woolf.
City Hall Subway Station
Known as the “ghost subway station of New York”, the City Hall station has been closed to the public since the mid-1940s. You can, however, still witness the grandeur of the space if you persist and stay on the number 6 train until the end of the line. The train turns around in this station and resumes its travel uptown. You’ll get a glimpse into this vacant station’s gloried past.
The Lamb’s Club Dining Room
Looking like an art deco occult parlor, the private dining room at the Lamb’s Club is an exercise in decadence. Never has red and black looked so good.
Located on the Upper East Side on the former site of the Stork Club, Paley Park was designed in the mid-1960s by the landscape architecture firm of Zion & Breen. It is the little black cocktail dress of public parks – simple, elegant and timeless. It remains a tiny modern respite in the sea of skyscrapers and serves as a reminder of why human scale (even in the largest of cities) is vital.
Greg Tankersley, for McAlpine Tankersley Architecture
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