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Notes on the Geography of The Eastern United States: Manhattan: Rivers, Rocks, Brownstones, Highrises

Here's the full spectrum: rocks to highrises.

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The Eastern United States: Manhattan: Rivers, Rocks, Brownstones, Highrises picture 1

The view across the Hudson from the northern tip of Manhattan.

The Eastern United States: Manhattan: Rivers, Rocks, Brownstones, Highrises picture 2

A forested hill at the same tip of the island, a bit preserved in Inwood Park.

The Eastern United States: Manhattan: Rivers, Rocks, Brownstones, Highrises picture 3

Rock outcrops in Central Park and close to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Eastern United States: Manhattan: Rivers, Rocks, Brownstones, Highrises picture 4

Brownstones on West 90th Street approach the maximum density of the city in the 19th century.

The Eastern United States: Manhattan: Rivers, Rocks, Brownstones, Highrises picture 5

Take away the trees, and the compression is stark enough to give Daniel Boone the heebie-jeebies.

The Eastern United States: Manhattan: Rivers, Rocks, Brownstones, Highrises picture 6

Dolled up: Central Park West.

The Eastern United States: Manhattan: Rivers, Rocks, Brownstones, Highrises picture 7

"Diamonds are forever." So are pyramids.

The Eastern United States: Manhattan: Rivers, Rocks, Brownstones, Highrises picture 8

With steel-frames and elevators, densities took a leap, here in the case of Manhattan House, at 200 E. 60th. Tee design was by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and the AIA guide to the city considers the result "the closest Manhattan offers, conceptually, to the 'blocks' of Le Corbusier, his 'machines for living.'" Can you hear the kibitzer? "Some life." (Norval White and Elliot Willensky, AIA Guide to New York City, 2000)

The Eastern United States: Manhattan: Rivers, Rocks, Brownstones, Highrises picture 9

Pushing higher: Extell Development in 2005 opened The Orion, 550 apartments spread over 60 floors. This was small potatoes compared to other projects Extell had in the works.

The Eastern United States: Manhattan: Rivers, Rocks, Brownstones, Highrises picture 10

Completed in 2009, the Silver Towers were designed by Costas Kondylis and contain over 1,300 apartments. Larry Silverstein was the developer, though how he found the time alongside his other obligations remains a mystery.

The Eastern United States: Manhattan: Rivers, Rocks, Brownstones, Highrises picture 11

Compression reaches out to the outer boroughs. Here: Starrett City, built in 1976 and the biggest public-housing project in the country. Notice the new name, evoking a bucolic that never was.

The Eastern United States: Manhattan: Rivers, Rocks, Brownstones, Highrises picture 12

Where's that creek?

The Eastern United States: Manhattan: Rivers, Rocks, Brownstones, Highrises picture 13

OK, we need a nicer picture. Here it is, though don't look too closely at the trees. They'll creep you out.

The Eastern United States: Manhattan: Rivers, Rocks, Brownstones, Highrises picture 14

A glen in Ohio? Something truly bucolic. Nope: it's the Great Lawn at Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Thank God for Olmsted.


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