M. Dinesh Varma
Exhibition captures the essence of the great city through a set of 80 pictures
CHENNAI: If you can’t afford a whistle-stop tour of New York just yet, the next best thing is to sample a photo exhibition on one of the world’s great cities.
“The Landmarks of New York”, billed an illustrated record of the city’s historic buildings, delivers the New York quintessence through a set of about 80 photographs. The history buff, heritage lover, shutter-bugs or just an eager leaner … there is something to interest everyone.
The visitor can stop and admire the Anglo-Dutch vernacular architecture of Bowne House, the oldest surviving dwelling in Queens, the Roosevelt birthplace, the architectural genius of Central Park or the Sidewalk Clock.
The panels feature the Ford Foundation Building, New York Times headquarters — the heart of the newspaper publishing industry in the city and the Charlie Parker Residence, home of the alto saxophonist who invented the bebop music genre along with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.
Learn about the Baird Court, centre of the Bronx Zoo, which is one of the few remaining ensembles of the “City Beautiful Movement”, an advocacy of classical antiquity in the design of major cultural monuments or marvel at the engineering miracle called the Grand Central Terminal.
The event has been hosted by the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai and the C.P. Ramaswamy Aiyar Foundation.
The globe-trotting exhibition is sponsored by the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center, New York, in conjunction with the publication of the book, “The Landmarks of New York” by noted writer-curator Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel.
The event also marks the 43rd anniversary of the passage of the New York City Landmarks Law, an important legislation that preserves buildings, properties and objects that have a unique character or aesthetic value.
The law has been crucial for preserving the city’s landmarks. In New York city alone, there are an estimated 1,116 designated landmarks, 104 interior landmarks, nine scenic landmarks and 84 historic districts, comprising 22,100 properties. In its sheer vastness as well as worth, these resources represent the largest and most valuable real estate in any city in the U.S.
Formally launching the exhibition, the Prince of Arcot Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali appealed against exploiting history to stir up conflict or hatred between communities.
American touch in city
David T. Hopper, Consul-General, U.S. Consulate in Chennai, said the U.S. spent around $3 million each year for preservation and conservation efforts across the world. In fact, there is an American touch to the restoration of the Senate House in Chennai. Nanditha Krishna, honorary director, the C.P. Ramaswamy Aiyar Foundation also spoke. The exhibition is open to the public on all days till July 13 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.