A Pictorial Blog of Things I Make,
Items I Collect, Architecture I Love,
and Other Stuff



Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Tribute to the AT&T Building

At 647 feet, the AT&T Building on Madison between 55th and 56th is Manhattan's 59th tallest skyscraper and its premier example of Post-Modern architecture--a particularly Anglocentric one. The vertical bands of fenestration evoke the radiator grille of a Rolls-Royce and the top, which conceals mechanical and utility equipment, calls to mind the 18th-century English cabinetry of Thomas Chippendale. Completed in 1984, the AT&T Building has since 1990 been known as Sony Plaza.

 Seventy-percent of the AT&T Building is clad with 600-million-year-old pink granite from Connecticut's Stony Creek Granite Quarry, provenance as well for the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and the façade of Grand Central Terminal. I took this picture from Central Park's Balcony Bridge, near West 76th Street, at 3:41 p.m. on January 30, 2011.

 This is a picture of AT&T's pediment that I snapped from the sculpture garden at the Museum of Modern Art. How can such a cacophonous clutter of architectural styles be so beautiful?

Once upon a time the country's prime evangelist of minimalist Modernism, Philip Johnson (1906-2005) designed his peacocky pièce de résistance in 1978 and, a decade or so earlier, the MoMA sculpture garden that affords such a good view of his PoMo creation's quirky crown.

Here it is on a bar coaster that I have conserved from the Quilted Giraffe, a restaurant that in the early '90s used to operate in AT&T's rear arcade.

Here are the matches. 

 Better still, I was able to purchase one of Quilted Giraffe's expansive chargers, 12 inches in diameter.

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