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Greek Architecture In New York Essay

1122 words - 5 pages

When studying an ancient culture, it is important for one to comprehend the many unique elements that make up that culture. The study of architecture enables historians to deepen their understanding of a culture and identify the modern influences of that society. Architecture is an essential aspect of ancient Greek culture and its long lasting influence is evident in most cities today. The Greek Revival style dominated American architecture during the nineteenth century. Many prosperous citizens believed that the ancient Greece architecture embodied the spirit of democracy. When analyzing the architecture of New York City, one will find many examples of Greek Revival architecture, the most ...view middle of the document...

Overall, the Old US Custom House on Wall Street is a significant government building that embodies a true Greek Revival style of architecture.
The National City Bank Building located at 55 Wall Street is another prominent display of Greek Revival architecture. It was originally designed by Isaiah Rogers from Boston. The building was built between 1836 and 1842 and features twelve Ionic columns, each made of Quincy Granite (Fletcher). The building is seven-stories and was built during two separate eras. It was originally a three-story base until four more stories were added. The stylized columns are connected to large pedestals and displayed at the entrance. In 1862 the government leased and eventually purchased the building to use as the New York Customs House. In 1907 the National City Bank acquired the building and doubled its size. The President of the bank, James Stillman, believed that the use of a historic building as his headquarters increased his company’s prestige. In 2005, Regent International Hotels acquired the building as the Regent Wall Street with 144 hotel rooms and suites. This hotel was first luxurious hotel in the financial district of New York City ("The Merchants”). Overall, the National City Bank is one of the many prominent displays of Greek Revival architecture in the heart of New York City.
Another clear example of the Greek Revival style is Saint Peter’s Church located at 22 Barclay Street. It is located at the corner of Church Street in the Financial District and was built between 1836 and 1840. The initial construction of the church was funded through a gift of one thousand silver pieces from King Charles III of Spain. Catholics initially tried to establish the church on Broad Street in Manhattan but anti-Catholic sentiments forced the church to Barclay and Church streets. It was designed by John R. Haggerty and Thomas Thomas and features six Ionic columns. It is a clear example of the Greek Revival style that “closely follows the tradition of Classic monumentality of so many of its predecessors in Rome” (“Old St. Peter’s”). The simplicity of the smooth masonry walls present a “temple-form” building of great proportions. Jose Vallejo’s painting The Crucifixion hangs over the main alter. The painting was gift given to the church in 1789 by Archbishop Nunez de Haro from Mexico City. The bright colored stained class windows enhance the Greek Revival...

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