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When walking through New York, the work of Italian designers goes beyond high-end boutiques (The Scholastic Building via Wiki Commons; 565 Broome Street via Douglas Elliman) When walking through New York, the work of Italian designers goes beyond high-end boutiques (The Scholastic Building via Wiki Commons; 565 Broome Street via Douglas Elliman)
When the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the Columbus Day parade last year, some activists suggested that it might be best to put a stop to it altogether. In the wake of the reckoning over the history of the United States, they remember Christopher Columbus for the genocide and colonization he brought to communities that had been in the “discovered” land for thousands of years by the time he arrived in 1492. President Joseph R. Biden was the first president to formally recognize Monday, October 11 as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, a number of states have chosen to recognize the day instead of Columbus Day, and at least one city has made Election Day a paid holiday by swapping out Columbus Day. (We would like to take this time to acknowledge that New York City is located in ancestral Lenape homelands, and to recognize the longstanding significance of these lands for Lenape nations past and present.)
At the same time, other activists note that Columbus Day originated in response to anti-Italian sentiment and continue to honor the day as a celebration of Italian heritage. Indeed, President Biden issued a separate proclamation marking the achievements and contributions of Italian-Americans. New York City seems to be having it both ways: The Columbus Day parade is back on in New York this year, and there has been no move to rename Columbus Circle (yet), but the public schools are closed today in honor of both Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Italian Heritage Day.
Italian American Museum A greatly expanded Italian American Museum, at the base of the Morris Adjmi-designed Grand Mulberry, will open in Little Italy next year (Rendering via Nexus Building Development Group and op.AL)
While the school holiday no longer mentions Columbus Day, this does not mean the erasure of Italian influences and history in New York. The Italian-American Museum sold its lot to the developers of boutique condominium The Grand Mulberry in a deal that puts the museum in a larger space rent-free in perpetuity. The iconic Battery Maritime Building is being developed into Casa Cipriani, and Harry’s Table (to be located in Waterline Square) will be the Cipriani family’s first large-format culinary experience. It remains to be seen whether plans for an Italian-style food market in the First National City Bank building are still on in the wake of the pandemic, but Eataly remains a powerful draw for locals and tourists alike.

Additionally, many of the classical building styles favored throughout New York are derived from ancient Rome, and the intricate craftsmanship on some of the more ornate prewar buildings can be credited to Italian artisans. The Metropolitan Life Building was directly inspired by St. Mark’s Campanile in Venice, and countless buildings and clubs have been inspired by Italian palazzi. This is not confined to the past; Italian-born architects are behind some of the city’s most noteworthy commercial and cultural buildings.
An Italian-style food hall is coming to Canal Street’s historic First National City Bank building An Italian-style food hall is coming to Canal Street’s historic First National City Bank building

565-Broome-Street-01 565 Broome Soho via Andrew Campbell Nelson

565 Broome Soho, 565 Broome Street

Neighborhood: Soho

Architect: Renzo Piano Building Workshop

7 one- through three-bedroom availabilities from $1.8M - $7.75M

The past few years have seen Hudson Square transform from an industrial to a residential neighborhood with 565 Broome Soho leading the charge. As Pritzker Prize laureate Renzo Piano Building Workshop’s first residential building in New York, the two-towered design’s glass facade gracefully curves at the corners, is said to take on the color of the weather, and allows for spectacular skyline and river views.

All units boast high ceilings, gracious layouts, chef's kitchens, luxe baths, and generous closet space. A double-height attended lobby welcomes residents, and additional amenities include automated parking for purchase, a fitness center with yoga studio, lap pool with steam room and sauna, children’s playroom, and lounge with green wall and library. It has already attracted the likes of tennis star Novak Djokovic and Uber founder Travis Kalanick.

565-Broadway-1 The Scholastic Building via Gensler

The Scholastic Building, 565 Broadway

Neighborhood: Soho

Architect: Aldo Rossi

To look at the Scholastic Building from the bustling street, it would appear that it has always been in the Soho Cast-Iron Historic District. However, the site went from a one-story garage to a ten-story steel, terra cotta, and stone structure designed by Pritzker Prize laureate Aldo Rossi, who has been described as “a poet who happens to be an architect.” It may have been Mr. Rossi’s first and only New York building, but Landmarks approved the design within an hour of completion. Following his untimely death in 1997, protege Morris Adjmi oversaw the building's design through to opening day.

New York-Times-Building Credit: David Sunberg of Esto

The New York Times Building, 620 Eighth Avenue

Neighborhood: Midtown West

Architect: Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Times Square may have been named after its most famous tenant, but it didn’t take long for The New York Times to outgrow its original space at One Times Square. Nearly a century later, its new headquarters breathed new life into a derelict stretch of Midtown across from the Port Authority Bus Terminal. The design by Renzo Piano Building Workshop incorporates several environmentally friendly features for increased energy efficiency.

225-Madison-Avenue-1 The Morgan Library entrance and annex courtesy of Renzo Piano Building Workshop/ The Morgan Library & Museum

The Morgan Library and Museum, 225 Madison Avenue

Neighborhood: Murray Hill

Architect: Renzo Piano Building Workshop

The Morgan Library and Museum was originally designed to house J.P. Morgan’s private library and art collection, but today serves as a public museum and scholarly research center. When it was time to usher the Classical Revival building by McKim, Meade & White into the 21st century, the museum turned to Renzo Piano. A modernist entrance building isn’t much to look at from street level, but allows for greater organization and exhibition space.

99-Gansevoort-Street-1 The Whitney Museum (Jeff Goldberg of Esto)

The Whitney Museum of American Art, 99 Gansevoort Street

Neighborhood: West Village

Architect: Renzo Piano Building Workshop

After years of trying to expand its landmark building on the Upper East Side, the Whitney Museum of American Art started anew in the Meatpacking District. Five years of construction later, an airy, expansive new structure opened near the southern entrance of the High Line. The design by Renzo Piano Building Workshop offers New York’s largest column-free art gallery space, two stories devoted to the museum’s permanent collection, and an eighth-floor cafe and outdoor terraces overlooking the Hudson River and historic Greenwich Village streets.

Columbia-University-01 The Jerome L. Greene Science Center via Columbia University

The Jerome L. Greene Science Center, Columbia University

Neighborhood: Harlem

Architect: Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Columbia University’s new Manhattanville campus is set to transform its section of Harlem, and Renzo Piano Building Workshop’s designs are set to make a statement. The boldest of these is the Jerome L. Green Science Center, which is the largest building Columbia has ever undertaken and the biggest academic science building in New York. The glass-enclosed, sustainably designed building hosts the Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, innovative common spaces, an education lab, a community wellness center, and street-level retail and restaurants.

Columbia-University-02 Lenfest Center for the Arts via Columbia University

Lenfest Center for the Arts, Columbia University

Neighborhood: Harlem

Architect: Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Up the street from the Jerome L. Green Science Center, the Lenfest Center for the Arts hosts all sorts of exhibitions, screenings, and symposia, not to mention the Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery. The architectural team behind the science center created an eight-story building with soaring ceilings, open and column-less spaces, and careful control of natural light.

Columbia-University-03 The Forum via Columbia University

The Forum, Columbia University

Neighborhood: Harlem

Architect: Renzo Piano Building Workshop

The goal of Columbia’s Manhattanville campus was always to foster a stronger connection between the university and the local community, and the Forum, a 430-seat auditorium, epitomizes that goal by creating a shared meeting space that hosts scholars and thought leaders in all fields. While the auditorium itself needs opaqueness, the offices on top require daylight. The design by Renzo Piano Building Workshop masterfully incorporates both.

45-Park-Place-1 45 Park Place interior renderings via Williams New York

45 Park Place

Neighborhood: Tribeca

Architect: SOMA Architects; interiors by Pietro Lissoni

Architect and designer Pietro Lissoni, best known for his work on projects ranging from yachts to showrooms to products, took his talents to the interiors of a gleaming new Tribeca tower. In an interview with Architectural Digest, he described a desire “to create a space that is elegant and contemporary, while evoking a sense of home.” He has certainly achieved that with high-end materials, nods to the neighborhood, and utmost attention to detail.
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