Explore Terra Cotta NYC

Downtown Terra-Cotta Tour

Sunday, October 21, 2018

11 a.m.

Before New York’s tallest towers were sheathed in glass, they were clad in clay. Terra-Cotta, or “fired earth,” is an ancient building material made of baked clay, that helped make New York a Modern city. At the turn of the 20th century, terra-cotta became a sought-after fire-proof skin for the steel skeletons of the city’s tallest buildings. Though you’ll find it on some of New York’s most iconic structures, including the Flatiron Building, The Woolworth Building, and the Plaza Hotel, terra-cotta often hides in plain sight, mimicking other materials like granite or carved wood. On this tour led by Lucie Levine of Lower Manhattan, we’ll uncover some of city’s earliest terra-cotta structures, and find out how New York got fired up about fired earth. Along the way, we’ll see the tallest terra-cotta structure in the world, find out how the nephews of Samuel Morse commissioned the city’s earliest surviving “fireproof” sky-scraper, and learn how this stunningly versatile material moved from monochrome to multi-colored, and helped shift the city from Beaux-Arts beauty to Art Deco splendor!

$25 / $30

$50 for both tours

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Midtown-Central Park South Terra-Cotta Tour

Saturday, October 27, 2018

11 a.m.

Terra-Cotta, or “fired earth” is the clay chameleon of the concrete jungle: it can mimic stone or sport a rainbow of Technicolor glazes. Both light-weight and highly malleable, its ideal for both slim curtain walls and ornate sculptural ornaments. By the turn of the 20th century, many of the city’s most eminent architects, including Cass Gilbert, Henry Hardenbergh, George B. Post and Ely Jacques Khan, worked in terra-cotta, and the clay faced some of the city’s most iconic facades, including the Flatiron Building, the Woolworth Building and the Plaza Hotel. On this tour led by Lucie Levine of Midtown Manhattan, we’ll see the clay chameleon in some of its most beautiful and diverse forms, from a Technicolor Moorish-Revival Temple to a French Renaissance Chateau to an Italian Mannerist school. Along the way, stop by New York’s most ornate apartment building, check out one of the city’s earliest co-ops and find-out how the New York’s most illustrious theater and finest hotel were clad in clay produced right here in the five boroughs!

$25 / $30

$50 for both tours

REGISTER

 

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