Researching the History of Buildings in NYC Program


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This February, The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) offers New Yorkers with either a budding or an abiding interest in architectural history an opportunity to join the more than 500 architects, engineers, building owners, preservationists, lawyers, landmarks commissioners – and one New York City detective – who have taken the popular four-week MAS seminar Researching the History of Buildings in New York over the last two decades.

For the 20th year in a row, architectural historian and former NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission official Anthony Robins explains how to dig up the dirt on New York City buildings, their architects and their original owners. Participants will learn how to:

* Locate and understand NYC building records
* Track down client information through deeds and obituaries
* Suss out architectural info via periodicals and professional records
* Use historical archives to unearth photographs, maps and tax records

Anthony Robins is an architectural historian who has lectured for museums, universities and private groups around the world. Formerly deputy director of research and director of survey for The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, he is the author of Classics of American Architecture: The World Trade Center (Pineapple Press, 1987; new edition, 2011) and Subway Style: 100 Years of Architecture & Design in the New York City Subway (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2004), for which he won the New York City Book Award, as well as articles for The New York Times, New York Magazine, Gourmet, Architectural Record and Metropolis. He composed the site markers for Heritage Trails New York (New York’s answer to Boston’s Liberty Trail) and is a founding member of the Art Deco Society of New York as well as the creator of its walking tour program. In 1997 Robins received a Rome Prize fellowship to the American Academy in Rome. He holds an M.A. in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London.

Researching the History of Buildings in New York

Dates: Wed, Feb 1, 8, 15 + 20; 5:45-7:30 p.m. + weekday field trip (date TBA)

Location: Municipal Art Society, 111 W. 57th St (b/w 6th + 7th Aves), 16th Fl

Cost: $300 ($250 for MAS members and F/T students w/ valid ID). NOTE: Lectures and field trip cannot be purchased individually.
Continuing Ed Credits: 8.0 LU CES
Registration: Register Here
Information: (212) 935-3960, ext. 1234

Wednesday, February 1, 5:45-7:30 p.m.

The Building, Part I

An introduction to the records of the Department of Buildings: (1) new buildings and alteration applications, docket books, index cards, block and lot maps; (2) the mysteries of the plan desk; and (3) and the computerized Building Information System (BIS).

Wednesday, February 8, 5:45-7:30 p.m.

The Building, Part II: the Client

How to weave your way through deeds, directories, obituaries and Who’s Who and how to navigate ProQuest and other online resources.

Wednesday, February 15, 5:45-7:30 p.m.

The Architect

Using standard texts, guidebooks, periodicals, the Avery Index, and Committee for the Preservation of Architectural Records publications.

Wednesday, February 22, 5:45-7:30 p.m.

Miscellaneous Sources

Use of photograph collections, maps, New York City archives, libraries and historical society. Special attention to early 19th-century Manhattan real-estate tax records.

Date TBA

Weekday Morning Field Trip

Visit the New York County Register’s Office (conveyance records), the Municipal Archives (Building Department and tax records), the Municipal Reference Library and the Manhattan Department of Buildings.

The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS), founded in 1893, is a non-profit membership organization committed to making New York a more livable city through education, dialogue and advocacy for intelligent urban planning, design and preservation. For more information visit MAS.org.

One thought on “Researching the History of Buildings in NYC Program

  1. HILDA RIVERA

    I own a building in Brooklyn, NYC how do I get the original plans and deeds for it?
    Would appreciate help. HR

    Reply

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