Loading Events
Home > Events > Landmark Lecture: The Appearance Of The Past

Landmark Lecture: The Appearance Of The Past

  • This event has passed.

About the Event

The New York Landmarks Conservancy, in partnership with The General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen of the City of New York, cordially invites you to:

The Appearance Of The Past 

With Donald Friedman, Principal, Old Structures Engineering

pictured: Fulton Market, 1870

Landmarks are survivors and give us only a partial view of the past. Designated buildings are luckier than average and often better-looking than average.  What did New York actually look like in 1900? You need to look beyond the remnants to get a sense of what the experience of the built environment used to be. In his lecture, Donald Friedman, Principal, Old Structures Engineering will examine The Appearance Of The Past.

In 1900 more than half of the population of Manhattan lived in tenements, there were no playgrounds, large areas of the city had no parks of any kind, and there was one bridge (and no tunnels) crossing the East River. Buildings tended to be clustered by type, so there were skyscraper districts downtown and near Madison Square, while large portions of the Upper West Side consisted almost entirely of rowhouses and large portions of the Upper East Side consisted almost entirely of tenements and small factories. Streets were a crowded combination of horse-drawn vehicles, streetcars, and pedestrians; the use of coal for heat created black smog. In short, the city 120 years ago was smaller-scale than it is now, but in some ways a more intense urban experience, as Mr. Friedman will describe in his talk.

Donald Friedman is President of Old Structures Engineering, PC, a structural engineering consulting firm for historic and old buildings. He has over 25 years experience in the investigation, analysis, and restoration of landmark buildings. Representative projects include: structural design of repairs to the crypts at the New York Marble Cemetery; investigation and alteration feasibility study of Castle Clinton; investigation of damage and repairs to Belvedere Castle; facade analysis and design of new terra cotta supports for the 1906 Langham Apartments; and frame analysis and alterations to the 1896 Gerken building.

Mr. Friedman holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.A. in Historical Studies from the New School. In addition to Mr. Friedman’s project work, he has taught extensively and is the author of numerous books including The Structure of Skyscrapers in America. For more information, please visit www.oldstructures.nyc

Support Us


Your donation helps us expand our reach and be your voice for preservation.

Make A Donation

Become A Member

Join the Conservancy and be part of our mission to save New York’s extraordinary architectural heritage.

Join Us

Join Our Mailing List

Sign up to receive our free E-Newsletter, informative alerts, our monthly Mystery Landmark contest, and our monthly Tourist in Your Own Town video series.

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: New York Landmarks Conservancy. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact