|This idealized postcard view of Penn Station was published in 1908, two years before the station opened.|
While the exhibit covers the history of preservation in the city from the 19th century onward, it’s hard to get excited about it. The layout is cramped, the photographs on display are generally very small, and equal emphasis is given to every battle, large or small. That’s not to say that there aren't some intriguing artifacts in the show, including the lone remaining piece of a cast-iron building by James Bogardus that was stolen from a storage lot in the 1970s. (James is writing about the building for an upcoming piece for Curbed, so keep an eye open for it.) But overall, the feeling is cramped -- even though the show is in the big room on the ground floor.
One major annoyance at the show is the volume of the videos, which run on a repeating loop and create a cacophony of sound that makes it hard to concentrate. After you've heard Isaac Stern talk about the saving of Carnegie Hall two dozen times--and you've only been inside the exhibit for 5 minutes--you may have the urge to run away. If you're keenly interested in the history of preservation in the city, it is still worth the price of admission (which, at MCNY, is always a suggested fee); others should probably not make the effort.
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If you haven’t signed up for James’s Civil War/Abraham Lincoln walk on Saturday, there’s still time. And, thanks to our friends at Curbed, you could even win two free tickets. Go to http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2015/04/21/tell_us_when_youd_timetravel_and_win_walking_tour_tickets.php for all the details on how to enter. Entries are due by Noon tomorrow (Friday, April 24).
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