Beautiful Lithography Stones

n 2011, while the REI store in the Puck Building in Manhattan’s SoHo
district was undergoing renovation, workers made an unexpected
discovery. Hidden behind one of the walls of the cellar were more
than 100 lithography stones from the building’s days as a printer.
They are now on display on the store’s lower floor.

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The historic building got its name from the magazine Puck, the first
wide-reaching humor publication in the United States, which was
founded in 1871 and moved to lower Manhattan in 1887. It shared
the space, in a mutually beneficial relationship, with its printer,
J. Ottman Lithographic Company. Their shared headquarters was
he largest building in the printing district at the time.

J. Ottman Lithographic Company printed many things beyond the
Puck magazines, including theatrical posters and board games.
Among the works now hanging on the REI wall are a high school
diploma, a certificate of election, and a mortgage bond. Some of
the litho stones are in rougher shape than others.

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Most of the writing and images on the stones is “backwards,”
standard practice so that the final print is the reverse of
what is seen on the plate or stone. Some, though, were
prepared for offset printing, which involves an additional
step between the plate and the final product. The inked image,
prepared “forwards,” or as it would be seen in the final
product, is first transferred to a rubber blanket, reversing
the image once, and then to the final surface, setting it right.

Puck continued to operate out of the Puck Building until 1918,
when it ceased publication. It was known for beautiful, full-color
lithographs and sharp political satire. Statues of the magazine’s
mascot, Puck, decorate the outside of the building.
J. Ottman Lithographic Company shuttered around the same time.
Other printing companies, and even another satirical magazine,
have called the building home since the original tenants left.

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During REI’s renovation, a deliberate effort was made
to repurpose materials from the original building.
Fixtures from the steam engine that powered the
presses are on permanent display, including two
flywheels and the governor. Nineteenth century
I. P. Frink chandeliers, newly fitted with LED lights,
help light the main floor.

 

Source: Atlas Obscura

Beautiful Old World Movie House

The Wonder Theatres were five giant, lavish movie palaces that opened around
New York City in 1929 and 1930. While cinemas were plentiful at the time,
the Wonder Theatres were a cut above the rest. Built as Loew’s flagship theatres,
the opulent venues were designed with all the fabulousness of the Jazz Age, and
went on to provide an escape into the fantasy of Hollywood and luxury
throughout the Great Depression and Second World War.

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The last of the Wonder Theatres to open was the Loew’s 175th Street Theatre,
today known as the United Palace Theater. It debuted on February 22, 1930, with showings of the films Their Own Desireand Pearls and vaudeville performances
starring Al Shaw and Sam Lee. The theater is a sight to behold. The lavish interior,
much of which is filigreed, features authentic Louis XV and XVI furnishings and
ornate chandeliers, while the blocky exterior is reminiscent of Mayan architecture.
Its eclectic architectural style, designed by Thomas W. Lamb, was described by
The New York Times as “Byzantine-Romanesque-Indo-Hindu-Sino-Moorish-Persian-Eclectic-Rococo-Deco” and a “kitchen sink masterpiece.” With more than
3,000 seats, it is still the fourth largest venue of its kind in Manhattan.

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Movie palaces eventually fell out of vogue, however, and the grand
Wonder Theatres fell into decline and abandon in the late 60s and
through the 70s. Today, two of the theaters (the Jersey Theatre in
Jersey City and Kings Theatre in Brooklyn) still serve as cinemas
and performance venues. Another two (the Paradise Theatre in the
Bronx and Valencia Theatre in Queens) became churches.
The United Palace Theater, located in upper Manhattan’s
Washington Heights, found a second life as a unique mix of both.

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The former Wonder Theatre still functions as a church, as well as a movie
house with a 50-foot screen, and a performance venue that has brought in
acts as diverse as Adele, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, and the Berlin Philharmonic.
It also serves as a cultural and community arts center, opened by Reverend
Ike’s son Xavier Eikerenkoetter, who now oversees operations of the
historic venue.

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Atlas Obscura

Beautiful Photography Exhibit in NYC

Charting the course of photography over the past 150 years is just one of the joys of MoMA’s new exhibition.
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See works from photography’s 19th-century origins right up to more recent masterworks, by artists from Brassaï to Carrie Mae Weems. Learn more

Beautiful New York City Circa 1980s

Steven Siegel has been photographing the streets and subways
of New York City for 30 years, and his Flickr album is a time
capsule of a grittier, feral city — before Times Square was
scrubbed clean and 9/11 changed the metropolis forever.
His photos are remarkable. Siegel and friends created several
dreamlike scenarios (in a pre-Photoshop era) with clever
angles, poses, and accidental exposures. Take a closer look
and visit Siegel’s Flickr page for a trip back in time to New York
in the 1980s.

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All photos by Steven Siegel

Beautiful Designer

MV

Massimo_Vignelli

statement

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RIP Massimo Vignelli

Beautiful Photography

Ah, gotta have Photoshop. I love that program but
obviously not as  much as Robert Jahns.
These breathtaking moments are beautifully
manipulated through the magic of Photoshop.
Check out more of his work here.
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Beautiful Old Factory

Today I celebrate the Oreo cookie not because
I like the cookie so much but I do love design
and history. Today I did some internet stumbling
and came upon these great images of the design
of the old Oreo Cookie factory in New York.
Sometimes I do wish I lived closer to NYC
to experience some of this first hand but suffice
to say I’ll enjoy the ‘ol factory thanks to
the talents of PATTIBUM.
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The first Oreo cookie was made in 1912 at
the original Nabisco bakery in NYC which
is today the Chelsea Market.
Read here for 13 things you didn’t know
about Oreo cookies
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Present day Chelsea Market
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