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 Airbnb in Philadelphia

If you are looking for an Airbnb stay in Philadelphia here’s your answer. I am swooning over the old world charm of this place; I could live here much less stay here temporarily. Not sure what I need to go to Philly for but this would be a good enough reason. BTW there is no television, but who needs a TV when you are surrounded by beauty. This unique Rittenhouse gem was renovated by Tara and Percy of Jersey Ice Cream Co.  Book it here.

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Beautiful Historic Homes

I love architecture and when I’m out-and-about I sometimes find myself stalking the neighborhood to check the latest and greatest home designs. With the building frenzy going on in Seattle and so many structures being torn down and replaced at such a rapid pace, I’m developing a new appreciation for the beauty of old homes and buildings. I’m personally a fan of modern design with the less is more approach but my heart holds a special place for authentic craftsman style homes in Seattle, the colorful Victorian homes in SF and Row Houses in DC. It amazes me how much residential architecture can define a city. Put them in a different location and they almost look silly. Hopefully more will be preserved so that a cities don’t lose their historic identity. Enjoy these images, one day they may become just that, an image.

San Francisco Victorians

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Row Houses of Washington, DC
Many of these are about 200 years older than the SF Victorians and 300 years older than the Seattle Craftsman Bungalows! Built long before western states even existed. Amazing they have survived.

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Seattle Craftsman Bungalows
With the Seattle building boom, sadly many of these are disappearing and being torn down only to be replaced with what I consider poorly designed modern homes and condos. I am a huge fan of well designed modern homes however the surrounding neighborhood and homes always need to be taken into consideration.

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Beautiful Historic Architecture

Meandering around Pioneer Square
one of my favorite neighborhoods
in Seattle.
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Historic Lucknow building. The building mixes
moderate-income residential apartments with
retail space on the ground floor, adjacent to
Waterfall Garden. It was the first housing
demonstration project in the Pioneer Square
Preservation District.

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Historic Smith Tower

 

Beautiful Historic Architecture

Trolling around Queen Anne Hill this week
inspires me to share an example of beautiful reuse.
Old Queen Anne High School, designed by James Stephen
in 1899, is a Neo-classical building that sits high atop
Queen Anne Hill in Seattle. Originally noted for its
spacious corridors, ample exits, and abundant light
and fresh air it was considered “modern” when it
was constructed. Today is houses, in all its
Neo-classical glory, high-end condominiums.
An excellent example of the adaptive reuse of
historic buildings.
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Beautiful 300 Year Old House Renovated

This home renovation in Tel Aviv is breath-taking.
This 300-plus year-old house is located in the ancient
port city of Jaffa, the oldest part of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa
municipality in Israel. The gorgeous renovation is by
the Tel Aviv-based Pitsou Kedem Architects
well-known for their minimalist approach to
architecture and design. The design maximizes
the sea view while keeping the historical feel of
the building intact. It feels like a sanctuary.
I love the gorgeous arches, the exposed texture
of the old stone, and the beautiful balance between
the old and the new, such poise. Seriously beautiful.
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