DAKOTA BUILDING HISTORY

DAKOTA BUILDING HISTORY

Dakota tower

Architect Henry J Hardenbergh designed The Dakota in1884. A local chap, he was born in New Brunswick, NJ.  Schooled at Hasbrouck Institute in Jersey City, and apprenticed in New York from 1865-1870 under Detlef Lienau, architect of Lockwood-Mathews Mansion, Norwalk, CT. The Dakota apartments, a coop, is exclusive to the famous, movie stars, musicians and the wealthy.

The Dakota built 1884, photo is c.1890 First building in this remote area

The Dakota got its name because the  area was remote in relation to the rest of the Island of Manhattan, and more like the remote Dakota Territory, so far west and so far north, as mentioned in Christopher Gray’s book, New York Streetscapes.

Entrance

The building’s high gables and deep roofs with a profusion of dormers, terracotta spandrels and panels, niches, balconies, and balustrades give it a North German Renaissance character, an echo of a Hanseatic town hall. Nevertheless, its layout and floor plan betray a strong influence of French architectural trends in housing design that had become known in New York in the 1870s. High above the 72nd Street entrance, the figure of a Dakota Indian keeps watch.

Dakota Indian figure

The Dakota is square, built around a central courtyard. The arched main entrance is a porte-cochère large enough for the horse-drawn carriages. The area is sheltered from the weather. The general layout of the apartments is in the French style of the period, with all major rooms not only connected to each other, in enfilade, in the traditional way, but also accessible from a hall or corridor, an arrangement that allows a natural migration for guests from one room to another, especially on festive occasions, yet gives service staff discreet separate circulation patterns that offer service access to the main rooms. The principal rooms, such as parlors or the master bedroom, face the street, while the dining room, kitchen, and other auxiliary rooms are oriented toward the courtyard. Apartments thus are aired from two sides, which was a relative novelty in Manhattan at the time. Some of the drawing rooms are 49 ft (15 m) long, and many of the ceilings are 14 ft (4.3 m) high; the floors are inlaid with mahogany, oak, and cherry.

Courtyard

Originally, the Dakota had 65 apartments with four to 20 rooms, no two being alike. The apartments all look out onto an open courtyard as depicted here in this photo. These apartments are accessed by staircases and elevators placed in the four corners of the courtyard. Separate service stairs and elevators serving the kitchens are located in mid-block. Built to cater for the well-to-do, the Dakota featured many amenities and a modern infrastructure that was exceptional for the time. The building has a large dining hall; meals also could be sent up to the apartments by dumbwaiters. Electricity was generated by an in-house power plant and the building has central heating. Beside servant quarters, there was a playroom and a gymnasium under the roof. In later years, these spaces on the tenth floor were converted into apartments for economic reasons. The Dakota property also contained a garden, private croquet lawns, and a tennis court behind the building between 72nd and 73rd Streets.

Dakota

All apartments were let before the building opened. For the high society of Manhattan, it became fashionable to live in the building, or at least to rent an apartment there as a secondary city residence, and the Dakota’s success prompted the construction of many other luxury apartment buildings in Manhattan.

Central Park at the foot of the Dakota

Wikipedia. Click this for more interesting facts like the famous who lived here, and John Lennon’s murder outside the building in 1980.

An entrance to the 72nd Street station of the New York City Subway‘s A B C trains is outside the building.

Dedicated as a National New York City Landmark in 1969, and in 1976 a National Historic Landmark.

Inspired by the Dakota Building, the Baldwins, a prominent family in my new five book series about four sisters and one brother, were the first tenants in the Sandanko Building, in the late nineteenth century. The remote area appealed to the rich, and has held that reputation since the first occupant to today, both for luxury apartment living and for the convenience of the popular Central Park directly across the street.

 My current book, Indigo Sky, can be found on Amazon in three forms, print book, ebook, and audiobook.

Indigo Sky for the reader who enjoys historical romance! @AmazonKindle http://amzn.to/2nWqbcq  Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE
Author page: http://amzn.to/1K4GVQA

 

 

 

MARCH OF THE PAST: ST. AUGUSTINE

MARCH OF THE PAST: ST. AUGUSTINE

Casa Monica twin towers

Casa Monica twin towers

The Casa Monica Hotel, its history and culture flaunts the visitor to St. Augustine, Florida, where the city is celebrating the past 450 years. The Spanish founded it in 1513, but by1564 the French took over, only to step back in1565 when the Spanish arrived again. They conquered the French garrison on the St. Johns River and held the coast of Florida. The garrison remains, and you are welcome to walk on the grounds of those that came before.

Horse & buggy ride popular

Popular are the horse & buggy rides

The architecture of the Casa Monica, built in 1888, and very much part of the history of this city, was the best of Moorish and Spanish designs. Built to serve as a hotel, it opened January 17, 1888. Franklin W. Smith, amateur architect and entrepreneur developed the poured coquina (shell aggregate) concrete and built the Casa Monica in a layered type of construction.

Ambience of the dining areas

Ambiance of the dining areas

According to my research, what makes this work of architecture interesting is that the material was first used to build forts in St. Augustine in the 16th century. The coquina is made of ancient shells bonded together to form a type of stone similar to limestone. The idea was that because it was a soft material, cannon balls would sink into it, rather than crash through it. I have to wonder about that philosophy, but that’s what I found when researching this material.

Guest room

Guest room

The hotel is recognized as one of the most impressive public architectural complexes of the late nineteenth century of American history.

Street view

Street view

Located on the corner of Cordova and King Streets, Casa Monica is a U-shaped building with five towers, some battlemented, some with hip roofs, where all sides slope gently downwards to the walls. The large corner tower boasts a superb exterior spiral column. There are small hotel shops at street level on King Street.

casa_monica_2013_35When it was built in 1888, balconies were numerous, some with turned spindle posts and small balconets, which in Seville were called Kneeling Balconies, allowing the faithful to kneel during religious processions.

IMG_2664 (3)Tiles, imported from Valencia, Spain, were set in panels in some of the exterior walls. Inside, on the first floor, many rooms were arranged for the pleasure of the guests; sun parlor, drawing room, ladies waiting room, main dining room and private dining rooms. IMG_2637 (8)Three hundred guests could be seated at one time. There were 200 rooms, gas lighting, steam heat and electric bells to call for service and one bath on each floor. Metal rings were attached to the walls under the windows and tied to a rope long enough to reach the ground in case of fire.

Typical fashions

Typical fashions

Casa Monica has gone through growing pains in its 128 years. By 1900 the hotel was converted into an apartment building; in the 1920’s, it served as a low budget hotel. And in 1932, the depression forced its closing and it was idle for thirty years.

Casa-Monica-Hotel-St-Augustine-FL-Nights-of-LightsIn 1962, it was used as a courthouse; by 1997, it was sold to Richard C. Kessler and then restored. Today, Casa Monica is an elegant, upscale luxury hotel, and is included in Marriott’s Autograph Collection. The building has kept its architectural and interior Moorish character. The interior is flanked with mahogany columns, Moorish arched doorways, stenciled beams and wall sconces. The furnishings, gleaming chandelier, fountain and numerous palms and ferns give it that Victorian ambiance.

Casa Monica is listed on the National Register of Historic places and recipient of the AAA Four Diamond Award.

Fort photos

Fort photos

florida+st+augustine+sp+fort matanzas_cannon_5x3 st_augustine_fort_8 st-augustine-fort

Services in the Casa Monica are exemplary, including the bellmen and parking garage attendants. Thank you goes to  Kayley at check-in and to Holly and Tarrah at check-out. A special thanks to the Assistant Front Office Manager, Matthew.

Our room had strange sounds. Imagine? But I slept well. It wasn’t until the morning . . . when at the bar . . . I met Mr. Parrish . . .

Tune in for more next week . . .

 

 

THE DELIGHTS OF DESIGN: 17th CENTURY ENGLAND

THE DELIGHTS OF DESIGN: 17th CENTURY ENGLAND

Oliver Cromwell

Oliver Cromwell

Cromwell was not a hero, but he is known for his religious fanaticism and his influence that changed England from industrial and artistic growth to stagnation.

Charles I, the King and Cromwell’s adversary, was tried and executed in 1649. The English civil war was a time of great destruction of ecclesiastical and private property that was followed by the Protectorate under Cromwell.

The trial of Charles I on 4 January 1649.

The trial of Charles I on 4 January 1649.

Art had been associated with corruption, immorality, and inefficiency. A ban was placed on everything that had any appeal to the senses during Cromwell’s rule 1649-1660.

In 1660 the monarchy was restored, and Charles II was called to the throne. Charles and Louis XIV of France were cousins. Charles loved the dreamy, romantic styles of the French King—in his reaction to the repressed and subdued spirit that had prevailed during Cromwell’s Puritan Protectorate, he endeavored to imitate the lavishness and extravagances of the French court.

Bakery

Bakery–A Twenty-First Century replacement

The Great Fire of London began on the night of September 2, 1666, as a small fire on Pudding Lane, in the bakeshop of Thomas Farynor, baker to King Charles II. At one o’clock in the morning, a servant woke to find the house aflame, and the baker and his family escaped, but a fear-struck maid perished in the blaze.

Great Fire of London 1666

Great Fire of London 1666

Detail of the Great Fire of London by an unknown painter, depicting the fire as it would have appeared on the evening of Tuesday, 4 September 1666 from a boat in the vicinity of Tower Wharf. The Tower of London is on the right and London Bridge on the left, with St. Paul’s Cathedral in the distance, surrounded by the tallest flames.

Advertisement for a comparatively small and manoeuvrable seventeenth-century fire engine on wheels: "These Engins, (which are the best) to quinch great Fire; are made by John Keeling in Black Fryers (after many years' Experience)."

Advertisement for a comparatively small and manoeuvrable seventeenth-century fire engine on wheels: “These Engines, (which are the best) to quench great Fire; are made by John Keeling in Black Fryers (after many years’ Experience).”

This disastrous fire that destroyed most of London gave impetus to the construction of new homes, public buildings and churches. Sir Christopher Wren, architect, as the leading influence, designed St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

St Pauls London

St Pauls London

Wren was strongly influenced by Palladio, the Italian architect. Palladio’s work was strongly based on the symmetry, perspective and values of the formal classical temple architecture of the Ancient Greeks and Romans. Charles II supported the art industries, as well as French and Flemish craftsmen.

Daniel Marot canopied bed

Canopied bed designed by Daniel Marot

Daniel Marot, French architect, came to England upon the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Issued on 13 April 1598, by Henry IV of France, it granted the Calvinist Protestants of France (also known as Huguenots) substantial rights in a nation still considered essentially Catholic.

It’s told that 40,000 French weavers came to England at that time.

Do you know any other great occurrences that came from fires?

To be continued . . .

State bed engraving designed by Daniel Marot for Louis XIV of France

State bed engraving designed by Daniel Marot for Louis XIV of France

BLUE SKIES SMILING AT ME

BLUE SKIES SMILING AT ME

Lapis lazuli block

The most famous of all color studies are by Johannes Itten in his book, The Art of Color, last printing 1969. My experience, my work, for the last forty years, in interior design, has proven that truth in color exists and persists in Itten’s studies. It doesn’t matter what type of environment, warm and cool colors affect the mood and physiology of a person as well as how an occupant feels in a room, an environment. Itten says in his book, it may seem strange to identify a sensation of temperature with the visual realm of color sensation.

Chartres Cathedral-Virgin and Child. French stained glass-early example c.1194, warm and cool colors juxtaposed.

However, experiments have demonstrated a difference of five to seven degrees in the subjective feeling of heat or cold between a room painted in blue-green and one painted in red-orange. That is, in the blue-green room the occupants felt that 59 degrees was cold, whereas in the red-orange room they did not feel cold until the temperature fell to 52-54 degrees. Objectively, this meant that blue-green slows down the circulation and red-orange stimulates it.

Similar results were obtained in an animal experiment. A racing stable was divided into two sections, the one painted blue, the other red-orange. In the blue section, horses soon quieted down after running, but in the red section they remained hot and restless. It was found that there were no flies in the blue section, and a great many in the red section.

Both experiments illustrate the pertinence of cold-warm contrast to color planning of interiors. The properties of cold and warm color are essential to color therapeutics in hospitals.

Lyonel Feininger “Sailing Boats” Overlapping triangles of color echo the sails of the boats creating a rhythmic pattern and sense of speed and space.

Blue is easy to live with, although not everyone looks good in blue. (Everyone looks good in turquoise) Fair-skinned folks with a pink pallor look good in blue. Blue is the color of the clear sky and the deep sea. Common connotations are Ice, water, sky, sadness, winter, police, royalty, Hanukkah, boys, cold, calm, magic, trueness,

Blue in the ancient world
Blue was a latecomer among colors used in art and decoration. Reds, blacks, browns, and ochres are found in cave paintings from the Upper Paleolithic period, but not blue. Blue was also not used for dyeing fabric until long after red, ochre, pink and purple. This is probably due to the perennial difficulty of making good blue dyes and pigments. The earliest known blue dyes were made from plants –

Handspun wool dyed with woad

woad in Europe, indigo in Asia and Africa, while blue pigments were made from minerals, usually either lapis lazuli or azurite.

Lapis lazuli, a semi-precious stone, has been mined in Afghanistan for more than three thousand years, and was exported to all parts of the ancient world. In Iran and Mesopotamia, it was used to make jewelry and vessels. In Egypt, it was used for the eyebrows on the funeral mask of King Tutankhamun (1341-1323 BC).

King Tut Mask with lapis lazuli eyebrows

Blue is the color of light between violet and green on the visible spectrum. Hues of blue include indigo and ultramarine, closer to violet; pure blue, without any mixture of other colors; Cyan, which is midway on the spectrum between blue and green, and the other blue-greens turquoise, teal, and aquamarine.

Mark Hampton’s blue and white dining room with Portuguese tiles on walls and painted look-alike on cornice and ceiling by painter Robert Jackson

Blues also vary in shade or tint; darker shades of blue contain black or grey, while lighter tints contain white. Darker shades of blue include ultramarine, cobalt blue, navy blue, and Prussian blue; while lighter tints include sky blue, azure, and Egyptian blue (For a more complete list see the List of colors).

The cost of importing lapis lazuli by caravan across the desert from Afghanistan to Egypt was extremely high. Beginning in about 2500 BC, the ancient Egyptians began to produce their own blue pigment known as Egyptian blue, made by grinding silica, lime, copper and alkalai, and heating it to 800 or 900 degrees C. This is considered the first synthetic pigment. Egyptian blue was used to paint wood, papyrus and canvas, and was used to color a glaze to make faiencebeads, inlays, and pots.

Sunflowers in blue vase

It was particularly used in funeral statuary and figurines and in tomb paintings. Blue was a considered a beneficial color which would protect the dead against evil in the afterlife. Blue dye was also used to color the cloth in which mummies were wrapped.

In Egypt, blue was associated with the sky and with divinity. The Egyptian god Amun could make his skin blue so that he could fly, invisible, across the sky. Blue could also protect against evil; many people around the Mediterranean still wear a blue amulet, representing the eye of God, to protect them from misfortune.

Blue glass was manufactured in Mesopotamia and Egypt as early as 2500 BC, using the same copper ingredients as Egyptian blue pigment. They also added cobalt, which produced a deeper blue, the same blue produced in the Middle Ages in the stained glass windows of the cathedrals of Saint-Denis and Chartres.

The Greeks imported indigo dye from India, calling it indikon. They used Egyptian blue in the wall paintings of Knossos, in Crete, (2100 BC). It was not one of the four primary colors for Greek painting described by Pliny the Elder (red, yellow, black and white), but nonetheless it was used as a background color behind the friezes on Greek temples and to color the beards of Greek statues.

The Romans also imported indigo dye, but blue was the color of working class clothing; the nobles and rich wore white, black, red or violet. Blue was considered the color of mourning. It was also considered the color of barbarians; Julius Caesar reported that the Celts and Germans dyed their faces blue to frighten their enemies, and tinted their hair blue when they grew old.

Madison Beach, Connecticut

Artist: Bing Crosby
Song Title: Blue Skies
Writer(s): Conti, Federico/Brew,Ginger

Blue skies smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies do I see
Bluebirds singing a song
Nothing but bluebirds all day long

Never saw the sun shining so bright
Never saw things going so right
Noticing the days hurrying by
When you’re in love, my, how they fly

Blue days, all of them gone
Nothing but blue skies from now on

Blue Serenity

(Blue skies smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies do I see)

Never saw the sun shining so bright
Never saw things going so right
Noticing the days hurrying by
When you’re in love, my, how they fly

Blue days, all of them gone
Nothing but blue skies from now on
Nothing but blue skies from now on

Tough guy image for my writer friends.

Who knows the tune? It may be available for your phone’s ring tone, if you know how to get it.

Do you like blue? Do you wish you could wear blue? Who is this dude with the tough guy image surrounded with blue tones?

I will return Thursday, September 20th after vacation. Tell  you about it then.

RENAISSANCE CAQUETOIRE

RENAISSANCE CAQUETOIRE

  • If we look at a painting in any particular time frame, you will see the fashions, the furnishings and designs of the interiors. An example is Velazquez “Las Meninas” or “The Family of Philip IV.”
Diego Velazquez “The Family of Philip IV”

How in the world did anyone sit down? Or ride a horse? Or play hide and seek?  But no matter who or what designed these strange fashions, comfort of sorts was provided. After all, it is the Renaissance, a time of rebirth and revitalization of life and living. Stool sitting is an obvious choice for such fashions, but would you believe they actually did have chairs? For example, the caquetoire, a small

Caquetoire 16th century

French conversational chair, also known as a gossip chair, standing on four legs held together with stretchers, designed in the Renaissance in the 16th century. The arms are wide, but not really wide enough for those voluminous farthingale skirts. The shape of the seat is what really distinguishes it. It was designed to be very wide in the front, and narrowed at the back, making a triangular shape. The back was high and panelled, and sometimes was decorated with carving and medallions. This chair has carved rams heads on the ends of the arms.

The chairs were apparently grouped for ladies to sit together and chat or gossip. Indeed the word caquetoire comes from the word caqueter which means to chat. Somehow the translation favors the word gossip over chat. These chairs first appeared in France but then found their way to other European countries.

The chair was designed during the reign of France’s Henry II (1547-1559), who married the Italian Catherine de’Medici, a woman of cruel but forceful character, who completely controlled him and their three sons, each of whom succeeded to the throne.  She was instrumental in giving additional impetus to the Italian arts in France.  She surrounded herself with Italian courtiers, who aided in introducing at the French court the amenities of Florentine social existence.  Catherine died in 1588 after an active life as the central figure of the religious wars.  Tradition ascribes to her the instigation of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s (1572), which occurred during the reign of her son, Charles IX.

Painting by François Dubois, a Huguenot painter born circa 1529 in Amiens, who settled in Switzerland. Although Dubois did not witness the massacre, he depicts Admiral Coligny‘s body hanging out of a window at the rear to the right. To the left rear, Catherine de’ Medici is shown emerging from the Louvre to inspect a heap of bodies.

Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre

Does Catherine de’Medici of the 16th century remind you of anyone you know today?  What happened to women by the 20th century? Why did we need the wakeup call by Gloria Steinem?

 

BILTMORE CHRISTMAS COUNTRY ESTATE

BILTMORE CHRISTMAS COUNTRY ESTATE

Lagoon View Fall

The Osprey, with its wide wingspan, zoomed down into the lagoon, feet first, from its nesting place nearby. The silent spring was interrupted by the rattle of wings. From her place on the rock, Cornelia raised her eyes to the sound.  Her arm was suddenly jerked by the leash in her hand. Holding onto it, she followed the dog’s trail to see the Osprey’s catch.

Cornelia, the only daughter of the eminent George Vanderbilt, was raised in this palatial atmosphere. George, the builder of Biltmore and the great-grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, opened his country estate to friends, family and heads of states.

The tale above tells us a little about George’s daughter Cornelia and her precious puppy…and according to history, George’s father, William Henry Vanderbilt, continued the legacy of the Vanderbilt empire in railroad and shipping created by the Commodore. He doubled the value of the Vanderbilt lines, to approximately two hundred million dollars.

The 1989 book “The Vanderbilts” by Jerry E. Patterson, states, “They were, and remain today, among the richest families in the world, and they lived as the world expected them to, lavishly and publicly.”

Biltmore Christmas Fantasy

George Vanderbilt, through his inheritance, in 1888 purchased the land that would ultimately become the Biltmore.

Grand Staircase

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banquet Hall

 

George Vanderbilt first welcomed guests to the Biltmore House on Christmas Eve 1895. Today, that tradition is kept alive each year as the Biltmore House is filled with hundreds of trees and garlands from the area.  Each year, the 34-foot-tall Banquet Hall Christmas tree wows Biltmore’s guests.

During Candlelight Christmas Evenings, the Oak Sitting Room glows in the light from candles and matching fireplaces at either end of the room

Oak Sitting Room

 

George's Library

The glow of hundreds of lights and a roaring fire illuminate George Vanderbilt’s Library during Christmas at Biltmore.

 

Tapestry Gallery

The Tapestry Gallery during Christmas  shines in tones of green, blue and gold. The tapestries reach from floor to ceiling and wall to wall.  We breathed in the beauty.

During our stay, Tom and I were treated royally. We enjoyed the warmth and wonder of Candlelight Christmas.

Banquet Hall

The Banquet Hall is 72 feet long, 42 feet wide and 70 feet high. It could seat up to 64 guests.

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Vanderbilt's Bedroom

 

George Vanderbilt’s bedroom, in red with deep rich wood- toned furnishings of Victoriana.

 

Mrs. Vanderbilt's Bedroom

 

 

Mrs. Vanderbilt’s bedroom is dressed with contrasting fabrics in yellow and black. The  French furnishings painted white add a country flavor, an informality in contrast to the formality found throughout the home.

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Winter Garden

The Winter Garden is located in the front hall. In November when we visited, the garden was filled with Christmas,  decorated with Christmas trees, plants, poinsettias, musicians, choirs of high school angels and more.

Breathtaking.

Thanks to LeeAnn Donnelly, Senior Public Relations Manager at the Biltmore in Asheville, NC, for permission to use the Biltmore images.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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