The so-called Great Era of Luxury Apartment Building, 1869 to 1929, marked New York City's evolution from town to city, from the tradition-bound to modernity. In her first book, Hawes, a former New Yorker staff writer, tells the story in an understated, detail-rich style. She ranges from Richard Morris Hunt, the architect whose Paris sojourn shaped his views of urbanization, to the growth of the utopian-influenced cooperative apartment complexes in the 1880s. She offers histories of famous buildings like the Dakota, named in 1881 for its remoteness on the still rural Upper West Side, and the Waldorf-Astoria, ``a microcosm of the urban good life.'' She explains how the subway stimulated apartment building, how architects adapted classic vocabulary for their projects and how real estate agents hyped these new properties. By the 1920s, an apartment ``had become a symbol of the stylish life,'' Hawes writes; in an appendix, she lists the 86 buildings of the era still standing in Manhattan. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 05/03/1993 Release date: 05/01/1993 Genre: Nonfiction
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