Max Touhey | www.metouhey.com
How much do you know about NYC architecture, design, and the built environment? Test your mettle with these trivia questions!
October is always a busy month for New York City’s architecture crowd, thanks to events like Open House New York (which happens next weekend), and Archtober, taking place across all five boroughs throughout the entire month.
And, not to brag, but one of the most fun Archtober events happened last night, when I (your editor, Amy Plitt) and Curbed’s senior story producer, Diana Budds, hosted a trivia night to test folks’ knowledge about architecture, design, and New York’s built environment.
But if you couldn’t make it to the event, fret not: We’ve gathered 10 of the best questions from the night below, and the answers have now been revealed. How many did you get right?
1. Real estate in New York City has always been at a premium, so much so that service alleys were never constructed, leaving garbage to fester on sidewalks. But one island in the city has an underground pneumatic trash system that whisks refuse away. Name that island.
ANSWER: Roosevelt Island
2. This pioneering landscape architect was responsible for creating a number of parks and playgrounds in NYC and redesigning the Park Avenue Malls in 1970; she was appointed NYC’s “landscape architect in residence” in 1977. There’s also a park named after her in Manhattan’s Sutton Place neighborhood. Name the landscape architect.
ANSWER: Clara Coffey
3. This Queens building, described by Robert A.M. Stern as the “Grand Central of the jet age,” recently reopened to the public after nearly 20 years during which it was rarely used. Name that building, and for an extra brownie point, name its architect.
ANSWER: TWA Terminal (or TWA Hotel), Eero Saarinen
4. I.M. Pei, who died earlier this year, designed NYU’s Silver Towers, two concrete buildings that loom over Greenwich Village and were named city landmarks in 2008. A sculpture by a world-famous artist sits in between those two towers. Name the artist.
ANSWER: Pablo Picasso
5. The Gowanus Canal was declared a Superfund site in 2009 thanks to its persistent pollution problems. At one particularly low point in its history, the water had changed colors, earning it a derisive nickname. What was that nickname?
ANSWER: Lavender Lake
6. New York City is home to hundreds of bridges, many of which are architectural landmarks and beloved icons. Name the oldest bridge in New York City. (Hint: it’s not open to vehicular traffic.)
ANSWER: The High Bridge
7. New York City has just 11 city-designated scenic landmarks, with the most recent—which is close to the Brooklyn waterfront—approved in 2018. Name that landmark.
ANSWER: Coney Island Boardwalk (also known as the Riegelmann Boardwalk)
8. The architect of this museum, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2019, claimed that his design would make the nearby Metropolitan Museum of Art “look like a Protestant barn.” Name the museum and the architect.
ANSWER: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Frank Lloyd Wright
9. What New York City bridge did Le Corbusier consider to be “the most beautiful bridge in the world”? For an additional brownie point, name the bridge’s chief engineer.
ANSWER: George Washington Bridge, Othmar Ammann
10. FDR Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island, completed in 2012, was constructed decades after the death of its original architect. When that architect passed away suddenly in a notable NYC station, a final rendering of the park was found in his briefcase. Name the architect and the station.
ANSWER: Louis Kahn, Penn Station
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