Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis, "Classical New York: Discovering Greece and Rome in Gotham" (Empires State Editions, 2018)


A new book explores how and why New York City became a showcase for the art and architectural styles of ancient Greece and Rome. Classical New York: Discovering Greece and Rome in Gotham (Empire State Editions, 2018), co-edited by Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis and Matthew McGowan (Fordham University Press, 2018), examines the Greco-Roman influence on buildings, monuments and public spaces from Rockefeller Center to the Gould Memorial Library at Bronx Community College. Walking around New York, Macaulay-Lewis says she “was struck by how many classical-looking buildings there were.” Indeed, references to the myths, gods, motifs and structures of the ancient world are seemingly everywhere: in courthouses, museums and libraries, in arches and columns, in Latin inscriptions and sculptures. But these classical references aren’t just about aesthetics or engineering. They also symbolize the aspirations of a city that saw itself as a capital of learning, culture, and civic life, on par with the finest institutions of the ancient world. This interview is part of an occasional series on the history of New York City sponsored by the Gotham Center at CUNY.

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