Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis and Matthew McGowan, eds.

Classical New York

Discovering Greece and Rome in Gotham

Empire State Editions 2018

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in ArchaeologyNew Books in ArchitectureNew Books in ArtNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network January 30, 2019 Beth Harpaz

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...

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.