The Grace Kelly of Architecture

It’s right before sunup as I walk down Lexington, just me and a lone can-man collecting his wares.

I walk this early since the city is under siege with hardhats and jackhammers, peace no longer a given where I live, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Stores I frequented for years have disappeared, replaced with scaffolding and beware of rat poison signs cordoned off like crime scenes. The noise is deafening from early in the morning till dusk, with sweaty workers hopefully wearing earplugs.

But in the early morning quiet, I forget this, as I approach 70th Street and look up.

There she is, the Chrysler Building all aglow as if just coming back from a fancy party, waving to me.  images.jpeg

I just stand there staring, feeling one with such elegance, her lights taking me back to a time where architectural beauty mattered, unlike now, when soon Manhattan will resemble Tokyo.

Later on in the day, I find myself this time, on Madison and 40th Street, remembering the block they recently tore down across from Grand Central Station.

I recall the little Stetson Hat shop my father so loved he’d stop into before hopping on the train for home.

As my heart sinks, my ears assaulted, I look up, and there she is again as if to say, hey it’s me, and it doesn’t matter what they raze or build, I’ll always still be here.

They can’t knock me down.

Let’s hear it for for The Landmarks Preservation Commission sired in 1965 by Mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr. unable to imagine what our fair city would look like if it didn’t solidly exist.

Grand Central would certainly not still be standing with or without the noble presence of a Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy.

What worries me most, what’s next to go? Can we still fight City Hall with a President who has no qualms about knocking down anything being an insensitive, disrespectful developer himself?

I sure hope so.

A Grace…to be sure. images-1.jpeg


About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
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46 Responses to The Grace Kelly of Architecture

  1. skinnyuz2b says:

    In our little town it is common for houses to be 100 years old or more. Of course, there are a lot of problems that come with the charm.
    Those iconic buildings are the towering redwood or sequoia trees of our cities.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. aFrankAngle says:

    As always, a greatly enjoy your writing because your style is simple and it speaks to me. 🙂 … Love the quiet in the city before the roar. There is a sadness associated with buildings that are no more. Some maybe needing to go … but others not. Interesting how Europeans seem to embrace old whereas we tear them down.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My heart breaks Frank when I see what’s before me. Whole blocks with mom and pop stores, all gone. I’m very affected by the changes, that I know are a part of life, but it hurts to see all you’ve known now just a memory. thanks.


  3. Eilene Lyon says:

    It seems to be ingrained in American culture to always want something new – even if it isn’t really better. I feel sad that your ears are assaulted which such noise. At least you make sure to appreciate the quiet hours.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sorryless says:


    You had me at “The Grace Kelly Of Architecture”, after which you swept me up into this beautifully penned guided tour through the long gone of New York and the current challenges facing some of its most iconic landmarks. Thank God for the Landmarks Preservation Commission indeed! Because they understand the value in aesthetics and symbols, and the reach they provide for their denizens.

    We have become a disposable society by and large. Here today, gone in five minutes. And yet . . in an age where sustainability has become the vogue word for responsible parenting of our great blue crib of a world, it applies to our architecture as well. We can’t afford to treat Grace Kelly as if she’s a bottom line decision. We just can’t.



    • I can’t say enough how the Chrysler Building moves me. My whole being lifts up to meet her. There is no regard for anything anymore if the demolish of it will reap revenue. Money Money Money. I’m so sick of it, how it’s the only thing that defines what’s valuable in our culture. New York has sold out to the highest bidder.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I always loved the Chrysler Building, because it was one I could always identify as we drove into the city. That’s heart-warming to know you have an intimate relationship with her.


  6. Dale says:

    It says something when we have to get up at the crack of insane to be able to walk the streets sans earplugs. My own street is being ripped up and they start at 6 am. Just got my new A/C put in this morning so I can finally sleep with the windows closed, allowing me to sleep in a tad more. When one works until 11 pm or later, 6 am is not a welcome wake-up call.
    As for beautiful buildings. Thank goodness there are committees and organisations that stand up for them.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Patricia says:

    I live in the state capital and it has a long rich history. Some of the old is being torn down on Main St. and the surrounding area but many buildings in the city are being renovated and the old styles are being kept. There is a lot of new modern construction most having to do with the university. Seems there is a new apartment building or condo complex on every other corner. The neighborhood where I live is in a historic area within walking distance of the State House and quaint shopping village that is being restored. The neighborhood association is very active and vocal about what will happen and what won’t. I am grateful for there diligence.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Gave a nice inspiration!!! Thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

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