URBAN FABRIC: Building New York's Garment District Exhibition

The Skyscraper Museum has opened a free exhibition that will run from August 5–October 31 at 1411 Broadway at 40th St., Monday-Friday from 12-6pm, on the architecture and urban history of the Garment District–the area of west midtown from 35th to 41st Streets and Seventh to Ninth Avenues.

Constructed almost entirely in the boom decade from 1921-1931, the “Art Deco” district contains more than 125 stepped-back “loft” buildings that took the pyramidal forms dictated by the city’s then-new zoning law. In more than 150 historic photographs, architectural drawings, advertisements, and films, the installation documents the distinctive built environment of the district, as well as evokes the teeming streets, crowds congregating at lunch hour, trucks clogging the thoroughfares, and myriad delivery carts that once populated the busy streets directly outside the exhibition’s doors.

The installation designed by Cooper Joseph Studio has as its centerpiece two large patternmaker tables that hold massing models of all the loft buildings that frame Street from Seventh to Eighth Avenues. Giant diagonals of colored fabric cut across the upper ranges of the high-ceilinged space.