Treasures of New York: Stanford White Premieres January 2 on WLIW21 and January 6 on THIRTEEN
Hosted by Dick Cavett, the film explores the landmark buildings and career of the man that transformed New York City during the “Gilded Age”
Viewers are treated to an exclusive tour of the architect’s unique home in Box Hill, New York
Treasures of New York profiles Stanford White, one of the most prominent American architects during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Treasures of New York: Stanford White explores the life and career of the man who, during the “Gilded Age,” designed iconic New York buildings including, Madison Square Garden and Washington Square Park, and whose affair with showgirl Evelyn Nesbit led to his murder.
More than a century after his death, many remember Stanford White for the story of his murder, rather than for the many accomplishments of his life. The stories behind the New York celebrity artist, architect, impresario and tastemaker are revealed in Treasures of New York: Stanford White premiering on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 10 p.m. on WLIW21 and Monday, January 6 at 10 p.m. on THIRTEEN.
After the initial WLIW21 broadcast, the full episode will be available for online streaming at thirteen.org/treasures-of-ny. The website offers past episodes and conversations with visionaries behind New York’s greatest institutions.
Hosted by Dick Cavett, and told through archival images and interviews with those familiar with White and his work, the film brings to light the prolific career of the man who did his best to make New York City as beautiful as any European capital. Treasures of New York: Stamford White features interviews with Samuel G. White, architect and Great Grandson of Stanford White; Elizabeth White, writer and editor; Jon Krawchuk, director of historic preservation for the City of New York Parks & Recreation; Mosette Broderick, director of Urban Design and Architecture Studies, New York University; Donald Albrecht, curator of architecture and design, Museum of the City of New York; and Robert A. M. Stern, partner, Robert A.M. Stern Architects LLP.
The son of journalist and Shakespeare scholar Richard Grant, Stanford White was born in 1853. Though the family had no great wealth, he did have his father’s connection in the art world. Unable to afford formal training, White began showing his watercolors and sketches around New York, and at the age of 16, he landed an apprenticeship with Henry Hobson Richardson, an up and coming architect who had all the formal training that White did not. During his apprenticeship, White traveled to Europe where he spent 1878 sketching, painting and developing an interest in decorating. Back in the United States, the economy was booming, with newly wealthy New Yorkers looking for lavish European style homes.
In 1879, White returned to New York and sought out his friend Charles McKim, now in partnership with architect William Rutherford Mead. McKim and Mead had great strengths as architects, but their decorative skills were lacking, and they realized it. McKim and Mead needed somebody who could sketch well and who also had a flair for interiors. The three men started the architectural firm McKim Mead and White. At the turn of the century, there were plenty of clients. McKim Meade and White created private homes, clubhouses, churches, public buildings and monuments all over the country. But it was in New York society, that the firm, and especially Stanford White, hit their stride.
White had a mission to make New York City as beautiful as any European Capital. In Madison Square Garden, he created a rooftop garden for New York, much like those that were popular in Europe. The Gould Memorial Library was a jewel for the uptown campus of New York University.
White’s talent for repurposing and using unexpected materials is on display as Stanford White’s great grandson gives viewers an exclusive tour of his country home in Box Hill, New York.
White was a creative genius whose work moved toward more restraint as he got older, which is displayed in his last piece of work, Martyr’s Monument in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene Park. Before the project was completed, White was murdered. Model and chorus girl Evelyn Nesbit had an affair with White. After the affair ended, Nesbit married Harry K, Thaw, a Pittsburgh millionaire with a history of mental instability. When Thaw learned of his wife’s past affair, we became obsessed with Stanford White. Thaw stalked White for months until June 25, 1906 when he followed White on to the rooftop of Madison Square Garden and shot him. McKim Mead and White left behind a legacy. They worked to make New York City a world-class city.
Mary Lockhart is executive producer, writer and director of the Treasures of New York: Stanford White program.Diane Masciale is executive producer of the Treasures of New York series and Executive-in-Charge of local programming.
Treasures of New York explores New York’s cultural heritage by spotlighting its points of interest, distinguished establishments and notable figures. Treasures of New York: Stanford White is made possible by the Meringoff Family Foundation, Paul W. Zuccaire Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and Kenneth Jay Lane.
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