Delivered at the New York Historical Society on April 12th, 2016.

An introduction to Right Bank Paris where 17th century planning created a truly beautiful city and 19th century planning created a truly modern one. The belief that a great city is a livable city remains. Paris is known as the City of Light- and it is. But more to the point, it is the City of Life----and that's why we all want to be there.

Produced by Adrian Sas, video producer.

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The Avant/Garde Diaries

The Jefferson Market Courthouse

Barry Lewis fell in love with architecture in 1960s France. Admittedly, one would be hard pressed not fall in love with the architecture of that famed city, in any decade or century. But when he returned to New York, Lewis found a similarly rich – if less celebrated – history in that city’s Greenwich Village neighborhood. For The Avant/Garde Diaries, Lewis takes us on a jaunty tour of the famed Jefferson Market Courthouse, a striking building known for exposing its structure of unadorned bright red brick. “Back in the 1870s,” he says, “that was a shocker. It laid down the principle of today’s design: treat your materials with respect.”

Produced by Kitty Bolhoefer / Filmed by Fridolin Schoepper / Editing by Konterfei / Music by Carlos Bruck

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Metropolis Magazine

Sep 27, 2012. Q&A by Susan S. Szenasy, From her blog: Point of View. Five questions Susan asked me about New York...and my answers.

Five questions ranging from history back when, urban design in New York today, places to visit and things to note for first time visitors and long-time residents, the "new" look of the city's urban spaces---and where you can be left alone.

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Barry Lewis is available for lectures, conferences, seminars and other types of speaking engagements.

1 The City Transformed, Part 2, Spring 2018/ New York from the 1890s to Today
Cooper Union
06:30 PM

Wednesdays, March 21st to May 9th 2018, 6:30 pm-8:00 pm at Cooper Union; 8 Lectures.

Curriculum and registration for Spring 2018 lecture series is available at the Cooper Union Continuing Ed website (click here). For registration, go to the bottom of the page.

Registration for the Spring 2018 classes begins January 03, 2018 and ends Mar 15th (5 days before class begins). After March 15th, Cooper Union will charge a $15 late fee.

The Cooper Union switchboard, 1-212-353-4195, is open Mon-Fri 10:30am-5:30pm.

Because of limited classroom space, there are no individual lecture admissions.

New York became de facto a world capital when America jumped up to world power status c 1900. Only the city didn’t look it. In the century that followed the city would re-build itself—constantly—creating the distinctive and ever changing skyline that identifies it today. The Beaux-Arts, Art Deco, Art Moderne, mid-century Modern, post-Modernism and today’s #Modernism have re-shaped the city faster than the software and digital devices that run our current lives. We are going to look at each era, especially the long-neglected first half of the 20th century, and see how New York gave itself an only-in-New York skyline symbolizing a city that was open to all.

For a detailed course curriculum on this website, click here


2 Bohemian Greenwich Village 1910-50: the Women
New-York Historical Society
06:30 PM

From the ‘beginning’ women were present—and active—in New York’s bohemian scene going back to the 1850s when Walt Whitman and Adah Issacs Mencken carried on at Phaff’s under lower Broadway. The first Bohemian neighborhood was Greenwich Village in the 1910s and 20s: Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and her brilliant associate Juliana Force set up an artists’ hang-out and impromptu gallery on 8th Street that became the Whitney Museum; everyone from Edna St. Vincent Millay to Bolshevist Emma Goldman made “the Village (itself, a made-up name)” in the 1910s a pioneer in modern lifestyle and a place that gave a berth to women who wanted to make a difference. We will look at both the men and women of this innovative generation when New York’s Greenwich Village became America’s first bohemia.

3 Paris
New-York Historical Society
06:30 PM

Paris taught the world how to make a city “livable”.  In the 17th century Parisians created the “boulevard” for strolling, and the harmonious “Place des Voges” for living.  By the 19th century, along with Napoleon III’s controversial re-building plans, and the city’s exponential growth due to industrialization, the French also harnessed the new technology of iron and glass construction to create great libraries, grand railroad stations, an iconic tower—the Eiffel—and exposition buildings—the Grand & Petit Palais—that brought both style and function to the new scale of the modern world.  Paris is not only justly famous as the “City of Light”; it’s equally célébré as the “City of Life”