November 2009 marks the 100th anniversary of the Grand Boulevard and Concourse, the Bronxs crown jewel of urban planning, which stretches over four miles from 138th Street to the Mosholu Parkway. This famous roadway represents Art Deco and Art Moderne architecture at its grandest, including a cornucopia of apartment complexes, the Concourse Plaza Hotel, the Loews Paradise Theater, the Bronx County Courthouse, and, of course, Yankee Stadium. Modeled on the Champs-lyses in Paris and described in the 1939 WPA Guide to New York as the Park Avenue of the middle-class, it offered residents amenities not seen before in the city, such as private bathrooms and central heating.
Intersections: The Grand Concourse at 100 examines the rich history of the Bronxs most famous thoroughfare through a fascinating collection of pieceswritten by top-rate historians and contemporary museum curators, and accompanied by two original texts by Alsatian-born engineer Louis Risse, who designed and oversaw the construction of the Grand Concourseon the context that informed its planning and construction, along with a vast and lush collection of photographs that bring this intoxicating period back to life. The book will also feature six art projects especially commissioned for the occasion: a series of large-scale color photographs by Jeff Liao; a time line by Skowmon Hastanan; The Tree Museum, a project by Katie Holten on the green spaces along the Concourse; a documentary film by Pablo Helguera on three buildings along the Concourse, namely, Poes cottage, the Paradise Theater, and the Freedman Home; a project by Kabir Carter about capturing sounds from different areas along the Concourse; and a special lobby installation by Acconci Studio.
Traveling the Concourse today offers a lesson in architecture, history, and sociology as you see the faces and places that call it home. It is truly New York, but more important, authentically the Bronx. You cant experience the Bronx until you travel the Grand Boulevard and Concourse, and Intersections: The Grand Concourse at 100 gives you this opportunity.