Every month architects and industry insiders share their recommendations for the best exhibitions and events to visit in New York.
February might be the most loathed of the winter months: Grey snow and hearts harden, Aquarians are at their most extra (guilty!), and the short 28 days paradoxically seem to last forever. And yet the architecture calendar beats on.
I recently bid adieu to the 212 and washed ashore at Brooklyn Historical Society just in time for the launch of an epic exhibition about the borough’s coastline, Waterfront, at the institution’s new second location in DUMBO’s Empire Stores. The exhibition portrays the waterfront as a microcosm for elements of society that resonate today: from water filtration by oysters in colonial-era Jamaica Bay and gender wage disparity in the wartime Brooklyn Navy Yard, to the previously untold history of local slave auctions and the effects of rising seas.
With my mind on the environment, I’ll be taking a seat at a Feb. 20 talk at the Skyscraper Museum featuring Steven Cohen, executive director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute. He’ll discuss his new book, The Sustainable City, advocating for taking green design beyond the studio and into public policy.
If you need extra motivation to museum hop this month, mark down the impending closing dates of Never Built New York at the Queens Museum (Feb. 18) and Sonic Arcade: Shaping Space Around the World at Museum of Arts and Design (Feb. 25). And speaking of fond farewells, the Architectural League’s Housing Brass Tacks discussion series aimed at demystifying housing policy wraps on Feb. 12, probing architects’ agency in actualizing affordable housing.
This month won’t be the first February I’ve braved the cold to absorb the wisdom of Brooklyn historian-enchantress Suzanne Spellman, who leads a Municipal Art Society tour of Black History in Downtown Brooklyn on Feb. 17 with Morgan Munsey—I envision a live-action complement to the In Pursuit of Freedom: Brooklyn Abolitionists exhibition on view at BHS. Bundle up!