Park Avenue Armory Offers Unique Contemporary Art Programs

Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Rebecca Robertson, Founding President and Executive Producer of Park Avenue Armory, to talk about the contemporary art programs that inhabit both its uniquely intimate and unmatched large spaces.

4/24/18 #2128






"We are pleased to welcome Rebecca Robertson, who is the Founding President and Executive Producer Park Avenue Armory, which is? Located where? It's located between 66th and 67th on Park Avenue. So we're right at 66th and Broadway, you go right across the park? Yup. And then? And then there you are at this huge gorgeous armory. Make it come alive for us. We're gonna show some pictures. Okay. What is it? So what the armory is... and there's a picture of it there right now, it's 250,000 square feet, it's a full block. Right. And it was built by the kind of rich guys who ran the economy of New York in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Right. And it was built as... they were part of the National Guard, but the National Guard was a volunteer unit. 1880...? 18... sorry. 1860s. Right. Got it. Yeah. ...70s. And so basically they paid for this armory privately. They raised money for it. So it was the Astors and the Vanderbilts and the Schuylers, and all those... Rhinelanders, all those New York families. But they wanted to have an armory that was really beautiful. So they paid for it themselves. It's the only privately built armory in the country. Describe what is inside of it. So it has 18 unbelievably beautiful period rooms, including the only... Period rooms? Period, meaning some historic rooms. They are by the great designers of the 19th century, including Louis Comfort Tiffany, Stanford White, the Herter Brothers, it's those important designers. Unbelievable. Yeah. Beautiful, no? Look at that shot. It was really built as a social club, I will say. I do believe! But then... Like they hung out there? Pardon me? I mean didn't they... some folks hung out, as a social...? Oh! Oh, absolutely! Not like a social club down on Mulberry Street when I was a kid. [laughter] Not like that kind! Well it was, actually! Yeah but not for those...? Just better food. Not for th...? You know, what I can tell you? [laughter] People from Naples, from where my family's from? No. These are... This is a different crowd? Yeah. Many of them actually originally from Holland I think. And I know... From Holland? Well you know those families. Got it. Like the Schuylers. Got it. Yeah. Got it? Anyway, but they... but they had incredible taste, so they hired these amazing designers who were building their cottages in Newport and their mansions on Fifth Avenue to do the interiors of this building. Right. So the Landmarks Commission called it the most important intact set of historic interiors in the country. In the country? In the country. So that's one part of it. And then behind those beautiful..."