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Your Ultimate NYC Pop Culture Walking Tour
Posted Mon, June 17, 2019

A photo of the a bridge in New York City

Millions — try 65.2 million visitors, according to 2018 tourism figures — flock to New York City each year. And when it comes to discovering this tourist destination, the options are endless — food, architecture, art, theater, to name a few. This sprawling city covers more than 302.6 square miles, but let’s make one thing clear: New York is a walking city. Sure, the transit system, including buses and subways, is robust, but a true appreciation for the city comes from strolling on foot.

When moving around New York City, the natural reaction is to look up. Why? Because of the massive skyscrapers towering overhead. But, there’s much more to this famed city than mile-high steel giants. Tours are ideal for exploring, and self-guided walking tours are even better. The good news is your wallet stays in your pocket for these tours.

Read on as we navigate a self-guided, architecture-centered pop culture walking tour of some of the city’s best offerings, with the focus on architecture around Manhattan, one of the city’s five boroughs. And we’ll avoid the typical tourist destinations like the Empire State Building, Ellis Island or the Statue of Liberty. This is a mix of the best architecture, exploring both architectural history and design, centered around music, theater and other notable historic buildings.

Can’t-Miss Famous NYC Music Venues (Broadway) — 2.7 miles

An iconic piece of New York City is a good place to begin. Madison Square Garden, a multi-purpose venue located on West 33rd Street and Eighth Avenue, is home to sporting events — and teams like the NBA’s New York Knicks and the NHL’s New York Rangers — but its claim to fame is the music scene. From Madonna to Bruce Springsteen, Madison Square Garden hosts the most noteworthy events in the city.

When you’re done marveling at the size — MSG’s massive structure spans half of a city block — head a half-mile north to the Town Hall, a cozy music venue that is a National Historic Landmark. This is an appetizer before moving a half-mile up Sixth Avenue to another historic venue, Radio City Music Hall. This art deco style structure is known for its neon bright exterior lights. A more intimate venue compared to MSG, the 6,000-seat center has hosted a laundry list of performers like Pink Floyd and Britney Spears.

A photo of Carnegie Hall in New York City

A 10-minute stroll northwest leads you to Carnegie Hall, an international standard for music since the late 1880s. The hall is unique with an exterior constructed from masonry. From there, walk past Central Park to West 62nd Street, where you’ll find the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and David Geffin Hall. The Lincoln Center hosts a mix of performances like the New York City Opera. David Geffin Hall is the home of the New York Philharmonic.

Finally, take one more half-mile walk to the Beacon Theatre, an art deco style venue restored in 2009. If you want to extend your trip by an additional mile, feel free to start in Lower Manhattan at Irving Plaza and Webster Hall. Webster Hall may be unassuming from the exterior, but its interior is notable for terra-cotta architecture.

Relishing in Famous NYC Theater Venues (Midtown Manhattan/Upper West Side) — .8 miles

Consider this a short but engaging tour as these venues all fall within a half-mile of one another. Start at Shubert Alley, often noted as the geographical center of Broadway theater. This narrow walkway between West 44th Street and West 45th Street is popular before and after showtimes, when theater-goers spill out into the streets. While you’re there, check out the Booth Theatre and Shubert Theatre. They share a Venetian Renaissance-style facade.

From there, head south on Seventh Avenue to West 43rd Street to the Paramount Building, a 33-story office building once home to the 3,664-seat Paramount Theatre. Travel back north a couple blocks to West 45th Street to the Lyceum Theater, Broadway’s oldest continually operating theater. This petite venue (922 seats) is designed in the Beaux Arts style of architecture. Continue on west to 46th Street to the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. This 1,505-seat venue was a trend-setter, as it previously boasted a retractable roof for performances during the summer months. After a full gut, the theater debuted a redesign in the 1950s.

Buildings on Broadway in New York City

If you head west back to Seventh Avenue, you’ll pass the George M. Cohan Statue, a sculpture consisting of a granite pedestal and granite base. Cohan was a famous entertainer known for his musical comedy. He is often referred to as “The man who created Broadway.”

Next, continue north through Times Square to West 47th Street and West 48th Street, where you’ll encounter the Barrymore Theatre and the Longacre Theatre. The Barrymore, named after actress Ethel Barrymore, features an exterior modeled after public baths in Rome, with a two-story terra-cotta grillwork screen. The Longacre catches your eye with a French Neo-classical-style exterior.

A Stroll Back in Time With Notable Historic NYC Architecture (Lower Manhattan) — 3.7 miles

Lower Manhattan is known for Wall Street, the Financial District, Battery Park and the site of 9/11. Let’s revel in history, though, with some of the oldest buildings in the city. Start at Trinity Church on lower Broadway. This Episcopal Parish church has been a notable part of the city for more than 300 years, navigating through several rebuilds and construction efforts. Once you marvel in the Neo-Gothic architecture, move a block over to Federal Hall National Memorial, often referred to as the birthplace of American Government — George Washington took the oath of office as the first president here. The first structure, built in 1703, lasted until 1812 to make way for the current Greek Revival build.

A seven-minute stroll north takes you to St. Paul’s Chapel, the Georgian-style building that is the oldest surviving church in the city. The Woolworth Building lies ahead a block north. This skyscraper held the title of tallest building in the world from 1913 to 1930. It now is comprised mostly of residences and office space.

A photo of New York City Hall

Across the way to the east is City Hall Park, where you’ll find New York City Hall. Built in 1812, the building features French Renaissance Revival on the exterior and Georgian Revival on the interior. A 1.5-mile walk through Chinatown leads you to the next stop, the Tenement Museum. This Lower East Side site, converted from apartments to a museum, earned a National Historic Landmark designation.

If your Fitbit/Apple Watch is feeling lonely, finish with a two-mile hike to the Flatiron District where you can’t miss the Flatiron Building. Located on East 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue, this structure is one of the more iconic skyscrapers in the city and features Renaissance Revival architecture.

Has this architecture/history lesson inspired you? Contact us at 631-482-9449 or to see how you can add some architectural style elements to your home or office. If you’re ready to get started on a project, download our product catalog or request a quote for more information. For over a century, we have focused on experience, quality and service to help you find the perfect solutions for your projects. Whether you need a linear bar grille, perforated metal grille or custom metal product, our team is ready to help.

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Metalwork in the 1920s – What’s Changed
Posted Wed, December 19, 2018

Two art deco metal doors with text above:

Throughout the years, advancements in technology have changed the ways metal is created, cut and designed. Today, many products can be manufactured through computer designs and machine implementation – but this wasn’t always the case. The 1920s was a period of change for America and Western Europe with the birth of new technology, a rebellious spirit and avant-garde practices. The impact of the 1920s on metal crafting was instrumental in the creation of today’s practices.

Coco Architectural has been in the metal fabrication industry for almost a century and has adjusted to the various advancements along the way. Between 1909 and 1930, our business made many developments in machinery, techniques and the products we fabricated.

Coco Brothers Inc. was established in 1909 with a focus on brass and bronze ornamental metal products. Rosario, Joseph and Jacob Coco developed their metal fabrication skillsets, growing the business with the launch of new products in 1927. These products included votive candelabras, communion rails and sanctuary ramps for churches nationwide. The launch of the Coco Brass Shower Door saw immense success as it was adopted by exclusive residences and all upscale New York City hotels throughout the end of the 1920s and the entirety of the 1930s. Our growth and developments in product design continuously correlate with the metal trends of the time.  

1920s metal trends

The Art Deco style permeated the 1920s with its pastiche of styles, materials, shapes and influences. Focused on forward momentum and modern progress, Art Deco pulled from the “ahead of its time” traditions of the avant-garde movement and geometric shapes to create modern designs. After it was introduced to the United States in the 1922 Chicago Tribune Tower design, it became one of the most commonly used styles in American architecture in the 1920s.

Simplicity was introduced to architectural designs through the rising of the Modernist trend of the 1920s. Beginning in Europe and slowly moving to the United States, the goal of modernist architecture was to create harmony between form and function without excessive embellishments.

Metal trends followed these major architectural movements through their incorporation into the exterior, interior and functional elements of construction. Buildings, such as skyscrapers, began to pair stainless steel and aluminum with Art Deco geometry in their exterior designs to enhance prestige and draw attention skyward.

Developments in metalworking in the 1920s

The American Welding Society was formed in 1919 by the Wartime Welding Committee to promote the advancement of welding and other allied processes. Electrode technology for welding and metal fabrication developed with the introduction of the coated electrode by the A.O. Smith Corporation. The coated electrode shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) process was further developed by the Lincoln Electric Company and became regularly used by the late 1920s.

The Lincoln Electric Company mass produced coated electrodes that improved the usability through an extrusion coating procedure to protect the electrodes from the atmosphere during the coating process.

Metalwork advancements since 1929

Automatic welding machines were developed and more widely used in the 1930s for projects such as steel construction and the fabrication of building floors. Innovation in welding grew alongside transportation advancements by welding submarines, automobiles and ships.

In 1965, the first laser for metal production was launched by Western Electric. In 1967, this idea was expanded upon by Peter Houldcroft, who created a laser-cutting nozzle with a CO2 laser beam and oxygen assist gas for industrial metal cutting. CO2 laser cutting systems did not become commercially available until 1975.

Today’s laser cutting equipment uses high power optics and micro-positioning systems, among other functional features. Here at Coco Architectural, we stay on top of the metal crafting trends by pairing our century-old knowledge and experience with top-of-the-line equipment and safety features. Whether you need a linear bar grille, perforated metal grille or custom metal product, our team is ready to help you find the perfect solution for your project. Download our product catalog or request a quote for more information.

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How a Custom Metal Grille Can Elevate Your Lobby
Posted Mon, November 19, 2018

How a Custom Metal Grille Can Elevate Your Lobby text over photo of metal grilles in the Beacon project

A lobby is an extension of your business. After all, it’s one of your first opportunities to make a good impression. Your lobby should look appealing and make your visitors feel welcome. Imagine walking into a lobby with expensive furniture, custom flooring and a beautiful front desk, but along the walls you notice a white store-bought grille covering the air return – sticking out like a sore thumb. Despite being small, something as simple as a metal grille can make or break a lobby’s aesthetic. Investing in a custom metal grille is the finishing touch to elevate your lobby and impress your clients.

How Coco does custom grilles

Custom metal products are one of our specialties at Coco Architectural Grilles & Metalcraft. We have been perfecting the art of custom metal fabrication for more than a century. Our team combines time-proven metal crafting techniques with state-of-the-art technology in our all-inclusive metal fabrication facility to create high-quality products. We have the capability to create replicas for historic renovations as well as custom, modern designs. If you can dream it, we can fabricate it.

When you order a custom metal product from Coco Architectural, our team will work with you to design, draft and engineer it prior to beginning the fabrication process. This fully-dimensioned shop drawing will display all features for your review and approval. Upon approval, your product will be manufactured via saw cutting, notching, shearing, bending, perforating, welding, laser or waterjet cutting and final finishing.

We offer custom metal grilles in a variety of metals including aluminum, brass, bronze, stainless steel and steel. Finishing options include satin/brushed, mirror polished, anodized colors, duranodic, baked enamel colors, blackened, statuary/antiqued and oil rubbed.

Our team has created many perforated, linear and custom grilles for various lobby projects. Here are two of our favorites.

80 8th Ave, NYC

We created an assortment of custom metal products for a 2017 project located at 80 8th Avenue in New York City. Our team was tasked with creating custom products to enhance the building’s grand entrance including a custom ornamental bronze grille over the entrance, a custom bronze header and jamb assembly for the newsstand and a custom bronze radiator enclosure with bar grilles in the lobby.

custom bronze radiator at 80 8th Avenue project in New York City

The custom bronze radiator enclosure was designed with a satin finish and custom linear bar grilles. This elevated the lobby by increasing the aesthetic impact from that of a cookie-cutter HVAC product while maintaining optimal functional performance. Even a simple radiator enclosure can add a touch of elegance to a business lobby.

Beacon in Jersey City, NJ

One of our favorite projects is the rehabilitation of The Beacon in Jersey City. Between 2007 and 2014, various teams worked to renovate the ten buildings on The Beacon property to their original state. We partnered with Anthony Guglielmo of Metal Man Restoration to restore the buildings’ architectural grilles.

custom metal grilles by elevators at The Beacon in Jersey City

We recreated the original grilles by the lobby elevators by tracing the patterns of the original fixtures that had begun deteriorating. Our team was able to use the drawings to recreate and reinstall the grilles, restoring the original flare to the space.

As you can see, we can create almost any metal fabrication project your lobby could need. This flexibility streamlines projects for our architects and contractors. Our clients know they will receive expert workmanship and an understanding of how each grille is intended to work in a design. If you already know what product you need, our team is ready to give you a quote and see what touches we can add to your project. For ideas and inspiration, download our catalog or contact our office.

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Historic Home in Greenwich Village - Haunts and Preservation
Posted Tue, October 10, 2017

Historic Home in Greenwich Village – Haunts and Preservation text overlaying close up of No. 14 W 10th Street

New York contains an assortment of historic buildings alongside sleek, modern structures. With the influx of new buildings, it is important to maintain the architectural integrity of older structures. From replacing interior metal grilles with new identical pieces to updating the exterior structure while maintaining the historic design, preserving historic homes is vital to protecting our state’s history.

New York is a large tourist hub but often, residents experience its charm and never leave. This was the case for many residents of No. 14 West 10th Street. This Greenwich Village property has been a regular stop on ghost tours for years, with tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of some of the famous specters inside. 

Classic Brick and Brownstone

Completed in 1855, this residence, with its brick and brownstone exterior, still looks very similar to its original design. According to the designation report for the Greenwich Village Historical District, written in 1969, No. 14 is “a very handsome Italianate house, of brick with elaborate brownstone window frames and quoins at the left side. It has, however, been altered to provide a small basement entrance between the two great parlor story windows.” In the 1960s, the residence also featured elaborate iron handrails and areaways that were modern for the time.

14 West 10th Street Greenwich Village

Photo provided by: By Beyond My Ken [GFDL or Creative Commons, via Wikimedia Commons]

Ghosts of No. 14 West 10th Street

This elegant property has been the host of 22 deaths and, according to many visitors, some spirits remain. Although 22 deaths over more than 160 years is not too dreadful, the property has been termed by many as “The House of Death.”

Mark Twain aka Samuel Clemens (1835-1910)

The most famous resident of No. 14 West 10th Street was Mark Twain, less commonly known as Samuel Clemens. Twain resided in this home for one year between 1900-1901. Although Twain died in Connecticut, his ghost has reportedly been seen throughout New York City. One guest of No. 14 claimed to have seen his ghost who said, “My name is Clemens, and I has a problem here I gotta settle.”

Jane Bryant Bartell recounts many hauntings from No. 14 in her memoir, Spindrift: Spray from a Psychic Sea, published in 1974. Jane and her husband, Fred, lived in a top-level apartment of No. 14. The supernatural occurrences began as harmless abnormalities–odd sounds and smells–but escalated with time. She reported her dog continually growling at a chair as if something dangerous was sitting on it, sounds of crashing glass, unavoidable odors, and a phantom man. Eventually, the couple hired a medium who discovered the spirits of an aborted baby and her mother, nineteen year-old Reenie Mallison, who claimed to have been born in 1848.

Preservation of Historic Properties in Greenwich Village

With time, buildings age and require restorative updates. It is important to preserve the historic charm of buildings like No. 14 West 10th Street. This structure has been a home to many since its origin, including its spectral residents.

The building has undergone several renovations throughout the years that have complied with preservation laws of their time. In 1937, it was converted from a large family home into 10 separate apartments. Even in 2017, No. 14 is undergoing an exterior facelift.

14 West 10th Street Greenwich Village Under Construction in 2017

[Photo, taken October 2, 2017, provided by Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation]

When remodeling a historic building, there are laws that must be followed. Andrew Berman, Executive Director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation says, “Much of Greenwich Village lies within various designated historic districts or is individually landmarked, which means that the building is regulated by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, a government agency. The regulation generally only applies to the outside of the building; however, with the inside only regulated in so far as ensuring that any changes do not impact the exterior look. Therefore, even for landmarked properties, people are free to make whatever changes they wish to the exterior. That said, we strongly encourage people to recognize the irreplaceable value of historic interior architectural detail, and to preserve and re-use it whenever practicable. We have seen some amazingly inventive renovations where early 19th century detail is retained but with very modern and contemporary update. And, of course, in some cases these two-hundred-year-old houses are quite well-preserved inside and out.”     

It's all in the details. The metalwork featured in historic homes provides a level of character that is unique to each property. Preserving the design is vital in keeping a home’s historic charm alive. Our expert CNC Waterjet and Laser Cutting Services allow for an unlimited array of possibilities for custom metalwork to match and replace your historic home’s existing designs.

Our product catalog showcases many of our designs to help you get started. Contact our office to discuss your custom metalwork and how we can help maintain your home’s historic character.

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The Business of Fabricated Metal Solutions
Posted Thu, July 20, 2017

Fabricated Metal Solutions

No project is the same and each brings its own opportunities for creativity and problem solving. During this commercial project, we had a typical request for expedited prototypes and production of 2,000 linear feet of decorative fascia grilles as well as a custom formulated powder coated color match. However, a unique architectural design posed a challenge we have never faced before. Read more about the project and see how we came up with a solution that matched the architect's aesthetic vision.  

Custom Fabricated Metal Solutions Case Study


This project showed our commitment to detail, quality of work and flexibility with our projects. If you're needing custom fabricated metal solutions for your project, contact us today or download our catalog

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Custom Ornamental Bronze Grilles
Posted Fri, July 7, 2017

Custom Ornamental Grilles

Coco Architectural offers custom fabrications for ornamental grilles and other products. In a recent project located at 80 8th Ave, in New York City, we created several custom pieces for the client, including a custom ornamental bronze grille over the entrance, a bronze header and jamb assembly for the Newsstand, and a custom bronze radiator enclosure with bronze bar grilles in the lobby.

Here at Coco Architectural, we offer upscale custom metal fabrications for a variety of different industries. In the 80 8th Ave project, our craftsmen created a custom ornamental bronze grille to protect the windows over the entrance of the business (shown above). The unique decorative twist on the custom bronze bars added a grand entrance feel to the business. 


Coco installation

Our specialized CNC Waterjet services allow us to offer unlimited possibilities for any metal work on custom orders. Waterjet cutting is often used during fabrication of machine parts but can also be used for custom-perforated metal sheets and other architectural metalwork. In this project, we created custom waterjet lettering for the newsstand area and cut the brake formed bronze header and jamb assembly to complete the look.


Finally, as all of our work is custom for each project, we provided a satin bronze radiator enclosure with custom linear bar grilles in the main lobby, rather than your basic cookie cutter HVAC products. The aesthetic impact on the space and functional performance of the grille is very important to us, so we leave no detail untouched to provide our clients with a flawless, functional piece.

If you’re interested in custom ornamental grilles for your project, we can help your ideas come to life. From choosing metals for your project to matching unique designs with our waterjet and laser technology, we can add unique details to your commercial business or home to make your space feel complete. Browse our product catalog to get started. We are more than happy to speak with you directly by calling us at 631.482.9949.

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