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Guide to the
Clarke & Rapuano Landscape Architecture Collection
1935–2002 (bulk, 1935–1975)
 PR-080

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Julie Viggiano, Kate Fais, and Jenny Gotwals (2006); migrated to ArchivesSpace by Joseph Ditta (2020)

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 24, 2020
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Clarke & Rapuano
Title: Clarke & Rapuano landscape architecture collection
Dates [inclusive]: 1935–2002 (bulk, 1935–1975)
Abstract: Collection of black and white photographs and photonegatives taken by the urban redevelopment firm of Clarke & Rapuano, representing many of their projects in New York City, with the earliest images dating to the 1930s. Includes cityscapes, aerial views, and photographs of architectural models and designs. Projects include the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company's housing developments at Stuyvesant Town, Peter Cooper Village, and Parkchester. Numerous ground and aerial views show the Brooklyn Heights Esplanade over the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Other projects represented include buildings for the New York World's Fair in 1939 and 1964, restoration of Bryant Park, Central Park Zoo and Conservatory, JFK International Airport, Queens Zoo, the Van Wyck Expressway, Henry Hudson Parkway, Major Deegan Expressway, and Washington Square in Greenwich Village. Additional materials include printed material documenting several urban redevelopment projects carried out by the firm, and reports for projects on which Clarke or Rapuano were consulted by city agencies.
Quantity: 3.29 Linear feet in 6 boxes.
Language: The documents in the collection are in English.
Call Phrase: PR-080

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Biographical / Historical

Gilmore D. Clarke (1892–1982) and Michael Rapuano (1904–1975) began a professional partnership in Engineering and Landscape Architecture in 1934. Both men were trained at Cornell, and Clarke was later a professor of architecture there, as well as Dean of Cornell's College of Architecture. Their first collaboration was on the design of the Henry Hudson Parkway, and the success of that project encouraged the two to become one of the first multi-discipline firms in the country, with a staff of landscape architects, architects, engineers, and planners. From 1944 to 1954 the practice included Leslie G. Holleran as a principal and named partner.

The firm of Clarke & Rapuano seems to have its hand in most of the major building projects in New York City between 1935 and 1965. Clarke served on the Board of Directors for the 1939–1940 World's Fair, and was a consultant to the Board for the subsequent 1964–1965 Fair. Many private exhibits at the 1939 Fair used Clarke & Rapuano as their landscape architects. Both Clarke & Rapuano were on the Board of Design for Metropolitan Life's four major housing projects: Stuyvesant Town, Peter Cooper Village, Riverton and Parkchester. The firm was appointed to be the landscape architects as well as site-engineers for all four projects. The firm also prepared plans for the development of the grounds of the United Nations; Clarke was on the board of Consulting Architects-Engineers for that project.

While Gilmore Clarke seemed to specialize in planning and design, Michael Rapuano often focused on roadways and their implementation and inclusion in the existing landscape. He served on several local and national committees to study the freeway systems that were becoming more important in the 1940s and 1950s. Clarke & Rapuano worked on several of Robert Moses' major projects: The Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx, the Van Wyck Expressway in Queens, and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, including the design of the Brooklyn Heights Esplanade, built over part of that highway.

In 1975 the founding partners both retired, and the firm was bought by the remaining principals, and continued to do the same kind of planning and landscape design work until 1998.

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Scope and Contents

The Clarke & Rapuano Landscape Architecture Collection spans the period from 1935 to 2002 and primarily contains photographs relating to urban redevelopment projects carried out, mainly in New York City, by the firm between 1939 and 1970. The collection includes photographs, negatives, and printed and published materials documenting the New York World's Fairs (both 1939–1940 and 1964–1965), restoration of public parks, John F. Kennedy (formerly Idlewild) International Airport, public housing projects as well as those built by Metropolitan Life, planning and construction of several major highways in the region, and a few mid-century modern skyscrapers.

This collection does not include any architectural drawings, plans, or models. A few photographs show plans or renderings for projects, but most images show the final result of projects. Domenico Annese, donor of the collection, joined the firm of Clarke & Rapuano in 1956, became its Executive Vice President in 1975, and continued to work as a consultant after his retirement in 1991. In the process of gathering his files and organizing them for donation, he made notations on prints and negative sleeves that are helpful in the identification of many projects.

The collection is divided in two series: Series I. Project File Photographs, and Series II. Print Matter.

 Series I. Project File Photographs includes photographic material documenting many of the firm's projects. While the firm was involved in projects throughout the eastern United States, the vast majority of the projects represented here were in New York City. Most of the public works projects included in the collection were commissioned by the New York City Department of Parks, the New York City Planning Commission, the New York City Airport Authority, and the New York State Department of Public Works, among other government commissions and bodies.

Series I encompasses two basic formats: photographic prints (including snapshots, aerial views, contract photos, and contact sheets) and negatives (safety acetate film versions of most of the prints). The prints generally show projects in a state of completion, but some project files include photographs of renderings or presentation drawings. These have been noted in the container list when they are present. Aerial photographs in the collection were taken by McLaughlin Aerial Surveys, Aero Services, Thomas Airviews, and Skyviews. Most photographs from the 1930s through 1950s were taken by John Gass. Other photographers represented in the collection are David Plowden, Gottscho-Schleisner, and members of the Clarke & Rapuano firm. Some projects are represented solely by negatives, such as many of the New York City housing projects, as well as some New York City park projects. The negatives of the Astoria Park are primarily focused on the large pool in that park.


 Series II. Print Matter includes company promotional materials and various printed reports for projects on which the firm or the principals were involved. Materials about the firm include several company histories prepared by Domenico Annese, Photographs of Clarke & Rapuano, from circa 1968, a detailed listing of the firm's projects from the late 1950s, and material from a 1970 exhibit for the American Society of Landscape Architects. Printed reports involve the following projects: John F. Kennedy (formerly Idlewild) International Airport, New York World's Fair 1964–1965, and several reports on traffic congestion and freeways in urban areas. Each report is entered individually in the container list.

Arrangement

The collection is organized in two series:

Series I.
 Project File Photographs, 1935–1986, undated
Series II.
 Print Matter, 1940–2002

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Clarke, Gilmore D., 1892-1982
  • Rapuano, Michael

Document Type

  • Aerial photographs
  • Architectural drawings (visual works).
  • negatives (photographs).
  • Photographic prints.
  • Presentation drawings (proposals)

Subject Organizations

  • American Society of Landscape Architects. New York Chapter
  • Clarke & Rapuano
  • Clarke, Rapuano & Holleran
  • Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
  • New York (N.Y.). Department of Parks
  • New York World's Fair (1939-1940 : New York, N.Y.) [111] -- Photographs.
  • New York World's Fair (1964-1965 : New York, N.Y.) [111] -- Photographs.

Subject Topics

  • City planners.
  • City planning -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Landscape architects.
  • Parks -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Urban landscape architecture -- Designs and plans.
  • Urban landscape architecture -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Urban renewal -- New York (State) -- New York.

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn Heights (New York, N.Y.)
  • Henry Hudson Parkway (New York, N.Y.)
  • Parkchester (New York, N.Y.)
  • Pelham Bay Park (New York, N.Y.)

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, contact the Print Room Librarian at printroom@nyhistory.org.

Use Restrictions

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to 20 exposures of stable, unbound material per day. Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to: Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194, rightsandrepro@nyhistory.org. Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282.

Copyrights and other proprietary rights may subsist in individuals and entities other than the New-York Historical Society, in which case the patron is responsible for securing permission from those parties. For fuller information about rights and reproductions from N-YHS visit: https://www.nyhistory.org/about/rights-reproductions

Preferred Citation

The collection should be cited as: Clarke and Rapuano Landscape Architecture Collection, PR-080, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, New-York Historical Society.

Related Materials

Other aerial photographs of large housing projects can be found in the Thomas Airviews Collection (PR 106). Other material on the New York World's Fairs can be found throughout the Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, particularly in the Album File (PR 002) and in the Geographic Images Collection (PR 020).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Domenico Annese, 1999, 2002.

Processing Information

Julie Viggiano, Kate Fais, and Jenny Gotwals processed this collection in August 2006. Joseph Ditta migrated their WORD-document finding aid to ArchivesSpace in June 2020.

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Container List

Series I. Project File Photographs, 1935–1986, undated

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 24 Astoria Park [negatives]
1937–1939
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Battery Park [prints]
1940–1957
Box: 1 Folder : 25 Battery Park [negatives]
circa 1939, 1940
Box: 1 Folder : 26 Belmont Park Race Track [negatives]
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 2-3 Brooklyn Heights Esplanade and Brooklyn Queens Expressway [prints]

Scope and Contents

Includes photos of drawings of Esplanade railings.

1957–1967
Box: 1 Folder : 27 Brooklyn Heights Esplanade and Brooklyn Queens Expressway [negatives]
1967, undated
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Bryant Park [prints]
1938
Box: 1 Folder : 28 Bryant Park [negatives]
1938
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Bucks County Bridge Design [prints]

Scope and Contents

Photos of presentation drawings.

undated
Box: 2 Folder : 29 Cadman Plaza, Civic Center, Brooklyn [negatives]
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Central Park. Conservatory Gardens [prints]
1937–1939, 1986
Box: 2 Folder : 30–31 Central Park. Conservatory Gardens [negatives]

Scope and Contents

Includes slides.

1937–1939, 1986
Box: 2 Folder : 32 Central Park. Simon Bolivar Monument [negatives]
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 33 Central Park. Zoo (at the Arsenal) [negatives]
1939
Box: 5 Folder : 73–74 Central Park. Plan for Development of the Lower Reservoir Site, Central Park

Scope and Contents

Print and negatives of presentation drawing, titled above.

1930
Box: 2 Folder : 34 Claremont Park, Bronx [negatives]

Scope and Contents

Includes slide.

1981
Box: 2 Folder : 35 Cypress Hills Houses [negatives]
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Eastchester Houses [prints]
circa 1962
Box: 2 Folder : 36 Eastchester Houses [negatives]
circa 1962
Box: 2 Folder : 37 Fort Tryon Park [negatives]
1936–1938
Box: 2 Folder : 38 Harlem River Houses [negatives]
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Henry Hudson Parkway [prints]
1947–1973
Box: 2 Folder : 39 Henry Hudson Parkway [negatives]
1935, circa 1947
Box: 1 Folder : 9 John F. Kennedy International Airport [prints]
1977
Box: 2 Folder : 40 John F. Kennedy International Airport [negatives]
circa 1960
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Lever House [prints]
circa 1960
Box: 2 Folder : 41 Lever House [negatives]
circa 1960
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Major Deegan Expressway, Bronx [prints]

Scope and Contents

Includes photos of presentation drawings.

1952–1957
Box: 2 Folder : 42 Major Deegan Expressway, Bronx [negatives]
1952–1967
Box: 4 Major Deegan Expressway, Bronx [lantern slides (12)]
[undated?]
Box: 1 Folder : 12 New York World's Fair (1939–1940). Ford Motor Company Pavilion [prints]
1939
Box: 2 Folder : 43 New York World's Fair (1939–1940). Ford Motor Company Pavilion [negatives]
1939
Box: 2 Folder : 44 New York World's Fair (1939–1940). R.C.A. Pavilion [negatives]
1939
Box: 1 Folder : 13 New York World's Fair (1939–1940). Temple of Religion [prints]
1939
Box: 2 Folder : 45 New York World's Fair (1939–1940). Temple of Religion [negatives]
1939
Box: 1 Folder : 14 New York World's Fair (1939–1940). Trylon / Perisphere [prints]
1939
Box: 2 Folder : 46 New York World's Fair (1939–1940). Trylon / Perisphere [negatives]
1939
Box: 1 Folder : 15 New York World's Fair (1939–1940). General views [prints]
1939
Box: 1 Folder : 16 New York World's Fair (1964–1965) [prints]

Scope and Contents

Includes photo of rendering of Unisphere.

1964
Box: 2 Folder : 47 New York World's Fair (1964–1965) [negatives]
1964
Box: 1 Folder : 17 Orchard Beach, Pelham Bay Park [prints]
circa 1936
Box: 2 Folder : 48 Orchard Beach, Pelham Bay Park [negatives]
1936
Box: 1 Folder : 18 Parkchester Houses [prints]
1941, circa 1952
Box: 2 Folder : 49 Parkchester Houses [negatives]
circa 1940
Box: 1 Folder : 19 Pelham Parkway Houses [prints]
circa 1962
Box: 2 Folder : 50 Pelham Parkway Houses [negatives]
circa 1962
Box: 2 Folder : 51 Peter Cooper Village [negatives]
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 52 Playland, Rye Beach [negatives]
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 53 Polo Grounds Houses [negatives]
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 54 Queens Zoo, Flushing Meadows Park [negatives]
1971
Box: 1 Folder : 20 Rockefeller Center, Roof Gardens [prints]
circa 1960
Box: 3 Folder : 55 Rockefeller Center, Roof Gardens [negatives]
circa 1960
Box: 3 Folder : 56 Samuel J. Tilden Houses [negatives]
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 57 Sara Delano Roosevelt Playground [negatives]
1937–1939
Box: 1 Folder : 21 Seagram Building [prints]
circa 1960
Box: 1 Folder : 22 Stuyvesant Town [prints]
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 58 Stuyvesant Town [negatives]
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 23 Todt Hill Houses [prints]
circa 1962
Box: 3 Folder : 59 Todt Hill Houses [negatives]
1962, undated
Box: 3 Folder : 60 United Nations [negatives]
circa 1971
Box: 3 Folder : 61 Van Wyck Expressway [negatives]
circa 1948–1949
Box: 3 Folder : 62 Washington D.C., East Capitol Street [negatives]
undated
Box: 5 Folder : 75 Washington D.C., East Capitol Street [oversize / separated]
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 63 Washington Square Park [negatives]
circa 1960
Box: 3 Folder : 64 Westway State Park [negatives]
1985

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Series II. Print Matter, 1940–2002

Promotional Material, circa 1957–2000

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 65 Clarke & Rapuano promotional brochures and books
1972–[1988]
Box: 3 Folder : 66 Clarke & Rapuano company histories
circa 1957–2000
Box: 3 Folder : 67 Photographs of Gilmore Clarke and Michael Rapuano
circa 1968
Box: 3 Folder : 68–69 Exhibition Materials, Regional Landscape Architect Meeting, Laconia, N.H.
1970–1971

Reports and Publications, 1940–2002

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 5 Folder : 76 Architecture & Design, vol. IV, no. 12

Scope and Contents

Issue devoted to the work of Gilmore D. Clarke.

1940 July
Box: 5 Folder : 77 Clarke & Rapuano, Andrews & Clarke, Richard C. Guthridge. Preparation of the Site for the World's Fair (New York: Clarke & Rapuano) [2 copies]
1960
Box: 5 Folder : 77 Clarke & Rapuano, Andrews & Clarke, Richard C. Guthridge. Preparation of the Site for the World's Fair: Supplementary Report (New York: Clarke & Rapuano)
1960
Box: 3 Folder : 70 Clarke & Rapuano, Inc. Grade Separations

Scope and Contents

Disbound report; prepared by Domenico Annese.

2002
Box: 5 Folder : 78 Downer, Green and Carillo; Clarke, Rapuano & Holleran; Harrison and Abromovitz. The New York Municipal Airport at Idlewild (New York) [2 copies]
1946
Box: 6 Folder : 79 Dunn, Gano, W. Earle Andrews, Gilmore D. Clarke for the Engineering Committee of New York City Traffic. Selected Measures for the Partial Relief of Traffic Congestion in New York City (New York: The Committee)
1946
Box: 3 Folder : 71 New York City Department of Parks and the Staten Island Historical Society. Richmondtown Restoration. Staten Island. City of New York (New York)
1956
Box: 6 Folder : 80 New York City Mayor's Committee on Plan and Scope. Plan for Permanent World Capitol at Flushing Meadow Park (New York: The Committee)

Scope and Contents

Clarke & Rapuano drafted the plan.

1946
Box: 6 Folder : 81 New York World's Fair 1964–1965 Corporation. Flushing Meadow and Beyond: Preliminary Report on an Proposed Post World's Fair Program (New York)

Scope and Contents

Clarke & Rapuano acted as consultants on this planning project.

1964
Box: 6 Folder : 82 New York World's Fair 1964–1965 Corporation. Post Fair Plan: Queens Zoological and Botanical Gardens (New York: New York World's Fair 1964–1965 Corporation)

Scope and Contents

Clarke & Rapuano acted as consultants on this planning project.

1964
Box: 3 Folder : 72 Urban Advisors to the Federal Highway Administrator. The Freeway in the City: Principles of Planning and Design. A Report to the Secretary, Department of Transportation (Washington: U.S.G.P.O.)

Scope and Contents

Michael Rapuano was the chair of the Advisory Committee.

1968

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