Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Glimpses Of The Egg

The most striking building in the Empire State Plaza complex has to be the Egg, a ovoid concrete structure that looks like it might have landed here from outer space. The building was designed by Wallace Harrison and was completed in 1978.

The Egg seen from across the Hudson River.

Inside the Egg are the two theaters that comprise the Empire State Performing Arts Center. The smaller of the two, the Lewis A. Swyer Recital Hall seats 450 people. The larger Kitty Carlisle Hart Theater accommodates 982 people.

Curves and lines.

There are no windows in the building. Cylindrical elevators take patrons up to the plush lobbies of either theater where they can go on to their seats. The lobby walls are of the same concrete as the exterior, accented with pear wood panels and richly colored carpets. It really is a sight to see.

The Egg sits on its base.

I once volunteered as an usher for the performing arts center just to have the chance to wander around inside the building. I ushered for one or two seasons back in the late 70s and got to see quite a few performances during that time. But the big draw for me, more than the performances, was the building itself.

The Egg peeks out from behind the Justice Building.

I haven't been inside the Egg since then, thirty years ago now. One of these days I'll go back, I'm sure. Until then, I'm content to admire it from the outside. I'm sure I'm one of the few who admires the building. It's one of those you-either-love-it-or-you-hate-it buildings.

With Corning Tower in the background.

I've heard many people call it ugly over the years, but the Egg has become a symbol of the city. It's a unique and instantly recognizable icon on the city's skyline. And for all of my effort, I managed to not get a shot of the whole thing. You'll have to make do with these glimpses.


  1. Quite a structure! I've really enjoyed this look at Albany. I had no idea what it was like.

    Welcome home to France :)


  2. I like the egg! Maybe it's because my initials were once E.G.G.;-) I'm glad you are back chez toi.

  3. In the second picture, the walls appear to be made of linen.

  4. There's certainly no confusing "The Egg" with any other bldg in NYC!

  5. Wow, the egg and I share the same birth year. And we're both really innovative and cool looking. Who would've thunk? ;p

  6. judy, thanks! It's good to be home.

    evelyn, cool!

    starman, interesting observation...

    mark, but NYC is 150 miles away! ;)

    evol, amazing coincidences. But I'll bet you don't wear a steel girdle...

  7. Every now and again, an architect comes up with a building that is unique, compelling, and has a mystique about it. I think The Egg qualifies. I like it very much!

  8. I remember seeing this, from the hudson river, as we passed it on our way through the erie canal, many many years ago.

  9. will, it is certainly distinct!

    michael, did you know what it was? Did you guess?


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