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The Museum of the City of New York launches app 'Digital Walk Through Gilded New York'
J.P. Morgan, Jr. house, c. 1912. Photo: Library of Congress.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Museum of the City of New York launches its first-ever app, A Walk Through Gilded New York, a digital companion to the critically acclaimed exhibition Gilded New York. With actress Grace Grummer as a tour guide, A Walk Through Gilded New York allows users to take a time-traveling tour through the city, following the footsteps of turn-of-the-20th century tourists past the period’s choicest shops, grandest hotels, largest mansions, iconic museums, and performance spaces.

The app is built around stunning then-and-now photographs of the world that inspired Gilded New York, which opened in 2013 and inaugurated the Museum’s Tiffany & Co. Foundation Gallery. The exhibition offers a vivid exploration of the city’s visual culture at the end of the 19th century, when its elite class expressed their status and cultural refinement through extravagant fashions, jewelry, and decorative arts. In the companion app, striking images of the past are paired with modern photographs taken from the same location by photographer Harlan Erskine.

App users can imagine securing prime seats at some of the Gilded Age’s most exclusive events, from Mark Twain’s 70th birthday party at Delmonico’s restaurant to opening night at the Metropolitan Opera, and peer inside private homes to see J.P. Morgan’s early use of electricity and Felix Warburg’s collection of Rembrandts. Along the way, users will bear witness to a three-decade period – from the mid-1870s to the start of World War One – during which the city transformed more rapidly than ever before.

Users can delve into stories of notable figures like Andrew Carnegie and William K. Vanderbilt and detailed histories of cultural establishments like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Carnegie Hall. In addition to the then-and-now photographs, the app contains gorgeous images of jewelry, costumes, accessories, and furniture from the Museum of the City of New York and other collections.

The exhibition Gilded New York remains on view at the Museum, presenting a lavish display of some 100 works, including costumes, jewelry, portraits, and decorative objects, all created between the mid-1870s and the early 20th century. The dazzling works illuminate an era when members of the new American aristocracy often displayed their wealth at storied balls in Fifth Avenue mansions and hotels. It was a time when New York became the nation’s corporate headquarters and a popular Ladies’ Mile of luxury retail establishments and cultural institutions helped launch the city to global prominence.

Although often derided for its excess, the Gilded Age was also notable for its national aspirations in the arts and design. During these years, the United States—and its cultural capital, New York City—achieved a new level of sophistication in painting, sculpture, architecture, and the decorative arts, enabling the nation to compete for the first time on a world stage and giving rise to a golden age that was worthy of the name “American Renaissance.”

The Museum gratefully acknowledges the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which supported a post-doctoral fellowship for Dr. Jessica Lautin. A Walk Through Gilded NY was her capstone project.

Gilded New York is organized by Donald Albrecht, the Museum’s Curator of Architecture and Design; Jeannine Falino, an independent curator; and Phyllis Magidson, the Museum’s Curator of Costumes and Textiles.

A Walk Through Gilded NY is available for download on iPhone or Andoid devices today.

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