The Society’s Labor, Literature and Landmarks Series continues a tradition of public lectures that started at the Society in 1837.  Since then, it has been an important source of education and cultural enlightenment for all New Yorkers. The Series brings people of diverse interests from the entire New York area into our Library space. Now in its 14th season, the Artisan Lecture Series pays tribute to the art of craftsmanship by featuring master artisans who lecture about the intricacies of their specialized crafts. The Artisan Lecture Series promotes the work and art of skilled craftsmen to assist in ensuring their unique knowledge is understood and carried forth for future generations. 

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2024 Spring GSMT Lecture Series  


Voices of the Stones, with Robert F. Rodriguez, Photojournalist, Tuesday, April 16th at 6 P.M

A closeup look at the wondrous and often humorous carvings on the unfinished tower at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the stone carvers who created themand some “secret” messages they carved in their limestone creations.  Robert F. Rodriguez was artist/photographer-in-residence at the church as these artworks were being created, and responsible for recording them for posterity and will discuss his ten years documenting this work.  Presented in Partnership with the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

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  • Anchoring Neighborhoods:  Historic Religious Institutions in Service of the Wider Community, A Panel Discussion, Moderated by Peg Breen, President of The New York Landmarks Conservancy, Tuesday, May 7th at 6.30 P.M.

Religious Institutions of all denominations are grappling with maintaining their landmark properties, while also serving as neighborhood anchors, providing services and aid to the wider community as the city continues to recover from the pandemic. Four religious leaders: His Grace Bishop Irinej Dobrijević, head of the Serbian Orthodox Eparchy of Eastern America, Rabbi Serge Lippe of Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, Fr. John Kamas of St. Jean Baptiste on the Upper East Side, and the Rev. Dr. Derrick McQueen of St. James Presbyterian Church in Hamilton Heights, will be participating in the Landmark Conservancy’s annual Sacred Sites Open House May 18-19th, and will describe how welcoming visitors aligns with their mission. Peg Breen will moderate, explaining why we should take this opportunity to be a tourist in our own town, and get to know the history and programs of these remarkable institutions.  Presented in Partnership with the New York Landmarks Conservancy.


  • Making it in America: The Almost Impossible Quest to Manufacture in the U.S.A and How it Got That Way with writer Rachel Slade and photographer Chris Payne, Tuesday, May 14th at 6.30 p.m.

A moving and eye-opening presentation at the story of manufacturing in America, and whether it can ever successfully return to American shores and why the nation depends on it, told through the experience of one young couple in Maine as they attempt to rebuild a lost industry, ethically.

  • ReThinkNYC’s Proposal to Convert Commuter Rail at the Pennsylvania Station: A Panel Discussion, Moderated by Peg Breen, President of The New York Landmarks Conservancy, Tuesday, May 21st at 6.30 P.M.

Sam Turvey, Chairperson of ReThinkNYC, will moderate a panel discussion on ReThinkNYC’s proposal to convert commuter rail at the Pennsylvania Station, now used by its main tenants as a terminal facility, to the state-of-the-art operating model for commuter railroading – through-running.  Through-running would link New Jersey, Long Island and Westchester seamlessly through Penn Station while originating and terminating in rail hubs on either side of the Hudson and East Rivers.  As such it would address the main weakness of regional mass transit in Greater New York – its spotty connectivity.

Through-running has been implemented successfully by Chicago, Philadelphia, Toronto as well as London, Paris, and a host of major world capitals. Los Angeles is planning to follow suit.  The through-running operating model is superior to what Amtrak, the MTA and NJ Transit are proposing — the building of additional terminal tracks below 31st Street.  Terminal tracks force trains to come to a dead halt; through-running enables them to continue on to other destinations.  In addition to bolstering economic growth and equity across the region, thanks to enhanced connectivity, through-running looks to cost substantially less than the alternative proposal and eliminates the need to demolish the buildings in Penn Station’s immediate vicinity. Mr. Turvey will be joined by a panel of experts who support ReThinkNYC’s proposals. Presented in Partnership with the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

  • A New Perspective on Classic Art Deco Skyscrapers: When 21st Century Technology Meets 20th Century Architecture, with Chris Hytha and Mr. Houser, Tuesday, June 4th at 6.30pm

Enjoy details of Jazz Age gems as you’ve never seen before with the authors of the stunning new book Highrises: Art Deco, reflecting artist Chris Hytha and writer Mark Houser’s cross-country odyssey to highlight outstanding historic skyscrapers from a new perspective. Mr. Hytha and Mr. Houser will share stories and images of soaring Art Deco structures – close up as never seen before. Chris Hytha’s use of drone technology and state of the art software showcases the seldom seen intricate and ornate details of iconic Art Deco buildings, while Mark Houser recounts the histories of each Deco Skyscraper and it architects, drawing upon traditional research and featuring vintage newspaper coverage. Presented in Partnership with the Art Deco Society of New York.

Additional lectures will be added, for more information, please contact


The Fall Season of “Labor,  Literature and Landmark” and “Artisan” Lecture series begins on Tuesday, September 26th with How to Live with Objects: A Guide to More Meaningful Interiors with Jill Singer and Monica Khemsurov, they will discuss among many things what makes an object worth having and how do objects impact our lives.  Admission $10

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It is followed on Tuesday, October 3, with a special talk, with Matthew Kilkenny  based on his acclaimed and award winning book,  Detroit Steel Artists: How Edsel Ford, Ray Dietrich, Tom Hibbard, and Ralph Roberts Turned Motor City into a Styling Mecca Before Harley Earl, that both details and celebrates the early designers who designed classic automobile cars from the 1920’s onwards.  Admission $10

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The next lecture is with architect Francoise Bollack in a talk inspired by her new book Old Building New Ideas on Tuesday, October 10th. Her talk will focus on architectural works, from the Middle Ages to the present, which transform existing buildings and, by doing so, build a way forward, through adaptations, additions and visual shifts sometimes modest, sometimes revolutionary.   This talk is presented in partnership with The Historic District Council and is part of Archtober. Admission $10.

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This will be followed by a talk on Tuesday, October 17 with book artist, paper cutter, sculptor, and conceptual artist, Béatrice Coron  who in “Habitat & Habitus: Urban Papercuttings”will reflect on the architecture of Cities.  Urban landscapes are forever changing as well as our personal disposition to adapt to our social worlds. Ms. Corot will explain how she is fascinated by buildings’ geometric façades with occasionally silhouetted scenes of their inhabitants. Through her playful and creative paper cut silhouettes, she will discuss how she perceives the architecture of the city and its citizens as stories in a capsule of time and space, and that’s what fires her imagination. This talk is also part of Archtober.

The next lecture will be on Tuesday, October 24th, The Rise and Fall of Radiator Foundries: A Two Century Journey to Casting Radiators for Today with Nick and Annie Baylis of Castrads. Castrads is a small, family-run business that manufactures new cast iron radiators in England. This talk will cover the development of heating technology in the textile mills on both sides of the Atlantic.  After a fifty year hiatus, Castrads is once again casting radiators in England and they’ll also be describing the technical challenges associated with onshoring a long-lost skill.

Our final October lecture on Monday, October 30th will feature photographer Andrew Garn providing an overview of his photographs that celebrate Greenwood Cemetery in a talk inspired by his book, Brooklyn Arcadia: Art, History and Nature at Majestic Green-wood.  Through wonderful images this New York City treasure is revealed as a garden in the city, a repository for memory, and a place for repose, inspiration, and delight. This talk is also part of Archtober.   Admission $10.

The Art and Artistry of a Historic Company – A Dialogue on Tuesday, December 12, 2023

with David Hart, FAIA, Former Architect of the Utah State Capitol

and Edwin Rambusch, Co-Owner, President & CEO of The Rambusch Company