COOL COURSE: For 40 years, professor Mosette Broderick has been encouraging students to look up from their textbooks. Her course Expressive Culture: Architecture in New York Field Study gives students an up-close history lesson on the very buildings that surround them each day in Greenwich Village.

Throughout the semester, Broderick leads her class across the Washington Square Park area, offering extensive detail about historic structures such as NYU’s Silver Building, located at the corner of Washington Square Park North and University Place. The edifice was originally built for the American Book Company in the 1890s, and once housed the studio of artist Edward Hopper.

NYU Silver building

Not surprisingly, one of the most popular attractions for students is iconic Washington Square Arch, which was originally built as a plaster and wood temporary structure in 1889 to commemorate the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration. It became so popular that the permanent stone arch—designed by architect Stanford White—was erected three years later.

"I have always loved buildings," explains Broderick, "and the tales the walls provide always surprise me."

Washington Square Arch archive photo

Washington Square Arch

Row Houses at Washington Square North

Students in Professor Broderick's Expressive Culture class