Photo credit: Michael del Castillo

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As part of her research for The Fountainhead Ayn Rand worked as an unpaid typist and file clerk for Ely Jacques Kahn’s architecture firm at 2 Park Avenue near 32nd Street, a great Art Deco building of Kahn’s own design, according to Frederick Cookinham, founder of In Depth Walking Tours, which leads tours on Rand’s life. Kahn, who is best remembered for designing the Bergdorf Goodman Department Store, was tickled that a novelist was using his office for research. Kahn was the first architect to use setbacks as terraces. His office was on the 18th floor, and his terrace was the roof of the 17th floor. One can easily imagine Kahn and Rand going out on the setback to look up at the Empire State Building and other nearby skyscrapers, and talking about their construction. To read more about Ayn Rand’s Manhattan click here.


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