The glowing embers of a Bryant Park skyscraper

AmericanradiatorbldgIt’s only fitting that the black-brick tower at 40 West 40th Street looks kind of like it’s topped by a blazing furnace.

This circa-1924 gothic-Art Deco beauty served as the headquarters for the American Radiator Company, a heater manufacturer.

Georgiaokeeferadiatorbldg“When the American Radiator Building was designed, automobile radiators were black boxes often capped with bright header tanks and fittings crafted of solid brass,” states The Architecture Traveler.

The radiator effect was really dazzling at night, when “glowing windows burned in the black facade and the crown was lit up, an attention-grabbing metaphor for the headquarters of a company that specialized in home heating,” adds Eric Nash’s Manhattan Skyscrapers.

SteamheatfigurepipeGeorgia O’Keeffe was taken by the glow of the building after sunset—she painted “Radiator Building—Night, New York” from her window at the Shelton Hotel in 1927 (above right).

The many figures on the third floor facade—a pipe fitter, a man pouring water into a box—”refer to great moments in the history of steam heat,” says Nash.

Today the building houses the Bryant Park Hotel—a very different tenant in a very different New York City.

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6 Responses to “The glowing embers of a Bryant Park skyscraper”

  1. FGFM (@FGFM) Says:

    Interesting building, similar to the Carbide & Carbon Building here in Chicago – which is now also a hotel!

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    The hotels are taking over for sure!

  3. Ricky Says:

    I have always loved this building.

  4. chas Says:

    Interesting to get the history on this after all the years seeing and admiring it…who’s better than eny!!!

  5. ephemeralnewyork Says:


  6. From posh residences to art movie theater, the many lives of two Bleecker Street houses | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] 1920, Mori’s devotion to his restaurant included combining it with 146 Bleecker, then asking architect Raymond Hood to give the facade a new look. The result, according to the Historic District Report, featured a […]

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