This circa-1924 gothic-Art Deco beauty served as the headquarters for the American Radiator Company, a heater manufacturer.
“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.
Georgia 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.
Tags: 1920s New York City, 40 West 40th Street, American Radiator Company building, Art Deco New York City, Bryant Park buildings, decorative figures New York buildings, famous skyscrapers, Georgia O'Keefe Radiator Building, Raymond Hood architect