The mystery quote on the Daily News building

DailynewsfacadeThe (former) headquarters for the New York Daily News, on East 42nd Street, is a 1930 skyscraper masterpiece.

The enormous lobby, with its illuminated revolving globe and compass points set into the floor, is an impressive monument to wonder and the bigness of the universe, as well as a nod to the newspaper’s global perspective.

Then there’s the huge facade framing the 39-story building’s main entrance.

Dailynewsbuilding1931This bas relief features the newspaper name, an urban cityscape, and a crowd of people, with this inscription: “he made so many of them.”

What does it mean?

It’s part of a quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln: “God must love the common people; he made so many of them.”

Sounds like an homage to the regular New Yorkers who made the Daily News, which got its start in 1919 as the city’s first tabloid, one of the nation’s biggest newspapers throughout the 20th century.


At the time of the building’s opening, the News had an impressive circulation of 1.3 million. Now it’s roughly half that.

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9 Responses to “The mystery quote on the Daily News building”

  1. Pontifikate Says:

    One of my few school trips took me to this building. Loved the beautiful lobby, love newspapers, wish they would thrive.

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    I’m with you–it’s an amazing lobby to visit, spectacular.

  3. justme3362 Says:

    What I love about your posts is that you inspire me to take pause and appreciate my surroundings (which are incredible). I stopped on E 43rd St today to admire a neon ‘Park’ sign and thought of your blog, only to walk past this building later and not even notice it. I’ll be pausing tomorrow!

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      Thank you! I walked by the News building countless times as well before actually reading the quote and wondering what it meant.

  4. Audrey Burtrum-Stanley Says:

    The carving on the front of the newspaper building came from a quote attributed to President Lincoln —
    “God must have loved the common people,
    he made so many of them.”
    If Abe didn’t say those words, wellllllllll he shudda!

  5. Architectural icons of New York's 42nd Street | Anita's Feast Says:

    […] Want to know more? Here’s a link to more information about The Daily News Building and background on the quote on the façade. […]

  6. Untapped Staff Picks: NYC's Old World Ice Cream Parlors, Secret Speakeasy Opening in Former Church, and Inside Abandoned Boyce Thompson Institute | Untapped Cities Says:

    […] The mystery quote on the Daily News building [Ephemeral NY] […]

  7. America’s Biggest Newspaper 70 Years Ago Sounded a Lot Like Trump Today – The Conservative Investor Daily Says:

    […] was the paper’s claim to advocate for the “common people”—a commitment carved into stone on the facade of the headquarters Patterson built in 1930. Trump adopted a similar posture of […]

  8. Impressive facade ~ – The Boomerang Blog Says:

    […] that was original site for the New York Daily News. Read all about the building at this site here, which also attributes the “mystery quotation” at the foot of the facade to Abraham […]

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