A thermometer and clock on a Broadway building

Sometime after the New York Sun moved into 280 Broadway between Reade and Chambers Street in 1919, it made its presence known by adding two things to the facade of this circa-1845 building: a fantastically gorgeous four-face clock and two-sided thermometer.

The Sun’s bronze clock: “It shines for all”

It makes sense for a storied publication in New York’s competitive newspaper world of the era to install these on the new headquarters’ Italianate facade.

The Sun thermometer: It was not 120 degrees outside when this photo was taken

Both the clock and the thermometer carried the Sun’s name, so it was good advertising on this busy corner north of City Hall Park. Also, as a newspaper, the Sun existed to inform—and that includes informing passersby about the time and temperature.

Long after the Sun closed up shop in 1952 and departed what became known as the Sun Building (though before that, it was A.T. Stewart’s first department store, his “Marble Palace”), the beautiful clock is still with us on the southwest corner.

The Sun building, 1917

The thermometer, on the northwest corner at Reade Street, was in its usual spot a few years ago. It was broken then, but that’s okay, I just hope it still exists.

[Third photo: New-York Historical Society]

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8 Responses to “A thermometer and clock on a Broadway building”

  1. Andrada Costoiu Says:

    Thank you for taking me there ! I love your posts ❤️

  2. Greg Says:

    I believe the Sun folded in 1950, not 53.

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      It’s complicated. According to the Library of Congress, the Sun merged with the New York World Telegram in 1950. The article I linked to from the New York Times says the Sun folded in 1952.

      • Greg Says:

        The Times is just wrong in that instance. It’s true that the combined New York World-Telegram and Sun continued for 16 more years, but the Sun was done in 1950.

      • ephemeralnewyork Says:

        Yes, I guess they just kept the name in the combined newspaper to appeal to Sun readers.

  3. The "Rockefeller the Owl" Friday Edition - The Briefly Says:

    […] around the city is to look for pieces of history that have outlived the people who built them. The New York Sun clock on Broadway between Reade and Chambers outlived two incarnations of the newspaper. Fun fact: I worked for The New York Sun during its last […]

  4. New York Daily News  The New York Times  New York Post  New York World  New-York Tribune  New York Journal-American  New York Herald  AM New York Metro  Newsday  The Wall Street Journal   - JASAPAPER - a professional dissertation editing service Says:

    […] on July 20 on the Gilded Age city. Ephemeral New York in Mental Floss! Mental Floss … A thermometer and clock on a Broadway building – Ephemeral … https://ephemeralnewyork.w… Nov 16, 2020 — Sometime after the New York Sun moved into 280 Broadway between … so it […]

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