Posts Tagged ‘Cass Gilbert’

The most beautiful Duane Reade in New York City

October 14, 2013

Duanereade30springstreet2A Duane Reade store originally designed by famed architect Cass Gilbert?

It’s hard to believe. Gilbert is the genius who gave New York the Woolworth Building, the New York Life Tower, and other spectacular structures from the dawn of the skyscraper age.

But it exists, at the corner of Spring and Lafayette Streets, inside a repurposed East River Savings Bank building Gilbert designed in 1927.

The interior space is stunning, especially if you’re used to Duane Reade’s usual bad lighting and low ceilings.

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Here are detailed ceilings, vintage chandeliers, a lovely old clock above the door, and a brass staircase to the lower level.

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References to the building’s past as a financial institution are mostly wiped away, with the exception of the stenciling on the exterior, between the front door and the subway entrance on Spring Street.

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The lettering is faint, but you can just make out “cassette di sicurezza.”

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Google translate tells me this means “safety deposit boxes” in Italian—the first language of many neighborhood residents, as Spring and Lafayette Streets would have been squarely in Little Italy territory.

Check out some other old city buildings whose original tenants departed—and now are occupied by very different businesses.

Winged chariots and lions on West 30th Street

November 12, 2009

Not too many Manhattan buildings feature terra cotta panels and friezes inspired by ancient Assyrian art.

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Then there’s 130 West 30th Street. Constructed in 1927 as the SJM building (that’s for Solomon Manne, who made a fortune in the fur business), it was renamed in 2003 after going co-op in honor of its architect, Cass Gilbert.

Gilbert is the man behind many great early 20th century New York City landmarks, from the Woolworth Building downtown to the New York Life skyscraper near Madison Square Park.

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The 20-story Cass Gilbert Building is no Garment District slouch. It has 45 luxury loft apartments, not to mention these triumphant, exotic panels above the entrance. Take a tour of the penthouse here.

Building the “Cathedral of Commerce”

November 18, 2008

On a clear day approximately 750 feet above Broadway, a couple of workers are busy constructing the Woolworth Building. Opened in 1913 and the tallest skyscraper in the world until 1930, it was dubbed the “Cathedral of Commerce” by a clergyman so taken with its church-like arched entryways and vaulted, mosaic ceilings. 

Looks like the Manhattan Bridge off in the distance at the top:

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Fearlessly hanging out over various municipal buildings:

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At the grand opening ceremony, President Woodrow Wilson pushed a button in Washington that illuminated the entire 60-story building. Here are more views of the Woolworth Building, plus photos of the funny little gargoyle-like caricatures of Mr. Woolworth and Cass Gilbert, the architect, in the beautiful lobby.

Almost finished:

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