Posts Tagged ‘Henry Hardenburgh’

New York’s “Flat Iron and Fifth Avenue Buildings”

February 14, 2011

I like Flat Iron as two words; it doesn’t obscure the origin of the building’s name.

Aside from the streetcars navigating Broadway, the best part of the postcard is the caption on the back: “Facing Madison Square, these two buildings are among the most interesting in the uptown district.”

Uptown for 1905, I guess.

In the center is the still-standing, seven-story Western Union Building, by late 19th century starchitect Henry Hardenburgh.

And look—no Shake Shack!

The lamps and lanterns at Con Ed headquarters

September 21, 2010

The Con Ed building’s handsome limestone 26-story tower, completed in 1929, sports some very appropriate ornamental elements.

Decorating the facade are images of candles and oil lamps—which makes sense for the former headquarters of a huge power company.

“At the base of the tower these include torches, lamps, and urns on the original canopy at the main entrance on Irving Place and torches, suns, candelabra, Jupiter heads, and lightning bolts on the frieze over the first-story shop windows,” states the Landmarks Preservation Commission report from 2009.

And of course, there’s the incredible 38-foot bronze lantern capping the top of the tower.

“This tower was planned to be dramatically lighted at night, advertising the wonders of the electricity that the company sold,” reports New York Architecture Images. “Known as the ‘Tower of Light,’ this was memorial to the company’s employees who had died in World War I.” 

The Flatiron’s second most striking building

September 26, 2008

Sure the Flatiron building across the street gets all the attention. But on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street stands a lovely, 7-story red brick structure with Western Union’s old logo obscured under the windows.

This was Western Union’s “uptown” branch. Built in 1883 by architect Henry Hardenburgh—designer of the Plaza, the Dakota, and other gorgeous New York buildings—the office had pneumatic tubes that whisked telegraphs to Western Union’s main headquarters in lower Manhattan. 

It’s now a New York Historical Designation that has recently been condo-ized. For more photos and information on this gabled, Queen Anne gem, check out the architectural site  Starts and Fits