Posts Tagged ‘New York 1902’

This office tower helped guide Battery tugboats

March 19, 2018

They don’t make office buildings as enchanting and beautiful as the Whitehall anymore.

Completed in 1904, architect Henry Hardenbergh (of Plaza Hotel and Dakota fame) created a 20-story beauty with a limestone base and decorative touches like entwined serpents—the building overlooked New York Harbor at the Battery, after all.

The Whitehall Building isn’t on Whitehall Street, curiously. So where did the name come from?

Whitehall was the nickname the British reportedly gave to Peter Stuyvesant’s former home (left), which was constructed in 1655 when Stuyvesant was director general of New Amsterdam.

Mosaics of Manhattan’s Whitehall can be seen at the Whitehall Street N/R station, but they’re too grimy to photograph well, sadly.

As the city’s tallest office tower for a brief moment in the early 20th century, the Whitehall Building was a huge success—and almost a decade later, a taller annex was built, called the Greater Whitehall.

The Whitehall annex (towering over the first Whitehall at the right) had a second purpose: It  helped guide tugboats in New York Harbor.

“With its singular top, this building was visible from the dozens of piers that once lined the Hudson River,” states New York for New Yorkers. “It functioned as a control tower; tugboats received their instructions from offices in this building.”

The city’s once mighty shipping industry is long gone, of course. But the Whitehall still soars over the harbor.

[Second image: NYPL; third image: NYC-architecture.com]

A winter twilight in the snow on 57th Street

February 12, 2018

This is 57th Street in 1902, painted by Robert Henri, whose Ashcan School work depicted a moody New York in all of its grit and glory.

Could the cross street with the elevated train be Sixth Avenue? It would have been close to the Art Students League, where Henri taught.