Posts Tagged ‘Skyscraper era NYC’

What if this actually happened to Trinity Church?

April 17, 2017

Early 20th century New York was a lot like the city of today.

The skyscraper era was dawning, business was booming, and development was rampant. Many of the city’s low-rise buildings were being bulldozed in favor of steel-frame office towers topping 20 stories.

On Lower Broadway, new office buildings were going up up up. This real-estate madness is the likely inspiration for this Puck illustration from 1907, by Albert Levering.

Levering gives us a Trinity Church — until 1890 the tallest structure along the city’s skyline, which welcomed ships coming into New York Harbor — almost entombed in glass and steel, its graveyard chopped away.

I wonder how many developers took this cartoon seriously?

[Image: Library of Congress]

New York on the rise during the skyscraper era

June 17, 2013

With the Freedom Tower finally topped by its spire, it’s an appropriate time to look back at the early 20th century and see how the city’s most iconic tall buildings appeared during construction.

Did New Yorkers circa 1900 have any idea that the 22-story building (below) rising on the flatiron-shaped plot at Fifth Avenue, Broadway, and East 22nd Street would become one of the first skyscrapers?


It’s not quite what we think of as skyscraper today, but for 1902, it’s pretty impressive—as is the lower Broadway construction project destined to become the Woolworth Building (below).


It turns 100 this year, a beauty with an innovative steel-frame structure. And at 782 feet, it’s still one of the 50 tallest buildings in the country.


Without its clock tower, the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower (above), built between 1927 and 1929 off Flatbush Avenue, looks even more phallic than usual.

It went residential in the 2000s, but in this Brooklyn Historical Society photo, you can see an elevated train track behind it.


Last but not least is this image above of a half-built Empire State Building.

Three thousand workers put it together in just one year and 45 days—making it the world’s tallest building from its opening in 1931 to 1972, when the World Trade Center took that title.