Posts Tagged ‘Woolworth Building’

The Brooklyn Bridge: “the finest in the world”

April 12, 2011

So states the back of this undated postcard, based on a photo taken from the Brooklyn side of the bridge.

It’s a smoky, busy, glorious view. There’s the municipal building on the right, the Woolworth Building in the middle, the Singer Building to the left, and East River piers now used for recreation rather than shipping.

Lower Manhattan on an enchanting night

July 5, 2010

“Looking east from the Woolworth Tower at Night” states the back of this penny postcard.

“The Municipal building looms up large in the foreground, while the rest of the city looks insignificant when seen from this height, and one can only see myriads of lights, throwing their reflection on the water.”

Hmm, so why does the postcard depict the Brooklyn Bridge as abruptly stopping, with no way to get on or off, at City Hall park?

The East River waterfront, 1906

November 30, 2009

Here is bustling, turn of the century Lower Manhattan, before skyscrapers. The Woolworth Building won’t be built for another seven years. The Williamsburg Bridge is just three years old; the Manhattan Bridge is three years away.

Shipping is still the lifeblood of the city, and probably no one can imagine that South Street will be just a tourist attraction before the century is over.

Things look dark, packed, and coated in grime. But the city radiates excitement and beauty.

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.


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.


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:


Fearlessly hanging out over various municipal buildings:


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: