building_name= Woolworth Building
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower
40 Wall Street
location= 233 Broadway, New York, NY, USA
The Woolworth Building, at 57 stories, is one of the oldest—and one of the most famous—
skyscrapers in New York City. More than ninety years after its construction, it is still one of the fifty tallest buildings in the United States as well as one of the twenty tallest buildings in New York City. The building is a National Historic Landmark, having been listed in 1966.cite web|url=http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=398&ResourceType=Building
title=Woolworth Building|date=2007-09-23|work=National Historic Landmark summary listing|publisher=National Park Service] cite web
title="The Woolworth Building"
author=Patricia Heintzelman and Cecil McKithan
date=January 6, 1978
work=National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination
publisher=National Park Service] cite web
title=The Woolworth Building--Accompanying 3 photos, exterior, from 1975.
work=National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination
publisher=National Park Service]
The Woolworth Building was constructed in neo-Gothic style by architect
Cass Gilbert, who was commissioned by Frank Woolworthin 1910 to design the new corporate headquarters on Broadway, between Park Place and Barclay Street in Lower Manhattan, opposite City Hall. Originally planned to be 625 feet (190.5 m) high, in accordance with the area's zoning laws, the building was eventually elevated to 792 feet (241 m). The construction cost was $13,500,000 and Woolworth paid in cash. On completion, the Woolworth building overtook the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Toweras the world's tallest building; it opened on April 24, 1913.
With splendor and a resemblance to European Gothic
cathedrals, the structure was labeled the "Cathedral of Commerce" by the Reverend S. Parkes Cadmanduring the opening ceremony. It remained the tallest building in the world until the construction of 40 Wall Streetand the Chrysler Buildingin 1930; an observation deck on the 58th floor attracted visitors until 1945.
The building's tower, flush with the main frontage on Broadway, is raised on a block base with a narrow interior court for light. The exterior decoration was cast in limestone-colored,
glazed architectural terra-cottapanels. Strongly articulated piers, carried—without interrupting cornices—right to the pyramidal cap, give the building its upward thrust. The Gothic detailing concentrated at the highly visible top is massively scaled, able to be read from the street level several hundred feet below. The ornate, cruciform lobby has a vaulted ceiling, mosaics, and sculpted caricatures that include Gilbert and Woolworth. Woolworth's private office, revetted in marblein French Empire style, is preserved.
Gunvald Ausand Kort Berledesigned the steel frame, supported on massive caissons that penetrate to the bedrock. The high-speed elevators were innovative, and the building's high office-to-elevator ratio made the structure profitable. Tenants included the Irving Trust bank and Columbia Records, which housed a recording studioin the building.
The building was owned by the Woolworth company for 85 years until 1998, when the
Venator Group(formerly the F. W. Woolworth Company) sold it to the Witkoff Groupfor $155 million. [ [http://www.recordonline.com/1998/06/23/woolwort.htm recordonline.com - The Times Herald-Record, serving New York’s Hudson Valley and the Catskills ] ]
Prior to its 2001 destruction, the
World Trade Centerwas often photographed in such a way that the Woolworth Building could be seen between 1 and 2 World Trade Center.
September 11, 2001 attacksa few blocks away, the building was without electricity, water and telephone service for a few weeks but suffered no major damage. Increased post-attack security restricted access to most of the ornate lobby, previously a tourist attraction. [ [http://chronicle.com/review/brainstorm/index.php?id=102 Brainstorm: American Architectural Wonder: Keep Out - Chronicle.com ] ]
The structure has a long association with
higher education, housing a number of Fordham Universityschools in the early 20th century. Today, the building houses, among other tenants, Control Group Inc and the New York UniversitySchool of Continuing and Professional Studies' Center for Global Affairs.
References in popular culture
The Woolworth Building has made some notable appearances in film. In the movie "
Enchanted", Narissa the dragon carries Robert up to the top of it. After killing the dragon, Robert and Giselle slide down. In the film " Cloverfield", it collapses after the monster critically damages it. The building is also mentioned near the beginning of 12 Angry Men.
Tallest buildings in New York City
* [http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Woolworth_Building.html Great Buildings on-line] – the Woolworth Building
* [http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/medny/buttowski/ Medieval New York website] – Construction details and photo images of the Woolworth Building
* [http://www.nycfoto.com/showPage.php?albumID=50 NYCfoto.com] – Woolworth Building (before and after 9/11)
* [http://www.nyc-architecture.com/SCC/SCC019.htm New York Architecture Images – The Woolworth Building]
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