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Made by Emilio Guerra
258 Broadway, Civic Center, Downtown Manhattan, New York City, United States of America The Rogers, Peet & Company building is an eight-story neo-Renaissance style commercial and office building designed by the firm of John B. Snook & Sons. Constructed in 1899-1900 for clergyman Eugene A. Hoffman, the building was occupied by Rogers, Peet & Co., a well-known retailer of men’s and boys’ clothing, for a period of more than 70 years. The Rogers, Peet & Co. building is an early example of a steel skeleton-framed skyscraper influenced by the Chicago school of architects, and stands out among a group of important early skyscrapers located in the vicinity of City Hall, New York’s original skyscraper district, for its clear articulation of the structural grid and restrained use of stylized classical ornament. Constructed using the latest in fireproofing technologies, the building expresses its structural steel framing in the wide window bays on the east and north facades that are divided by strong vertical brick piers and recessed cast-iron or brick spandrels. The building is clad in stone and buff brick and crowned by a deep molded and denticulated copper cornice. In 1909 a three-bay addition to the building was constructed on Warren Street, executed by the firm of Townsend, Steinle & Haskell but continuing the original design. During a long and prolific career, architect John B. Snook (1815-1901) designed numerous buildings in New York City as well as several others in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Westchester County, and New Jersey. In 1887 Snook’s three sons and a son-inlaw joined him in practice, thus establishing the firm of John B. Snook & Sons. It remains unclear what role the elder Snook played in the design of the Rogers, Peet & Company Building, but the building nevertheless represents a culmination of the architect’s 64-year career of designing and building commercial structures. DESCRIPTION AND ANALYSIS Development of the Drygoods District in Lower Manhattan During the 1840s, the commercial development of Broadway and the surrounding streets of Lower Manhattan increasingly displaced residents in this area as the street became the city’s leading commercial artery. Alexander Turney Stewart, an Irish immigrant who became one of New York’s wealthiest merchants, opened his first store at 283 Broadway in 1823, selling Irish lace and notions. As his business expanded, Stewart moved to increasingly larger quarters on Broadway opposite City Hall Park. In 1845 he acquired a site at Broadway and Reade Street, and began construction of a new store building designed by Joseph Trench and John Butler Snook that eventually occupied the entire block front between Chambers and Reade Streets. The new A.T. Stewart store was the largest retail establishment in the city and employed a novel arrangement in which different categories of merchandise were separated into individual departments, setting a precedent for the development of the American department store. While most early nineteenth-century commercial buildings had brick and stone facades, the Stewart store was faced with marble above a cast-iron store front with huge plate glass windows. Almost immediately, Stewart’s new marble palace became the favored store of New Yorkers and visitors alike. Imitators soon followed and, within a few years, Broadway and its side streets from City Hall Park to Canal Street became lined with marble, brownstone, and cast-iron commercial palaces. As the new retail district began to develop on Broadway in the late 1840s and 1850s, the wholesale dry goods merchants who had been located on Pearl Street near the South Street Seaport began to move their businesses to Broadway and the blocks to the west between Dey Street and Park Place. To a large extent this move was prompted by the growing popularity of the North (Hudson River) piers which were better able to accommodate the large steam-powered vessels used for coastal and transatlantic shipping. Two major railroads established freight depots in the area during the 1850s and several other railroads built terminals in New Jersey where goods were off-loaded for transshipment across the river to the West Side piers. This increase in trade and relocation of transportation facilities coincided with a city project in 1851 widening Dey and Cortlandt Streets between Broadway and Greenwich Street that made large tracts of cleared land available for redevelopment. Within the space of two years, Dey and Cortlandt Streets were almost entirely rebuilt with store and loft buildings for wholesale dry goods businesses and similar buildings were going up on Park Place, Vesey Street, and Church Street. According to the Daily Tribune, forthwith commenced a most astonishing migration. [The] whole mercantile community seemed to have woke from a long sleep. Over the next twenty years the wholesale dry goods trade continued to move northward into the blocks west and north of City Hall Park where merchants could take advantage of the new transportation facilities in the area. In the late 1860s, Trow’s New York City Directory observed that “The drygoods dealers, who constitute the largest business district of New York, appear to have permanently settled down upon that district of the city included between Broadway and West Broadway and extending from Park Place to Canal Street. This is the great center of the wholesale jobbers, auctioneers, and importers.” The history of the Rogers, Peet & Company building site, located at the southwest corner of Broadway and Warren Street, followed closely the patterns of development that shaped the dry goods district during the 19th century. In 1827 the site was purchased from Trinity Church by Garrit Storm, a wealthy grocer and descendent of an old Dutch family in New York. The property passed in 1852 to Storm’s daughter, Glorvina Russell Hoffman, whose husband Samuel Verplanck Hoffman commissioned architect John B. Snook to design and construct a five-story commercial “palace” to replace the existing three row houses. Snook’s design, featuring a ground-story colonnade, pedimented window lintels, and a bracketed cornice, was directly influenced by the A.T. Stewart store, standing just a block north across Broadway. For many years after the building’s completion in 1854, it was known as the home of Devlin & Co., one of the first clothing houses to locate on Broadway. In 1889 when Devlin & Co. moved to a new store on Union Square, following the northward trend of retail along Broadway, the men’s clothing firm of Rogers, Peet & Company moved into the building at 258-260 Broadway (3-5 Warren Street), occupying the basement, first, and second floors. Rogers, Peet & Company During the second half of the 19th century, the American clothing industry underwent a dramatic shift from custom-made clothing to pre-manufactured clothing as a result of industrial expansion and the corresponding growth of urban and national markets. An important element in this change was the emergence of advertising as an industry in its own right. For most of the 19th century, bombastic or outright false ad copy had been the norm in the retail trade, and the expectation among consumers. But as mass-production of standardized goods began to take hold, and as technology improved to facilitate mass communication, companies responded by modernizing their merchandising and advertising practices. Rogers, Peet & Company was founded in 1874, when Broadway clothing merchants Marvin N. Rogers and Charles B. Peet joined their respective businesses to take advantage of the growing market for ready-made men’s clothing. The other founding members of the firm, which dealt primarily in retail but also ran a wholesale operation, were Frank R. Chambers and William R. H. Martin. Following the pioneering example of John Wanamaker’s retail establishment of the 1860s and 1870s in Philadelphia, Rogers Peet early on adopted a fixed-price, quality-guaranteed policy and began to rely on truthful advertising as a primary marketing tool. An 1876 newspaper article noted the firm’s huge inventory, low prices, and use of price tags, a novelty in retail at that time. The growing emphasis on honesty, respectability, and customer service in retail was reflected in the partners’ decision, in 1886, to introduce an employee profit-sharing system as a means of encouraging professionalism, salesmanship, and productivity. By the 1890s, Rogers, Peet & Co. had gained widespread recognition for these forward-thinking business strategies, and especially for their innovative and popular advertising style. Partner Frank R. Chambers (1850-1940) oversaw advertising for Rogers Peet from 1880 until 1915, writing much of the ad copy himself, and gave this simple advice on advertising: “Tell the truth. Understate. Never overstate.” The breadth, diversity, and creativity of Rogers Peet advertising demonstrated their commitment to the medium as a key to business success. In addition to publishing numerous richly-illustrated catalogs and booklets replete with detailed descriptions of clothing and accessories and advice on style, the firm advertised daily in newspapers, in theater playbills, on posters, and on street cars. A typical Rogers Peet newspaper ad of the 1890s featured a single column of text—conveying matter-of-fact information about the quality, style, and price of an item, delivered in an informal, upbeat tone using colloquial language and the familiar second-person mode of address—paired with a simple, eye-catching cartoon-style illustration that often played humorously on some aspect of the item being advertised. The Rogers Peet style of advertising stood out in contrast to the conventional clothing ad of the late 19th century, which usually featured a box of declarative text and a stock illustration, if any at all, and thus was quickly established as a standard to be emulated in the nascent advertising industry. Many Rogers Peet ads were illustrated in-house, which was more expensive than using stock “cuts” (graphics) provided by a manufacturer, but allowed for the development of a consistent and identifiable graphic style.. In what might be considered an early recognition of the 20th-century marketing concept of branding, a trade writer described the Rogers Peet style in 1915, writing: Everything that goes out of the store, including the boxes, bundles and envelopes, is utilized for attractive, refined, and dignified advertising. By tricks of type and designing a certain definite individuality is given to each piece of advertising, so that, however diversified the use to which it is put, it can be recognized at a glance. This idea is one that is gradually appealing to more advertisers as time goes on. In 1940 Joseph H. Appel, an early advertising director at Wanamaker’s, wrote a glowing appraisal (in salesman’s lingo) of Rogers Peet’s early achievements in advertising: An interesting and outstanding example of the application by other advertisers of the Wanamaker-John E.Powers [Wanamaker’s first director of advertising] advertising copy principles has been for many years the Rogers Peet Company, New York clothiers, whose unique single-column ads have been familiar for decades... the Rogers Peet ads have caused comment for many years and have retained unchanged their typographical and advertising individuality and form for a longer period of time than perhaps any other advertising in America (about 60 years). The original Rogers Peet store was located at 487 Broadway, on the southwest corner of Broome Street. Within five years the firm had expanded to a second location on Broadway, and within ten years had opened a third Broadway location. In 1889, Rogers, Peet & Company opened their fourth store in the Snook-designed building at Broadway and Warren– thereafter known as their Warren Street store. By the 1950s, there were four Rogers Peet stores: the Warren Stree store, the Union Square store, a Fifth Avenue store at 41st Street, and a second Fifth Avenue store, at 48th Street. The New York Skyscraper of the 1890s During the 19th century, commercial buildings in New York City evolved from four-story structures modeled on Italian Renaissance palazzi to much taller skyscrapers. Made possible by technological advances, tall buildings challenged designers to fashion an appropriate architectural expression. Between 1870 and 1890, nine- and ten-story buildings transformed the streetscapes of lower Manhattan. During the building boom following the Civil War, building envelopes continued to be articulated largely according to traditional palazzo compositions, with mansarded and towered roof profiles. New York's tallest buildings— including the seven-and-ahalf-story Equitable Life Assurance Co. Building (1868-70, Gilman & Kendall and George B. Post) at Broadway and Cedar Street, the ten-story Western Union Building (1872-75, George B. Post) at Broadway and Liberty Street, and the ten-story Tribune Building (1873-75, Richard M. Hunt), all now demolished — incorporated passenger elevators, iron floor beams, and fireproof building materials. Beginning in the later 1870s, tall buildings were characterized by flat roofs and a variety of exterior arrangements, often in the form of multi-storied arcades. The period through the 1880s was characterized by stylistic experimentation in which office buildings in New York incorporated diverse influences. Fireproofing was of paramount concern as office buildings grew taller, and by 1881-82 systems had been devised to completely fireproof them. Ever taller skyscrapers were made possible by the increasing use and refinement of metal framing. In 1888-89, New York architect Bradford Lee Gilbert used iron skeleton framing for the first seven stories of the 11-story Tower Building at 50 Broadway (demolished). Beginning around 1890, architects began producing skyscraper designs that adhered to the tripartite baseshaft-capital arrangement associated with the classical column, a scheme that became commonly employed in New York. As steel skeleton framing was adopted for tall buildings in New York, architects and engineers introduced caisson foundations which carried the weight of the skeleton frame down to bedrock. Architects [Francis H.] Kimball & [G. Kramer] Thompson and engineer Charles Sooysmith were leaders in this effort with the Manhattan Life Insurance Co. Building (1893-94, demolished), 64-66 Broadway, credited with being the first skyscraper with a full iron and steel frame, set on pneumatic concrete caissons. This was followed by the American Surety Co. Building (1894-96, Bruce Price), 100 Broadway, also with Sooysmith, which was the first New York skyscraper with a full steel frame, set on pneumatic concrete caissons, and is today a designated New York City Landmark. An additional consideration in office building design was to provide maximum light and ventilation, for which contemporary architects devised several solutions, including interior and exterior light courts. John B. Snook & Sons and Townsend, Steinle & Haskell John Butler Snook, born in England, immigrated to the United States and by 1835 was established in New York City as a carpenter/builder, then as an architect in partnership with William Beer in 1837-40. By 1842, Snook found work with Joseph Trench, and they later formed the firm of Trench & Snook, which helped introduce the Anglo-Italianate style to New York with buildings such as the A.T. Stewart Store (1845-46, a designated New York City Individual Landmark) at 280 Broadway, the country’s first department store and the catalyst and architectural precedent for commercial development of lower Broadway. With Trench’s departure for California in the 1850s, Snook rose to head the firm. He became a prolific architect-builder who designed structures of all types, in virtually every revival style, and expanded his practice into one of the largest in New York. The first Grand Central Terminal (1869-71, demolished) was one of his best-known works. In 1887, Snook took his three sons, James Henry (1847-1917), Samuel Booth (1857-1915), and Thomas Edward (1864?-1953), and a son-in-law, John W. Boyleston (1852-1932), into his office and the firm’s name was changed to John B. Snook & Sons. Examples of Snook’s work—and that of the firm of Snook & Sons—are also located in the Expanded Carnegie Hill, Gansevoort Market, Greenwich Village Extension, Ladies’ Mile, NoHo, SoHo-Cast Iron, Tribeca East, Tribeca West, Upper East Side, and Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic Districts. A handful of buildings designed by Snook still stand in the vicinity of City Hall; prominent among these are the A.T. Stewart store at 280 Broadway (1845-46, Joseph Trench & Co.; additions, Trench & Snook, 1850-51 and 1852-53; Frederick Schmidt, 1872; Edward D. Harris, 1884; 1921,) and the cast-iron commercial building at 287 Broadway (1871-72), both designated New York City Landmarks. The firm of (Robert Samuel) Townsend, (Charles Albert) Steinle & (William Cook) Haskell formed in 1906, and is known for having designed several large apartment buildings in the Upper West Side-Central Park West Historic District, as well as commercial buildings, stores, lofts and offices in lower Midtown. Notably, the firm designed more than one building for, or on behalf of, the Rogers Peet Company. Apart from their 1909 addition to the Warren Street store, the architects were commissioned to design the Marbridge Building at 1328 Broadway (between 34th and 35th streets), completed in 1906 and housing a Rogers Peet store from its opening until 1922, and the building at 479 Broadway, completed in 1915 and housing a Rogers Peet store from its opening until the clothing firm’s final days in 1978. Design and Construction of the Rogers, Peet & Company Building On December 4, 1898, a catastrophic fire destroyed the building at 258 Broadway, and severely damaged its neighbors to the south, the Home Life Insurance Company Building (256257 Broadway,1892-94, Pierre Le Brun of Napoleon LeBrun & Sons, a designated New York City Landmark) and the Postal Telegraph Cable Company Building (253 Broadway, 1892-94, Harding & Gooch, a designated New York City Landmark). The fire began in the basement of 258 Broadway, which was used by the Rogers Peet Company as a store room. In the wake of the fire, critics of skyscrapers cited the extensive damage to the upper floors of the 16-story Home Life building as evidence in the case against creating tall buildings, while supporters of modern fireproofing technology argued that the Home Life building’s structure, as well as that of the Postal Telegraph building, had actually withstood the fire well and indeed prevented further spread of the fire. It was in this climate of heightened public awareness of safety concerns and general uncertainty about the future of tall buildings in New York City that the owner of the property at the southwest corner of Broadway Warren Street set out to redevelop the site. Eugene A. Hoffman, a prominent and wealthy clergyman associated with the General Theological Society, appropriately chose as architects John B. Snook & Sons, the firm of the man Hoffman’s father had commissioned to design the first major commercial building for the site. The Snook & Sons office was located across Warren Street from the site, at 261 Broadway. The new building at 258 Broadway was to be a retail and office building occupied by commercial and professional tenants. Rogers, Peet & Company would occupy the basement and first two floors, with the store at street-level and show rooms above. Plans submitted to the Buildings Department early in 1899 called for an eight-story, steel-skeleton framed structure with a concrete-and-steel grillage foundation, riveted steel I-beams and girders supporting brick curtain walls, floors constructed of hollow, terra cotta-tile flat arches filled with concrete, and a flat asphalt roof. The building’s interior was designed to be open in plan on the ground floor, with an elevator bank and stairs along the south wall towards the front of the building, as well as an interior light court on the south wall above the fourth story to provide light to the interior offices. The upper stories were partitioned into offices accessed through a double-loaded central corridor running east-west. The main building entrance and a storefront entrance were located on Broadway, and the second-story was devoted to cast-iron show windows. Constructed in just under a year and completed in April of 1900, the eight-story, steel-framed Rogers, Peet & Co. building embodied the latest technologies in skyscraper construction. Snook & Sons’ completed design for the Rogers, Peet & Co. building was notable principally for a strong expression of the structural steel frame on the building’s exterior, the defining characteristic of the Chicago school and comparatively rare in early New York skyscrapers. The structural grid of the Rogers, Peet & Co. Building is articulated by thin projecting masonry piers rising from the second story to the cornice, and wide window bays framed by spandrels, pilasters and thin mullions; the high ratio of window to wall area was made possible by the non-load bearing walls. In addition to its spare appearance, the building is visually distinct from its skyscraping neighbors of the 1890s because it does not conform to the established base-shaft-capital composition. The steel columns supporting the building at the ground story were originally recessed behind the storefront (with the exception of a corner pier), giving the upper stories a floating appearance ; moreover, limestone rustication at the second and third stories gave the appearance of a proper base, but the “shaft” of the fourth through eighth stories, clad in buff brick, is bisected by a substantial entablature at the sixth story. Thus, a horizontal division of one-two-three-two stories is created. A similar effect is seen on the facade of 890 Broadway, completed by Snook & Sons a year earlier than 258 Broadway, in 1899. Architecture critic Montgomery Schuyler apparently called this facade treatment “wild work,” because of how it appeared to flout the popular base-shaft-capital scheme. At 258 Broadway, plain brick piers divide the building’s Broadway facade into two wide window bays. On the second and third stories, show windows are framed by cast-iron pilasters and divided by a deep cast-iron spandrel featuring a Greek key; the cast iron shows an unusual level of detail, giving the material a sumptuous quality. Above the third story, brick spandrels are decorated with terra-cotta plaques featuring stylized anthemia, foliate ornament, and escutcheons. The spandrels at each story accentuate the building’s horizontal framing members. Ornament is confined to the classical motifs decorating the spandrels, pilasters, mullions, and sixth-story entablature, but the main building entrance on Broadway is framed by a grand Italian Renaissance-inspired surround. Another prominent feature of the Chicago skyscraper was the flat roof, which is emphasized at 258 Broadway by a boldly projecting molded-copper cornice. A photo from c. 1938 shows a free-standing sign reading “Rogers Peet Company” on the roof of the building. The Warren Street facade continues the rational scheme of the Broadway facade, with a slight variation in the wider window bays divided by brick piers and cast-iron mullions. The proportions of the original Snook & Sons building were altered when it was extended by three bays in 1909. Architects Townsend, Steinle & Haskell were retained to expand the existing building to occupy the three adjacent lots to the west, nos. 7, 9, and 11 Warren Street, which Rogers, Peet & Co. had leased for this purpose. A secondary entrance in the seventh bay of the Warren Street facade was part of the new design, and the architects gave this entrance a door surround that was almost identical to the Broadway entrance, but a shade less grand. It remains unclear what role the elder Snook played in the Rogers, Peet & Co. building project, however it is likely that his participation was very minimal given his age at the time. Snook & Sons’ design for the new Rogers Peet building was primarily functional, defined by the parameters of the corner site, the newest construction methods then available (the steel skeleton-frame), and current standards in retail and office facilities. When compared with the original John B. Snook-designed commercial structure that stood on the site, the Rogers, Peet & Company building reflects the evolution of commercial architecture in New York, beginning with the grand “palazzi” of the mid-19th century and culminating in the modern skyscraper. Later History The Rogers, Peet & Company Warren Street store stayed in business from its re-opening in 1900 until the late 1970s. Rogers, Peet & Co. remained an independent retail house until 1962, when it was acquired by Cluett, Peabody & Co., Inc., manufacturers of the Arrow label in men’s clothing. The Rogers, Peet & Co. brand remained strong until the 1970s, when the urban retail landscape began to change as a result of widespread retail consolidation, suburban growth and the increasing popularity of malls, and competition from emerging national chains. Other challenges to an old-fashioned retail house such as Rogers Peet were changing tastes in men’s fashion and the increasing acceptability of casual clothing for the workplace. The Rogers, Peet & Co. Warren Street store closed its doors c. 1976, and by 1978 no Rogers Peet stores remained in New York. By 1981 the upper floors of the Rogers, Peet & Company building had been converted into apartments, with six or seven units per floor, and during the 1980s the ground-level storefront was occupied by Strawberry, a New York-based regional chain of popularly priced women’s clothing. A bank currently occupies the ground floor, which has been altered with a contemporary storefront of polished-granite veneer and plate glass. Description Broadway (east) Facade: two bays; facade clad in buff brick and stone with cast-iron and terra cotta trim; facade divided vertically by three piers rising from the second story to the cornice; piers are rusticated limestone at second and third stories, brick above; facade divided horizontally by stone entablatures at the first, third and sixth stories; main entrance with stone door surround resting on a granite plinth in first bay of the ground story, and a non-historic storefront in the second and third bays; main entrance door framed by double-surround; inner surround composed of molded returns and rosette-decorated paneling, and an entablature supported on scroll-brackets with volutes and central acroterion; decorative metal grille framed by bead-and-reel molding and eared anthemia above entablature; outer surround composed of paneled pilasters resting on plinths; pilasters have egg-and-dart molding at bases, bead-and-reel molding and stylized anthemia on shafts, and molded capitals decorated with more stylized anthemia, egg-and-dart molding and a water-leaf motif; pilasters support a molded entablature with decorative bands of raised circles with a water-leaf motif, dentils, and egg-and-dart molding; large window opening in each bay of second through eighth stories; window openings contain three windows separated by cast-iron pilasters or mullions (c. 1938 photographs shows double-hung windows); window openings have spandrels of cast-iron (at third story) and brick with terra-cotta plaques decorated with stylized classical motifs (at fifth, sixth, and eighth stories); deeply projecting pressed-metal cornice with egg-and-dart molding and dentils; possibly historic wooden water tank visible on roof from City Hall Park. Alterations: original decorative bronze gate and grille at Broadway entrance removed; non-historic bronze double-door with five-light operable transom at Broadway entrance; plastic plaque and metal clete affixed to Broadway door surround; contemporary storefront infill, including boxing-out of the ground-story structural piers (1990s); replacement window sash; non-historic metal door and metal paneling at Warren Street entrance; roof-top addition/bulkhead visible on roof from City Hall Park. Warren Street (north) Facade: seven bays; seventh bay, with Warren Street entrance, is slightly narrower; repeats design of Broadway facade, except for wider window bays; window openings contain two paired windows separated by brick pilasters, each pair of windows divided by a cast-iron mullion; metal grille in a scallop pattern in fifth bay of storefront, above transom bar; glass transom above Warren Street door, metal grille in a scallop pattern above entrance. Alterations: contemporary ground-story storefront continues from Broadway facade. West facade (partially visible): red-brick party wall with engaged piers; windows; chimney. Alterations: satellite dish, antenna, and two vent heads visible on roof towards rear of building. - From the 2010 NYCLPC Landmark Designation Report
United States Courthouse
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Civic Center, Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States Civic Center, Manhattan This imposing-neo-classical skyscraper, begun in 1933, was the last building designed by the noted American architect Cass Gilbert, who died in 1934 while the courthouse was under construction. It was completed by his son, Cass Gilbert, Jr. Gilbert was born in 1853 in Zanesville, Ohio, studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and then joined the prestigious firm of McKim, Mead & White as Stanford White's personal assistant. In 1882, he left New York to open his own architectural office in St. Paul, Minnesota, where his best known work was the State Capitol, designed in 1896 and completed in 1903. After he won the competition of 1905 for the United States Custom House at Bowling Green—now a designated New York City Landmark—he moved back to this city. With the completion of the Woolworth Building in 1913—then and for many years the tallest building in the world—he gained international fame. The innovations necessary for the construction of such a high building reflected his lifelong interest in structural techniques. Among his best known later buildings are the West Virginia State Capitol, the Detroit Public Library, the United States Chamber of Commerce and the United States Supreme Court in Washington, D. C., the New York County Lawyers' Association Building, another New York City Landmark, and the New York Life Insurance Building. Gilbert felt that the key to good architecture was proportion. By this he meant not only the ratio of various elements to each other, but also the amount of decoration, and a style that was appropriate to the building's function. It was not then considered inappropriate for a commercial skyscraper, such as the Woolworth Building, to be a neo-Gothic structure—it was, after all, a cathedral of commerce—but it was generally assumed that a government building, such as a state capitol or a courthouse, should be classical in style. This solution to the problem of the skyscraper worked very well in the design of the United States Courthouse. As seen from a distance, it is the tower of the building, with its golden pyramidal roof, that dominates. From Foley Square, the monumental colonnade at the entrance is the dominant architectural feature, in the tradition of the adjoining New York County Courthouse and the Municipal Building. Interestingly enough, this colonnade theme is repeated in the arrangement of stilts supporting the new annex to the United States Courthouse located on Police Plaza. Following the principles of classical architecture, the building is divided into three parts, reflecting the principal features of a column: the base, the shaft, and the capital. The base of the courthouse Is irregularly shaped, express ing the shape of the lot. The back of the building, toward Cardinal Place, is rounded, and the facades on Pearl Street and Police Plaza each have a pair of engaged columns flanked by pilasters. These are all narrow streets, however, and it is the colonnaded portico on the Foley Square front of the building that forms the visual base of the entire composition. Here, the building projects slightly forward, emphasizing the base in relation to the shaft or tower above it. The portico, approached by a broad flight of steps, is supported by a colonnade consisting of ten four-story high unfluted Corinthian columns and is flanked by piers framed by pilasters. A frieze above bears the Inscription United States Court House. This entablature, adorned with guilloche motifs above the piers t each end, is surmounted by a dentiled cornice and a low attic story pierced by square windows separated by carved pilasters. At each end of the attic story there is a man's head carved in bas-relief. A bronze flagpole rises above the Reenter of this base section of the building. The square main tower is set back from this base and rises twenty stories above it. The first sixteen stories are given vertical emphasis by the shafts on each side, which separate the tiers of windows. The windows are separated horizontally from each other by rectangular spandrel panels. Surmounting the seventeenth story, a dentiled cornice sets off the three stories above it, which are treated as a unit. The lowest of these three floors, with small square windows, acts as a visual base for the other two which have high round-arched windows surmounted by small square ones, separated and enhanced by two-story pilasters. The end bays at the corners are of solid masonry pierced by slit windows. This section is crowned by a pierced stone parapet with urns at the corners emphasizing the setback of the tower section above it. The setback portion, supporting the pyramidal roof, rises behind the parapet and in its enrichment may be considered the capital of the columnar form. Five bays on each side provide depth: the windows are separated by three-story high, engaged Ionic columns with paired pilasters lending solidity to the corners. A shallow cornice and low attic story crowns the topmost section of the tower with eagles at the corners connected by simple low parapets. These elements form the' base for the pyramidal roof which is adorned with gold leaf. At the base of the roof, a small pedimented dormer lends emphasis at the center of each side, while three tiers of diminutive dormers adorn the upper portions of the sides. The pyramidal roof is crowned by a small gold-leafed lantern which has a railing at its base and is crowned by corner finials and a steep roof with an oblong finial. FINDINGS AND DESIGNATIONS On the basis of a careful consideration of the history, the architecture and other features of this building, the Landmarks Preservation Commission finds that the United States Courthouse has a special character, special historical and aesthetic interest and value as part of the development, heritage and cultural characteristics of New York City. The Commission further finds that, among its important qualities, the United States Courthouse is one of the most imposing skyscrapers of the 1930s, that it was designed in the neo-classical governmental style of the period by the architect Cass Gilbert, best remembered for the Woolworth Building, that the main shaft of the courthouse rises above an impressive portico which provides an architectural focus for Foley Square, and that it is in the tradition of the adjoining government buildings, the New York County Courthouse and the Municipal Building. - From the 1975 NYCLPC Landmark Designation Report
NYC: New York County Courthouse and Triumph of Human Spirit
Made by wallyg
The Supreme Courthouse (New York County Court) overlooks Foley Square and is located between Worth and Pearl Streets. The building houses the Supreme Court and the Office of the County Clerk. In 1927 the New York County Court moved from the old Tweed Courthouse to this spacious granite-faced building. The Boston architect Guy Lowell won a competition in 1913 with a design for a round building. Construction was delayed and the design altered to a hexagonal form; work finally began in 1919. The Roman classical style chosen was popular for courthouse architecture in the first decades of the 20th century. The courthouse was the first major New York commission for the well-known Boston architect Guy Lowell (1870-1927). He designed the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the building plan for Philips Academy at Andover, Massachusetts. He was also a landscape architect and designed formal gardens for Andrew Carnegie and J. Pierpont Morgan in New York. The courthouse rises above a 100-foot wide flight of steps to an imposing colonnade of 10 granite fluted Corinthian columns. Above the columns are engraved words of George Washington: The true administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good government. Above this is a triangular pediment, 140-feet long, with 14 classical figures in high relief. Along the huge roofline are three statues representing Law, Truth and Equity. All of the pediment sculpture was carved by Frederick Warren Allen. The monument Triumph of the Human Spirit by Lorenzo Pace is the world’s largest site-specific installation venerating the experience of African American enslavement. Towering over fifty feet and weighing more than 300 tons, the massive black granite sculpture was built near a rediscovered African burial ground. The sculpture depicts an abstract female antelope form, mounted on a boat shaped base. The piece is inspired by “Chi Wara,” an antelope effigy from West Africa that symbolizes a responsibility for continuing the next generation and for celebrating a successful harvest. Triumph of the Human Spirit serves as a monument to honor all Africans brought to America but is also dedicated to all ancestors, as well as the future generations to come. Foley Square is named for Thomas F. “Big Tom” Foley (1852-1925), a prominent Democratic Party leader from the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Foley left school at the age of thirteen to support his widowed mother, working for a period as a blacksmith’s helper. In 1877 he began his active connection with politics as a Tammany election district captain and rose to be First Assembly District leader.
Made by Emilio Guerra
Civic Center, Manhattan The New York City Hall is the most beautiful city hall in the United states. It was designed in competition in the Federal Style of architecture with considerable French influence. It is basiMlly C-shaped in plan with two end wings projected forward at the front. This fine marble building consists of two stories above a high basement. At the center an attic story rises above the main roof level and is surmounted by a handsome domed cupola. In front of the central section, of the building, an imposing porch with columns rises above a sweuping flight of stairs which approach it from three sides. The roof of the porch, with a railing (balustrade), forms an open deck in front of five large arched windows set between columns. The great size of these second floor windows relative to the masonry surraunding them is reminiscent of the famous French palace greenhouses (orangeries) and represents a radical piece of design for this country in Federal times. Historically, City Hall is important as the building which, for over one hundred and fifty years, has been the seat of City government. Through its doors have passed all the great personages most intimately connected with the development of this City. Many portraits of these notables adorn its walls today. In addition it has done honor to the dead. The bodies of Lincoln and Grant have lain in state within its walls. The architectural importance of this building is to be found in its superb proportions and in the beautiful French detail of its exterior and central rotunda. This part of the design may be attributed to the French architect in producing this masterpiece. The more strictly Federal detail of the handsome interior rooms has been attributed to McComb and is typical of the Federal work being designed in this country at that time. - From the 1966 NYCLPC Landmark Designation Report
NYC: US Courthouse and Triumph of Human Spirit
Made by wallyg
The U.S. Courthouse was built as the Federal courthouse in New York City. Design work was started in 1933 and, after Cass Gilbert's (Woolworth Building) death the next year, supervised by his son until its completion in 1936. The six-storey base of the building is reminiscent of a Classical temple with its pilastered facades and colonnaded entrance, and rising from this is the sturdy 32-storey tower, topped by a pyramidal roof clad in gilded terra-cotta and a lantern. The monument Triumph of the Human Spirit by Lorenzo Pace is the world’s largest site-specific installation venerating the experience of African American enslavement. Towering over fifty feet and weighing more than 300 tons, the massive black granite sculpture was built near a rediscovered African burial ground. The sculpture depicts an abstract female antelope form, mounted on a boat shaped base. The piece is inspired by “Chi Wara,” an antelope effigy from West Africa that symbolizes a responsibility for continuing the next generation and for celebrating a successful harvest. Triumph of the Human Spirit serves as a monument to honor all Africans brought to America but is also dedicated to all ancestors, as well as the future generations to come. Foley Square is named for Thomas F. “Big Tom” Foley (1852-1925), a prominent Democratic Party leader from the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Foley left school at the age of thirteen to support his widowed mother, working for a period as a blacksmith’s helper. In 1877 he began his active connection with politics as a Tammany election district captain and rose to be First Assembly District leader.
Made by Mirka23
So, this photo is not the greatest quality, but what can you do? It's completely my fault - I had turned the flash off so that I could take pictures of the set without intruding, and it really should have been turned back on for this, because they had just finished shooting and the light was fading fast. Well, it captures the moment. And I have to add that I still think Sam Raimi is the nicest person in showbusiness. (I've heard rumors that he has become mean since his films got so successful, and I just don't believe it). I wasn't even going to bother him, because he looked so tired as he was leaving the set, but this couple approached him and he seemed ok with taking a picture with them, so I decided to go for it. I was trying to be extra polite, just in case, so I said Mr. Raimi, could I trouble you for a photo? and he said I would be honored. In the course of our very brief conversation I told him I was excited to see the movie and he thanked me for saying such nice things and I told him that I worked nearby and I enjoyed having the chance to see them film and he thanked me for coming down to the set!
New York County Courthouse (New York State Supreme Court)
Made by Emilio Guerra
Civic Center, Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States The portico on the front of this great courthouse creates an extremely imposing entrance with its monumental columns and pediment surmounted by three large, sculptured figures. The sides of the building repeat the scale of the portico with impressive pilasters set between the windows. The remarkable shape of this building is notable, and the courthouse relates well in scale with its neighbors on Foley Square. The handsome detail and use of fine materials characterize it as an outstanding example of Civic architecture. This good design resulted from a competition held by New York City. The hexagonal plan of this building alone gives it an unusual degree of importance. In addition to this feature, its imposing proportions and rich detail make it notable. It has an overall grandeur which is in keeping with its function in housing the New York State Supreme Court Judges for New York County. - From the 1966 NYCLPC Landmark Designation Report
United States Courthouse
Made by Emilio Guerra
Civic Center, Manhattan This imposing-neo-classical skyscraper, begun in 1933, was the last building designed by the noted American architect Cass Gilbert, who died in 1934 while the courthouse was under construction. It was completed by his son, Cass Gilbert, Jr. Gilbert was born in 1853 in Zanesville, Ohio, studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and then joined the prestigious firm of McKim, Mead & White as Stanford White's personal assistant. In 1882, he left New York to open his own architectural office in St. Paul, Minnesota, where his best known work was the State Capitol, designed in 1896 and completed in 1903. After he won the competition of 1905 for the United States Custom House at Bowling Green
Bodies of Pyongyang in Foley Square
Made by jnap
New York City, New York. Bodies of Pyongyang is a public visual art performance installation--twenty girls wear North Korean schoolgirl uniforms situated inside a (70x70x70) clear cube box installation, located at multiple outdoor venues across Manhattan. These tightly packed schoolgirls will try to move within the confined area expressing their emotional pain and struggle. Red strings symbolizing their dual inner states of suppression and resistance entangle the girls, further restricting their freedom to move inside this already constricting and hermetic space.
Triumph of the Human Spirit
Made by PunkElmo
from www.nycgovparks.org: Triumph of the Human Spirit Sculptor Lorenzo Pace, 2000 Foley Square, Manhattan Black granite Set at the center of a fountain, and rising nearly 50 feet into the air, this black granite abstract monument is derived from the antelope forms of Bambaran art. The horizontal boat-like feature that supports the sculpture alludes to the Middle Passage of the slave trade. The monument is built near the site of a Colonial-era African-American burial ground.
Buffered Centre Street Northbound Extension
Made by bicyclesonly
A pleasant surprise to find that this extension of the Centre Street bike lane north of the Brooklyn Bridge plaza is proceeding apace. It serves as the northbound counterpart to the downtown Lafayette segment, another sign that DoT has figured out that standalone one-way routes do not a connected system make. It's a small buffer, but better than none. and I hope they plan to keep the cones/barrels in places (or better yet, replace them with plastic bollards!)
Made by Mirka23
After work I went by the Spiderman set again, and they were filming this closeup scene of a female reporter. It was kind of funny to see it in person, because they background artists were instructed to act like they were cheering, but not make any noise. So, they were all silently waving their signs around, and throwing their arms in the air. Topher Grace was also in the scene, but you can't see him in this photo.
NYC - Civic Center: Foley Square
Made by wallyg
Foley Square is named for Thomas F. “Big Tom” Foley (1852-1925), a prominent Democratic Party leader from the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Foley left school at the age of thirteen to support his widowed mother, working for a period as a blacksmith’s helper. In 1877 he began his active connection with politics as a Tammany election district captain and rose to be First Assembly District leader.
Made by Patja
Linda Sarsour, New York Immigration Coalition and Arab-American Asssociation of New York. She spoke at a May Day rally downtown New York City, 2011. Photographer Pat Arnow's website.
Playing in the Fountain
Made by stormdog42
My brother plays with one of the spray nozzles at the Triumph of the Human Spirit sculpture and fountain (which he and I, not knowing the actual name, decided was the Giant Middle Finger of Justice, given it's proximity to the Manhattan courthouses.)
Made by sjmgarnier
Where: In Foley Square in downtown Manhattan, New York, USA. When: Beginning of September 2011. What: A skater taking a break from practice to talk with me. Look at it on my website
Made by Mirka23
In between shots, there's Tobey Maguire. And you can see the back of Sam Raimi's head as he does the director thing. There's a guy on the right that looks a lot like Topher Grace, but I'm pretty sure it's not him. Maybe it's his stand-in.
Tobey, Sam & Kirsten
Made by Mirka23
This shot has all three of them in it - Tobey Maguire, Sam Raimi, & Kirsten Dunst. You can't reallly see Kirsten because she's blocked by someone, but you can sort of see her skirt peeking out from behind the guy in the brown jacket.
Made by sjmgarnier
Where: In Foley Square in downtown Manhattan, New York, USA. When: Beginning of September 2011. What: A group of skaters practicing their tricks. Look at it on my website
Ilene Kahn, New York Teacher
Made by Patja
I believe in Unions, she says at a May Day rally in Foley Square, downtown New York City, May 1, 2011. Photographer Pat Arnow's website.
Nearest places of interest:
|Triumph of the Human Spirit Memorial|
The Five Points
|Thomas Paine Park|
Collect Pond (site)
Broadway and Reade Street