Woolworth Building

A towering paean to neo-Gothic architecture, the Woolworth Building has been part of the New York City skyline since 1913. For seventeen years it was the tallest building in the world, supplanting the Met Life Tower till it was supplanted in 1930 by 40 Wall Street and the Chrysler Building. At 57 stories, the building is still one of the tallest buildings in the United States. Its style is so reminiscent of old Gothic cathedrals that it was dubbed “The Cathedral of Commerce.”

The Woolworth Building was commissioned by Frank Woolworth, founder of the Woolworth Company, but he didn’t have as free a hand in the construction as he wanted to, despite paying $13,500,000 in cash. The Irving Trust Bank was a tenant in the Woolworth Building and its president, Lewis Pierson, also wanted a say in how the building was constructed. Woolworth and Pierson fought for years, but this didn’t stop architect Cass Gilbert. Gilbert went through plan after plan for the building till he decided on the one that stands now.

Other tenants in the building besides the Irving Trust Bank have been Columbia Records, Fordham University and New York University.

The building's at 233 Broadway, right across from City Hall. It's known around the world for its spectacular lobby, which gleams with Greek marble, mosaics, murals, bronze accents and a stunning, soaring skylight.


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