Travel to U.S.: East: Manhattan: Wall Street Goes Residential
The mighty masonry piles of Wall Street never die, they just become apartment buildings.
Begin with a running start: this is St. Paul's Chapel, Manhattan's only remaining colonial church. The builders knew their classical monuments, and up top they put a steeple modeled on Greece's Choragic Monument of Lysicrates (see Greece: Modern Athens, photo 10).
The church seen from the west. The stone is schist quarried on the site, except for the steeple, which was added in 1796, roughly 30 years after the rest of the church, and is of brownstone.
It's not only the building that radiates mastery of a stylistic tradition. This epitaph is so rhetorically balanced that it verges into formulaic blandness.
A few blocks away and across from the New York Stock Exchange, Federal Hall appears almost as old as St. Paul's. It dates from 1700, but the classical facade was added much later, in 1842, during the national craze for Greek Revival (and the year when that phrase was coined). The statue of Washington marks the site of his inauguration.
The rear side. As the steeple of St. Paul's echoed the monument of Lysicrates, so this building is a near-copy of the Parthenon, minus the sculptures.
Bolted to the building is this reminder that the settling of the Midwest began with decisions right here.
Kitty-corner to Federal Hall, the New York Stock Exchange, completed in 1903, demonstrates how askew architectural traditions can go. Yes, it has pediment sculture like its model in Athens, but the columns are jacked up so that nobody can enter the buildling by walking between them.
Behind Federal Hall, the old Chase Manhattan Bank at 20 Pine does away with most of the classical dressing. It also has lost its namesake tenant. And so?
The Merchant's Exchange, at 55 Wall Street, was begun in 1841 by Isaiah Rogers and replaced a building destroyed by fire in 1835. The new building became the Custom House in 1863.
The lower columns are monoliths, unlike Federal Hall (or the Parthenon, for that matter). Sixty years later, the First National Bank, which occupied the building at that time, ordered a second story from McKim, Mead & White. You mean you didn't notice that the two rows of columns don't match? Now you know why they don't. Inside, the main banking hall is described in the AIA guide as "a facility unequaled in America." That view has been almost entirely lost, now that the building has been converted to residential use under the name Cipriani.
The view down Broad, with the old Chase Manhattan building behind Federal Hall and the stock exchange barely visible to its left. On the right here, the five story J.P. Morgan building of 1914 and, closer, the 42-story Equitable Trust Building, now Starck's Downtown.
For almost 70 years after its completion in 1902, this building at 25 Broad Street was Paine Webber's headquarters. Now it's been redeveloped by Swig Equities as 346 apartments.
The nearby Woolworth Building, completed in 1913, was sold by Woolworth in 1998 to Witkoff Group, which set out to convert it to apartments.
Some of those apartments will have better views than others.
They'll all share an opulent entry.
To its north, a grim exercise in mimicry, like a digital copy of a great singer's voice. The building, at 250 Broadway, was designed by Emery Roth and completed in 1962. Ironically, it houses the city's housing authority.
Across the Hudson River, a tower by Cesar Pelli rises at 30 Hudson Street and houses Goldman Sachs.
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