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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE NEW ZEALAND FOREST, c. 1950

Gotham Grows Up: 1913

Gotham Grows Up: 1913

The Woolworth Building under construction in 1913. One hundred years later, the top 30 floors of the former department store headquarters are being converted to 40 luxury apartments, with a five-story penthouse in the cupola. Other New York landmarks in this view include City Hall Park and its post office, as well as the Singer and Park Row towers. 8x10 glass negative. View full size.

 

Why did the West Side never develop?

I've never understood why Broadway was utterly lined with tall buildings but everything west of Church is short. Why did no one buy the land a few blocks west of the area from City Hall down to Wall Street and build tall structures there?

If Only

I don't know about the rest of you, but I would love to live at the top of the Woolworth Building.

I was in the "penthouse"

We used to go on "building adventures" before the high security in office lobbies took effect back in the 80s and found our way to the top of some of these old classics. I remember finding that staircase which went to the very top of the Woolworth Building and looking out those windows, was awesome.

Changing Manhattan

Pre 9/11 the Woolworth building folks were never the friendliest lot. Looks like Verizon is going the same route. Verizon has announced plans to sell/lease the majority of 140 West Street (another persona not grata lobby) for residential use. It has a lobby that comes close to the Woolworth's.

The worst building management anywhere

The management company that operates the building today is the target of much dislike, if not outright hatred. They refuse to let anyone see the beautiful lobby, posting "No tourists allowed" signs at the entrances along with scowling guards. All this despite the fact that as a landmark there is supposed to be public access to the lobby.

I'll Never Live There!

From: www.gothamist.com:

And suddenly, those fancy $100 million apartments on 57th Street look positively quaint. Because BOOM, whoever gets the penthouse apartment in the now-officially-going-residential Woolworth Building clearly wins at New York real estate. Hands down.

After years of rumor and speculation, the Witkoff Group and Cammeby have sold the top 30 floors of the iconic tower to an investment group led by Alchemy Properties with the intention that they will turn it into apartments (the lower 28 floors will be leased as office space). And oh, sweet Peter Stuyvesant, we want to go to there:

Penthouses in the building once called the “Cathedral of Commerce” will be among the highest-altitude residences in the city, soaring above 700 feet. A five-level penthouse of around 8,000 square feet will be housed in the copper-clad cupola that tops out at 792 feet. Originally designed as a public observation area, the cupola has a wraparound outdoor deck reached by a private elevator.

Apartments will begin at 350 feet above ground level, with panoramic views and 11'-14' ceiling heights, when they are completed (in theory by 2015). Oh and that is not all. The $150 million conversion (which includes the $68 million purchase price) will also include restoring the 55-foot-long basement swimming pool for the residents. And, and, and... ugh, anybody want to go halfsies—or, more realistically, fiftysies? We could handle going SRO in that building—on one of those apartments with us? They are estimated to go for only about $3,000 per square foot.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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