360° Panoramic View of New York City From The New York World Building in 1892
Stitching together 10 separate photographs from King’s Handbook of New York City (1892) as best I could, this image gives us a 360 degree view of New York City.
Taken from atop Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World Building, you can get a sense of what the entire city looked like before the turn-of-the-century, when the skyscraper emerged and would forever alter the skyline. A golden dome topped Pulitzer’s Building with an observation gallery that gave the visitor the following view.
(click to get the full size view)
At 309 feet, the World Building designed by George B. Post was the tallest office building in the world when completed in 1890.
Think about that for a minute. Just 26 floors. From the building’s foundation to the top of its flagstaff it measured 375½ feet. At the time that height was an outstanding architectural achievement.
The second floor of the beehive, as the interior of the dome of the World Building was known to its employees, also contained Joseph Pulitzer’s office. Here is how the New York World described the top of its own building just after its completion:
The Gided Dome is the feature of the great structure that indelibly impresses itself on the public mind. It is the first glimpse of New- York that the ocean voyager gets. The traveler coming down the Sound sees its outlines towering above everything else against the southern sky. From Jersey’s shores, from Brooklyn Heights, from the beach of Staten Island, from points far remote, it is first discerned as one approaches New -York looming above the busy metropolis, above Trinity’s lofty spire, above the tall towers and high roofs of its neighbors— a giant among the giants.
From this tip-top point of the Pulitzer building one gets a far more extended view of the American metropolis and its environs than was ever possible before. The horizon is forty-five miles away, and on a clear day, with a powerful telescope, one can discern the smoke-stacks of the ocean steamers well out to sea. The Palisades, the high hills of the Hudson, and the Brooklyn Heights are dwarfed from this lofty point of vantage. The great bridge towers, which from the river seem to pierce the sky, are now beneath the observer. The city itself, the harbor, and the confluent rivers are spread below like a living panorama.
While it would be interesting to compare this exact view from the same vantage point, it cannot be done. The World Building and its fabulous golden dome roof was demolished in 1955-56 to widen the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge.