Tag Archives: Richard Morris Hunt

Old New York In Postcards #12 – 20 Historic Buildings That Were Demolished

20 Historic, Beautiful New York Buildings That Were Demolished

City Hall Newspaper Row Buildings (l-r) World Building (aka Pulitzer Building), Sun Building, Tribune Building - all demolished. New York Times and Potter Buildings are still extant

City Hall Newspaper Row Buildings (l-r) World Building (aka Pulitzer Building), Sun Building, Tribune Building – all demolished. New York Times and Potter Buildings are still extant

New York City real estate developers will always knock down a building if a buck can be made. So it really should come as no surprise that these buildings were demolished because they outlived their usefulness or more often than not, the land they sat upon was deemed more valuable than the building itself.

Nathan Silver’s must-own book, Lost New York (1967) Houghton Mifflin, was the first book to explicitly point out what New York City had lost architecturally over the years. If you have never read it, you should.

For our short postcard essay, there are hundreds of examples we could have chosen from and we picked 20. We omitted places of worship, theatres and restaurants which are the most transitory of buildings.

We’ve covered hotels before, and we could do another story on all the historic hotels that have been torn down, but we’ve included a few in this retrospective.

Rather than comment extensively on the buildings, a brief summary will suffice and the images should convey what we have lost. These postcards have been scanned at 1200 dpi in high resolution, click on any postcard to enlarge.

Singer Building hresSinger Building – 149 Broadway (corner Liberty Street),  A gem by architect Ernest Flagg, built 1908. Once the tallest building in the world. The Singer Building was elegant and sleek. Demolished 1967-68 and replaced by a ugly box of a building built by the Unites States Steel Corporation.

Produce Exchange hresProduce Exchange – 2 Broadway between Beaver and Stone Streets. Architect George B. Post’s splendid work of grace was built in 1883, demolished 1957.

Gillender Building 2 hresGillender Building – northwest corner Wall Street and Nassau Street. Architects, Charles I. Berg and Edward H. Clark, built in 1897 at a cost of $500,000. The Gillender Building was the tallest office building in the world for a brief time. The 20-story tower lasted only 13 years. In 1910 it was the first modern fireproof building to be demolished and it was done at breakneck speed, in under 45 days. The Gillender Building was replaced by the Bankers Trust Tower. Continue reading

Old New York in Postcards #5 – Broadway & Fifth Avenue

Postcards of Old New York –  Featuring Broadway and Fifth Avenue

These postcards generally depict New York from 1900 – 1920. We are concentrating this batch on the well traveled areas of Broadway and Fifth Avenue.

pc Broadway S Warren St

As the brief description on the card says we are looking south and east along Broadway from Warren Street. The trees on the left belong to City Hall Park. The wide building with the large central rotunda is the main branch of the General Post Office, which was demolished in 1938. Behind the Post Office stands The Park Row Building, which at 391 feet was the tallest office building in the world when completed in 1899. The Singer Building surpassed the height of The Park Row Building in 1908. To the right of The Park Row Building stands the 26 story St. Paul Building built in 1907 and demolished in 1958.

Interesting to note: the flags are at half-staff on the Postal Telegraph and Cable Company Building on the right. Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #14

The Old Men And Women’s Hospital (Presbyterian Hospital) Circa 1872

This photograph is from a stereoview which captioned the Presbyterian Hospital as “the old men and women’s hospital.” This photo was taken by E. & H.T. Anthony Co. about 1872, shortly before the hospital’s first complex of buildings was completed.  The hospital was built by the leading architect of the day, Richard Morris Hunt. Though you cannot tell from the black and white photograph, the contrasting color scheme had bricks that were very red and others that were pale.

Extending from 70th to 71st Streets and occupying the entire block from Madison Avenue to Fourth Avenue (later renamed Park Avenue), the land was donated by philanthropist James Lenox.  The Lenox Hill neighborhood surrounding this portion of the upper east side is named after merchant Robert Lenox, James Lenox’s father.

In 1868, Lenox had gathered a group of prominent Presbyterian’s to join him in building and managing the new church affiliated hospital.   In 19th century New York it was common for hospitals to be affiliated with religious institutions for the care of their own. This would not affect who the hospitals would see, as they would often apply a nonsectarian policy.

According to King’s Handbook of New York for 1892, the hospital was true to remaining non-denominational with less than ten percent of the patients being Presbyterian. One truly amazing statistic, in 1891, of the 3,300 patients cared for, 3,200 were treated gratuitously and scarcely more than $3,000 was received from paying patients!

The hospital stayed open until March 29, 1928 when it moved all of its patients to its new state of the art facility Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in Washington Heights. The old hospital buildings were immediately demolished and soon after replaced by apartment buildings and private homes.