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Thread: The Times Square Building - 229 W 43rd St -by Mortimer Fox*Ludlow&Peabody*Albert Kahn

  1. #1

    Default The Times Square Building - 229 W 43rd St -by Mortimer Fox*Ludlow&Peabody*Albert Kahn

    Sorry if there is an existing thread for this, I've tried to search and keep getting logged off.

  2. #2


    Ideas & Trends

    The New York Times Company Archives
    THE ‘FACTORY’ It has something of the look of a French chateau, but inside it hummed like a machine.

    Published: June 10, 2007

    LISTEN. The sound is muffled by wall-to-wall carpet tiles and fabric-lined cubicles. But it’s still there, embedded in the concrete and steel sinews of the old factory at 229 West 43rd Street, where The New York Times was written and edited yesterday for the last time.

    It is the sound of news, dispatched to and from the third-floor newsroom since 1913, the first year of Woodrow Wilson’s presidency. It is the noise of physical exertion: the staccato rapping of manual typewriters, hundreds of them; the insistent chatter of news-agency teleprinters, marshaled by the dozens. It is bells and loudspeakers, the cry of “Copy!” to summon youngsters who carried each page of a reporter’s story across the room to impatient editors, and the whoosh of cylinders pulsing through pneumatic tubes overhead with edited copy on its way to the fourth-floor composing room.

    There, on clattering line-casting machines, words were turned into molten metal, letter by letter, then set by hand into page forms. Molds of these pages were dropped down chutes to the basement pressroom and used to cast semicylindrical printing plates. When the order was given to “Let go,” a seemingly endless web of newsprint began rolling up from the subbasement to stream through the presses at such roaring speed that the whole 15-story building trembled and — it was said — The Times’s ordinarily fearless mouse population grew deeply agitated.

    Compounding the cacophony were hissing air brakes and rumbling engines, the boom of newsprint rolls arriving at the truck bays, followed a few hours later by the thwack of newspaper bales on their way out, accompanied by a crazy chorus of horns as cars and pedestrians tried to make their way past a factory in the middle of the theater district.

    Manufacturing demands affected more than traffic. They dictated the presentation of news. Given the amount of labor, energy and material needed, it simply wasn’t practical to produce a news report more than once a day. So a 24-hour rhythm, the rhythm of a factory, shaped how we all worked, how we conceived of news as something that could be encompassed daily and ordered rationally, since we typically had a few hours to collect our thoughts and put the latest bulletins in some perspective.

    The era of Underwoods and Linotypes ended in 1978, when The Times converted to computerized typesetting. And the presses on 43rd Street last thundered almost exactly a decade ago, on June 15, 1997.

    Tomorrow’s news report will come from 620 Eighth Avenue, between 40th and 41st Streets, a 52-story steel-and-glass office tower clad in a floating skin of horizontal white ceramic rods. Its chief architect, Renzo Piano, describes it in terms of lightness, transparency and immateriality.

    That doesn’t sound much like an old-fashioned newspaper.

    Of course, this is precisely the point. With The Times’s own Web site regularly leaping ahead of the newspaper to stay competitive on the Internet, the once-a-day production cycle seems increasingly like a relic.

    Lost for the moment in a world of orange packing crates, my colleagues and I are also wrestling with the implications of this greater shift. Having the newspaper manufactured under our feet gave the whole enterprise a special sense of gravity. And the factory served as a reminder even after the printing process moved to College Point, Queens.

    But how can The Times maintain its gravity in the ether? How will it fulfill a commitment to thoroughness, accuracy and detachment if a premium is placed on speed, color and buzz? Can be produced to exactly the same standards as The New York Times? Should it be? If not, what will the new standards be?

    And what will happen to that perishable, inky, labor-intensive, energy-consuming, tree-swallowing, three-dimensional commodity whose production lay at the heart of 229 West 43rd Street? How much longer will the newspaper itself exist?

    Certainly, The Times has reinvented itself before. But it always kept one eye on tradition. History meant something here. Even younger staff members knew, for instance, of the legendary editor who could decipher Einstein equations and Egyptian hieroglyphs. (He was Carr V. Van Anda, and he was the managing editor when The Times moved to 43rd Street. His office was 15 feet from where I sit. It’s now a vending-machine canteen.)

    Newspaper people are not usually sentimental, but there has been a hint of wistfulness on the third floor lately. It’s not nostalgia. It is, I think, a sense of some uncertainty as to whether the Times traditions can survive a move from the home in which they were shaped. Mr. Piano calls his new building a “factory for news,” but it is really more a laboratory. We don’t know yet whether the transition will liberate us or leave us unmoored.

    We do know, however, that it will be much quieter on West 43rd Street.

    Just listen.

    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

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    Turning the Page on a Newspaper's Former Heaquarters

    Staff Reporter of the Sun
    January 17, 2008

    The owners of the former headquarters of the New York Times are planning to transform garages that many years ago housed printing presses into cafés and clothing stores, and to revive the façade with signs, a new five-story clock, and a series of mirrors to reflect the lights of Times Square.

    Africa Israel USA bought the 18-story building at 229 W. 43rd St. last year for $525 million from Tishman Speyer, which had purchased it from the New York Times in 2004 for $175 million. The newspaper relocated to 620 Eighth Ave. last year.

    The new owner is calling it the Times Square Building, and is in the beginning phases of transforming the historic property into 600,000 square feet of modern offices and 200,000 square feet of retail space.

    While the front of the building, at 43rd Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues, is landmarked and will maintain the recognizable New York Times clock, the back side of the building, at 44th Street, will be completely revamped.

    "The 43rd Street side is a good space for very exclusive restaurants and specialty retail," Joshua Strauss, a managing director at Robert K. Futterman & Associates, which is heading up the retail leasing for the space, said. "On the 44th Street side, we are thinking of a big-box tenant or something with an entertainment side."

    Africa Israel USA plans to open the ground floor and second floor retail space on West 44th Street by installing large windows, and it has sent marketing materials to T.J. Maxx, Target, and Century 21, Mr. Strauss said.

    The building's two facades are being designed by Gensler Associates.

    The West 43rd Street side "will have an elaborate lobby for the office building and a historic façade," a design principal working on the project, Lance Boge, said. "The design and retail will be working within those parameters."

    On Shubert Alley, as West 44th Street is known, there will be more dramatic changes

    "We really want to activate the dead side of Shubert Alley," Mr. Boge said. "It was sort of a back street, a late addition with no character."

    Gensler has designed a series of perpendicular mirrors that would reflect light from Times Square onto the street, as well as a five- or six-story backlit, crushed-aluminum clock, Mr. Boge said.

    "What we wanted to do is use the mirrors, not literally to pull a picture of Times Square, but the reflective colors of it," he said. "We believe it will be a distinctive façade experience that is very different than anywhere else in the city."

    They are also examining ways to enliven the "bland brick" of the West 44th Street side, including covering it in metal panels that form a design.

    The chief executive of Africa Israel USA, Rotem Rosen, said many large retail tenants have begun inquiring about the space.

    "This will be a space where people can stop in before work and come to relax during their lunch break," he said. "It will be one of the first of its kind in the area."

    Africa Israel USA will be relocating its headquarters to the building.

    Copyright 2008 The New York Sun

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    I have never seen this side-view pic of the old Times building. It is so closed in today and difficult to appreciate fully. Just beautiful.

    Note the Hotel Astor in the distance. What a great loss.

  5. #5


    I am a bit worried about covering the "Bland Brick" on the 44th St. side, with metal panels. It's hard to imagine what that would look like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fabrizio View Post
    Note the Hotel Astor in the distance. What a great loss.
    About that time, they were also hard at work deconstructing the Savoy Plaza, the Singer Building and Penn Station. It was the year to trash obsolete Beaux-Arts buildings and replace them with the clean and modern.

    Wait ... there are still some left ! Wouldn't it be nice to see something glassy and tall in place of dirty, dumpy Hotel Pennsylvania?

  7. #7
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    A great place for viewing the north facade of the old Times building is from the outside terraces at the AMC Empire 25 Movie Theaters on 42nd Street ...

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  8. #8


    What beautiful detail this building has.

    Thanks Lofter.

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc View Post
    About that time, they were also hard at work deconstructing the Savoy Plaza, the Singer Building and Penn Station. It was the year to trash obsolete Beaux-Arts buildings and replace them with the clean and modern.

    Wait ... there are still some left ! Wouldn't it be nice to see something glassy and tall in place of dirty, dumpy Hotel Pennsylvania?
    I am in favour of saving the Penn but I dont think its in the same league as those other buildings you mention, IMO.

  10. #10


    Slideshow: The New York Times Building, Under (Re)-Construction

    by Tom Acitelli | June 25, 2008

    Photos by Gloria Ybarra

    We got a tour of 229 West 43rd Street, the headquarters of The New York Times from 1913 until June 9, 2007, when the paper was written and edited in the building for the last time. The Times moved its operations to a new tower nearby at Eighth Avenue and 43rd Street.

    The 500,000-square-foot building is being gut renovated by its owner, an investment company controlled by billionaire Lev Leviev, and marketed for leasing by brokerage CB Richard Ellis.

    The photo of the gaping space with the yellow 150 sign is the old basement, where the paper was printed. There’s also a photo of the 11th floor (that’s basically all white), where the phone switchboard used to be.

    And a photo of renovated windows; and of the old wood-paneled boardroom.

    We’re tempted to wax poetic about the impermanence of ... something?

    But we won’t.

    Use link below for photographs.

    © 2008 Observer Media Group,

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    September 23, 2008, 2:46 pm

    Signs of Change, in Lights, for Times Square

    By David W. Dunlap

    Combined rendering and photograph shows the rooftop of 229 West 43rd Street as it would appear with a sign proposed by the owner, Africa Israel USA. (Rendering: Adamson Associates Architects)

    Incongruous it may have been, but the chateau-like rooftop of the old New York Times headquarters at 229 West 43rd Street once helped light up the night sky over Times Square. In fact, if there was a question about where you were, seven-foot-seven-inch-high electric signs perched on each side of the tower — “TIMES” — would have cleared it up.

    The Times dismantled the signs four decades before it left the building. On Tuesday, the new owner of 229 West 43rd Street, Africa Israel USA, will seek permission from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to return electric signs to a 17th-floor parapet at the base of the building’s crowning, copper-topped tower. The signs will carry the name of a “TENANT” in the building, which Africa Israel is now reconstructing as office and retail space.

    The new signs will be no taller than the old ones, according to plans filed with the commission, but they could be wider, though they would not exceed the width of the tower behind them. No color or typeface is specified.

    Africa Israel is also seeking permission to replace the 45-year-old digital clock over the building’s main entrance with a more traditional timepiece, eight feet in diameter, vaguely recalling an earlier Times clock that was destroyed by fire in 1962. The new clock, however, will bear the name of Lev Leviev, the Israeli billionaire and majority owner of Africa Israel. Not just once, but four times. With interlocking L’s, framed in light-emitting diodes.

    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

  12. #12


    Rendering ha!

  13. #13
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    in Limbo


    I'd like to see what that new clock looks like though.

  14. #14
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    That old digital clock was often my timepiece of choice when running about that part of town.

    I've never seen pictures of the one that was there originally. Could be a good a addition to bring back something similar.

  15. #15


    Old news I know but a better photograph.

    Sign for The Times: Landlord Leviev Adding 32-Foot Sign to 229 West 43rd

    by Dana Rubinstein | September 23, 2008

    This article was published in the September 29, 2008, edition of The New York Observer.

    The old Times tower sign.

    The onetime home of the Old Gray Lady will get some fancy new signage, thanks to a plan put forth by landlord </SPAN>Africa-Israel to erect a 32-foot-long and more than seven-foot-tall sign at the base of the clock tower toward the top of the old New York Times building and to replace the tower’s digital clock face with an analog clock.

    The plan, which was unanimously approved by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission on Wednesday, would erect the sign in the same spot where the old one once hung, emblazoned with “Times.” The future tenant of the building at 229 West 43rd Street, now undergoing a $175 million renovation by Africa Israel (now known as AFIUSA and controlled by Israeli Lev Leviev), will likewise get its name in backlit lighting.

    The New York Times occupied the building from 1913 to 2007, at which point it relocated to its new Renzo Piano-designed headquarters on Eighth Avenue. The paper’s former digs, totaling 767,000 square feet, are one of the few large chunks of office spaces available in midtown.

    The Historic Districts Council, which describes the building as a “neo-Gothic-style skyscraper,” said in a statement that, while the building would forever be known as “The Times Building,” it approved of the proposal since “its style, size, placement and usage are all reminiscent of the old sign.”

    The preservationists were less impressed with the clock face, suggesting the design was more appropriate for an upscale department store and encouraging AFIUSA to take “cues from the c.1945 photo that shows a square frame, illuminated Arabic numerals, and illuminated arms.”

    © 2008 Observer Media Group,

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