This is the Scarface of skyscrapers.
I was lucky enough to be able to go to the observatory at the top a few years ago. The views are beyond description.
In March, 1927, Thomas J. George presented a plan to redevelop 60 Wall Street with a finned slab tower, and that October he enlarged the plan with a 60-story turreted tower, but the plan was rejected by city planners as too large for the site and Cities Service then decided to construct its new headquarters building across the street at 70 Pine Street.
"At night the Cities Service Building's pinnacle stood out in the floodlit glow of powerful 400-war Lucalox arc lamps, a profligacy of energy and light advertising the skyscraper on the metropolitan skyline, celebrating the modern 24-hour city, and honoring Cities Service's identity as an energy conglomerate," Mr. Abramson wrote.
The building has a 16,000-volume law library on its 29th floor, a gymnasium, a 400-seat basement restaurant, a barber shop, and a hat cleaning and shoeshine shop. The building, Mr. Abramson noted, had an all-female corps of elevator operators and "Legendarily they were all young redheads and during the Depression 'recruited largely from the ranks of unemployed showgirls.'" The building's lower six floors are serviced also by escalators.
Cities Service became Citgo and moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma and in 1976 the skyscraper was sold to the American International Group insurance company.
View of observatory atop A.I.G. tower, which is has windows on all sides and corner balconies
It'll be interesting to see if this building hits the market. AIG is selling their HQ in Tokyo right now, which is supposed to fetch around 1 B.
From 60 Wall Tower at 70 Pine Street
JUNE 9, 1938. ABBOTT FILE L-15
Connected by a bridge to a low building at 60 Wall Street, the Cities Service Building at 70 Pine Street acquired the faux Wall Street address "60 Wall Tower." A month after photographing from the roof of One Wall Street, Abbott took her hand-held camera to the top of 60 Wall Tower, which, at 67 stories, was the tallest building in lower Manhattan. Although there was an enclosed public observation room, Abbott obtained permission to work from the room's balconies. Each of the three views from 60 Wall Tower were taken from a different balcony--under, over, or through the wrought iron Art Deco railing.
For Financial District Rooftops III, Abbott placed the camera under the balcony railing and faced northwest, toward Broadway and the Hudson River piers. On Cedar Street, below, were Chase National Bank (1931) and the Equitable Building (1915). On Liberty Street was the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank (1924), filling an entire trapezoid-shaped block; at 149 Broadway was Ernest Flagg's Singer Tower (1908), with its famous domed top; and at 140 West Street was the massive York Telephone Building (1928; upper right; see Lower East Side Plate 6). Later, Chase Manhattan Tower and Plaza (1960) dominated the view, with the World Trade Center's twin towers (1970s) in the background. The 47-story Singer Tower was the tallest building ever demolished, to make way for 1 Liberty Plaza (1974).
For Financial District Rooftops II, Abbott aimed over the balcony railing, southwest toward the Battery. The squat, ziggarat-topped building (center) is the Equitable Trust Company (1928) at 15 Broad Street; the smaller pyramid top (top left) belongs to the Standard Oil Company Building (1922) at 26 Broadway; and the imposing structure at 17 Battery Place (top center) is the Whitehall Building (1910). The office towers in this photograph still stand, but the view is blocked by the bulky Morgan Bank Headquarters (1988) at 60 Wall Street. With the removal of the bridge connecting 60 Wall Street to 70 Pine Street, the name "60 Wall Tower" was discarded.
Looking northwest (City Arabesque), Abbott saw in the distance (from left to right) City Hall Park, the back of the Municipal Building (1914), and the approach ramp of the Brooklyn Bridge. Directly below (lower right), the Third Avenue El moved north on Pearl Street from the financial district to the low-roofed tenements of the Lower East Side. Less dynamic than the southerly views, City Arabesque was enlivened by the Art Deco balcony of 60 Wall Tower. Abbott's photograph, which imposes the balcony's rhythmic contours against the urban checkerboard below, distills 60 Wall Tower's "jazz Gothic" style.Today, the skyscrapers in this view remain, but the tenements have been replaced by the Southbridge Towers housing project (1969), Pace University (1970), and new bridge approaches (1983).
This has always been one of my favorite towers. It will be interesting to see what happens after AIG's reckoning is complete. Rentals?
I doubt it. More likely sale and leaseback.
Hopefully at some point it will be converted to residential, and hopefully by that time I will be rich enough to buy the penthouse.
. . . and throw fabulous parties. Yes, I accept. Please send the invitation at your earliest opportunity.
It would have been nice to see more jumpers from the executive suites at this building as AIG was in meltdown. Such a lost opportunity.