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Thread: Woolworth Building - 233 Broadway - by Cass Gilbert

  1. #196


    I had my NYU classes just up those steps. Of course, the NYU portion is super modern and doesn't allow entry from the lobby, but at least one could get a good view from the classrooms inside.

  2. #197
    Forum Veteran TREPYE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Brooklyn, NY


    Cass Gilbert, a man of elegantly extravagant taste...

    Scouting NY.

  3. #198


    Such a shame if they kill the lighting. That reason alone makes me against any residential proposal.

    Is there a way to have both? Extra thick drapes as standard maybe?

    This would easily be THE place to live, over any new projects anywhere in town. One57 and 432 included.

  4. #199

  5. #200

    Default that last picture recent? If so, there's a big problem.

  6. #201


    Taken this past Friday. Tragic how the rain accentuates the differences between the original terra cotta and replacement concrete parts.

  7. #202


    OH, that's what the spotty discoloration is whenever wet weather hits: guess it has something to do with the relative porosity of the old and new terra cotta. Then again,maybe the new replacement material isn't even 'real' terra cotta.

    Looks like the Woolworth building has come down with a case of chicken pox.

  8. #203

  9. #204


    Everyone should check out this new exhibit at the Woolworth Building celebrating its centennial:

    The Woolworth Building @ 100
    FEBRUARY 27, 2013 through JULY 14, 2013

  10. #205
    Forum Veteran Tectonic's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    New York City


    Wow thanks.

  11. #206
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    Celebrating the Woolworth Building’s Centennial

    By EVE M. KAHN

    The New-York Historical Society bought this Tiffany silver
    bowl commemorating the opening of the Woolworth Building.

    Metropolitan Museum of Art
    A clock ornament once coveted by J. P. Morgan.

    Just in time for this spring’s centennial of the Woolworth Building in Manhattan, descendants of its architect, Cass Gilbert, put a commemorative Tiffany silver bowl on the market. The heirloom, which weighs about 15 pounds, was the retail tycoon Frank W. Woolworth’s gift to Gilbert at an opening gala for the 57-story terra-cotta skyscraper.

    On March 3 the Skinner auction house in Boston sold the bowl for about $42,000 to the New-York Historical Society, and it is already on view in the society’s lobby. The lot, which was expected to bring up to $50,000, included a 1913 book about the gala, with a menu recording servings of celery knob and Cotuit oysters.

    Tiffany silversmiths molded Gothic-inspired tracery around the bowl’s crenelated rim and engraved a silhouette of the ziggurat building on the base.

    “It is stunningly beautiful and really just a marvelous representation of a client’s high regard for his architect,” Gail Fenske, the author of “The Skyscraper and the City: The Woolworth Building and the Making of Modern New York” (University of Chicago Press), said in a phone interview.

    Ms. Fenske is a curator of an exhibition at the Skyscraper Museum in Manhattan called “The Woolworth Building @ 100” (through July 14); the two other curators are Susan Tunick, the president of the Friends of Terra Cotta, and Carol Willis, the director of the Skyscraper Museum. (All three will be participating in public programs for Woolworth Week, starting April 22.) The Skyscraper Museum had hoped to borrow the bowl from the Gilbert family, just as the consignment to Skinner was under way. Ms. Fenske last glimpsed the piece at 1988 celebrations of the building’s 75th birthday.

    “I’m looking forward to seeing it again,” she said.

    The Skyscraper Museum is showing chunks of the architectural ornament that Tiffany artisans sculptured in miniature on the bowl as well as images of the Staten Island terra-cotta factory workers in action.

    The exhibition also examines the tight bond between architect and patron. They took vacations together; one photo shows a uniformed porter pushing Woolworth and Gilbert around Palm Beach, Fla., in a wicker carriage.

    Gilbert outfitted the Manhattan building with a swimming pool, a fireproof vault for valuables and display space for Woolworth’s collection of Napoleon memorabilia. In the lobby one terra-cotta bracket portrays Gilbert clutching a model of the tower. Another depicts Woolworth, counting coins.


    Gilded Age collectors liked to buy in bulk, especially in France. Dealers there funneled entire palace rooms to Manhattan tycoons like Henry Clay Frick and J. P. Morgan.

    One of the most versatile suppliers was Georges Hoentschel (pronounced HENT-shull). His Paris showrooms exported items from faucets to priests’ vestments and murals of monkeys. He also designed Art Nouveau furniture and ceramics and fostered a circle of like-minded artisans, working in matte finishes and tentacled forms.

    His range of tastes and interests and his charisma persuaded Morgan to acquire Hoentschel material for the Met, despite some questionable provenances and patches of serious damage. An exhibition about the dealer’s inventory and connoisseurship, “Salvaging the Past: Georges Hoentschel and French Decorative Arts from the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” opens April 4 at the Bard Graduate Center in Manhattan.

    The wall texts and the catalog (from Yale University Press) trace Hoentschel’s career from teenage apprenticeship with an upholsterer in the 1860s through a 1910s heyday amid celebrated friends and clients including Rothschilds, Russian and Greek royalty, Diaghilev, Proust and Sarah Bernhardt. Hoentschel supervised hundreds of staff members, reproducing and adapting antiques for interiors and dreaming up avant-garde ideas.

    “The farther these projects progress, the more confident I am that these bold enterprises will succeed,” he wrote to a friend in the 1890s.

    The exhibition’s curatorial team, including Deborah L. Krohn, Ulrich Leben and Daniëlle Kisluk-Grosheide, describes Hoentschel as blond, dashing and generous. “He gave me the run of his ateliers, let me have my pick of his fabrics, tapestries and carpets,” the aesthete Robert de Montesquiou wrote in his 1920s memoir. Hoentschel also attracted more conservative patrons, joining elite clubs in the yachting and horse-racing realms.

    The Met has kept much of its Hoentschel collection in storage. French objects in better condition, and with stronger documentation, occupy the museum’s labyrinthine Wrightsman Galleries. The Bard Center is evoking Hoentschel’s Paris showrooms and booths at international expos, stocked floor to ceiling with armchairs, paintings, tapestries, columns, door frames, hardware, brackets and balusters.

    During a recent Bard Center exhibition preview half a dozen side tables had just been delivered. Gilded legs ending in hooves, paws and talons were peeking out of crates. Blowups of black-and-white period photos showed how Hoentschel displayed his wares, and the actual wares were being installed nearby.

    “Morgan was taken in by how extraordinary they all looked together,” Ms. Krohn said. She pulled out a sinuous fragment of a harp frame that Hoentschel acquired somewhere along the line as inspiration for his carvers. “He must have been a big pack rat,” she said.

    Chips and even missing statue limbs and heads are evident in the Bard Center galleries, and the original functions of some objects are still being researched. A walnut urn has an ill-fitting lid that may have been removed from a porcelain vase now lost. A rough-edged garden scene with Chinese courtiers may have served as a side panel on an 18th-century French sedan chair, used by porters to carry around the wealthy.

    American robber barons developed a taste for dismantled sedan chairs.

    “Their reuse in collectors’ homes could range from showcases for knickknacks to telephone booths,” the Bard Center historian Katrina London writes in the catalog.

    The curators are devoting cases to Art Nouveau ceramics, by Hoentschel and his protégés, that evoke swirling sea foam. Their works can also be found now at Manhattan specialty dealers including the Macklowe Gallery, Lillian Nassau and Jason Jacques.

    From April 5 to 25 Mr. Jacques is displaying about 20 vessels from Hoentschel’s circle, with four- and five-figure prices. The gallery has given them memorable titles, like “antique alien womb” and “devil’s seed pod.”

  12. #207
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    A Rare Glimpse Inside as the Woolworth Building Turns 100

    by Hana R. Alberts

    [All photos by Bob Estremera, who runs a site with more photos called Foto Architectura.] It was NYC photographer Bob Estremera's lucky day. The New York Landmarks Conservancy invited him on a tour of the famed, beguiling, renovated neo-Gothic masterpiece that is the 100-year-old Woolworth Building (not to hype it up too much, of course), and he jumped at the chance. He emerged with 30 shots of the palatial lobby, the carved grand staircase framed by archways, the detailed sculptural gargoyles perched here and there, the elevator bank... we could go on, but his photos speak for themselves.

    "Interesting, I think, is the opening shot I took after exiting the 6 train at City Hall. It's a classic tale of the old and the new. On the left, is the venerable Woolworth Building, one of the world's early and tallest skyscrapers. On the right, still under construction, is the new Freedom Tower, its modern equivalent," writes Estremera on his photo-filled website, Foto Architectura. "Upon entering, the visitor is immediately confronted by the vaulted ceilings and grand staircase framed in marble. The curved ceilings are a glittering galaxy of thousands of individual tiles. And the ones that look like gold—O.M.G., they are actually coated in gold leaf! Immediately, you are transported to the heavens exactly as you are in a European cathedral."

    We took a look into the building when it was gutted and under renovation in 2007, and we also captured the terracotta exterior from the typically closed-off 63rd-floor observation deck. Then in 2012, we got to see the building's secret basement pool.

    The building officially turns 100 on April 24, just 12 days from now. Another major milestone will occur later in its birthday year, when the top floor is converted into some pretty covetable condos that are set to hit the market in early 2014. Now all Estremera wants—and who wouldn't?—is a chance to go back inside and shoot some more.

    Official site: Foto Architectura []

  13. #208


    I need to clean my keyboard now.

  14. #209
    Fearless Photog RoldanTTLB's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Broomfield, CO


    There are beautiful large W crests (ala Worth St. IRT) over the SERVICE elevators in this building. In that sort of way, they truly don't build them like they used to.

  15. #210

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