I don't think so.
Is the ESB visible from City Hall Park? That could be one more.
Chrysler is visible down the Broadway sidewalk of City Hall Park, I also forgot the St. Paul's building. Which is where the awful pink brick building on Broadway and Fulton now sits. So that makes 8.
And if the buildings replaced by those 6 former tallest were still there you wouldn't have the former 6 tallest.
Photos: 21 Buildings Of Old New York Being Demolished
by Jen Carlson
(see article for more pics)
Madison Square Garden v 2.0, 1925 (Photo courtesy of the MCNY) These images show the second Madison Square Gardens (there were a few) being torn down in 1925. Located at 4th Avenue and 26th Street, the building was being torn down to make way for the New York Life Insurance Building.
Tearing down the Tombs
Demo to make way for the site of the United Nations Headquarters. January 30, 1948
Demolishing the Sixth Avenue elevated. December 20, 1938
Remains of brownstone, West 58th Street.February 13, 1939
Houses on Minetta Street. ca 1920
Past and Present: The Thomas Jefferson Building
The Republican Party ruled Brooklyn for most of the latter part of the 19th century, and their clubs, like the Union League and Lincoln Clubs, were large, in-your-face kind of places, reminding everyone who was boss. So you have to admire Brooklyn’s Democrats for going big when they built their own party headquarters in Downtown Brooklyn. In 1888, the Kings County Democrats voted to build a permanent headquarters for the party, established the Thomas Jefferson Association under which the building would be financed, and bought a choice lot directly across from City Hall, a place they hadn’t called home for quite a while.
They engaged the services of Frank Freeman, one of Brooklyn’s most prominent architects, a man who was quite adept at building impressive Romanesque Revival structures. Freeman had already designed the Eagle Warehouse in Dumbo and the Behr mansion on Pierrepont Street. Only in his early 30s during this time, he also designed the headquarters for the Brooklyn Fire Department on nearby Jay Street, a building with similar proportions.
Most of Freeman’s great buildings are gone, but at the turn of the 20th century, downtown Brooklyn was home to not only the Fire Department headquarters, but also the Thomas Jefferson Association Building, and his Germanic Club, a block over on Schermerhorn, where the courthouse is now. This building and the Germanic Club were very similar in style, height and materials. Freeman loved those arches, and stacking shapes on top of each other, and used both ideas liberally.
The Jefferson Building’s cornerstone was laid by former president Grover Cleveland in 1889, and the building finished a year later. It rose high over its brownstone neighbor at eight stories, with Democratic Party headquarters on the first two floors. A huge party hall took up the first floor. It could seat 900 people and was furnished in polished oak. Offices for the party took up the second floor. A restaurant was in the basement level, and the rest of the building was rented out as general offices.
The building’s ground floor was made of rusticated sandstone imported from Scotland, including the two large entryway arches. Above, the building was brick with terra-cotta pillars, terra-cotta trim, and large three story arched window bays. At the very top of the building was a niche with a bust of Thomas Jefferson.
The Democrats maintained their headquarters there until 1951, when the cost of upkeep proved to be too high, and the building was sold. They moved on to a smaller headquarters. In 1960, the City decided to create an arterial road to lead to the Brooklyn Bridge from Atlantic Avenue, creating Boerum Place, a multi-lane road with a center island running down its length. The creation of this roadway caused the destruction of fifteen buildings along its path, including the Thomas Jefferson Building, as well as all other buildings also on this block.
Across the street, where the Law School now stands, the large Hall of Records was also torn down. Today, as one races against traffic at Fulton Street, to get across the expanse of Boerum Place, no one knows, or remembers, what once stood there only fifty-two years ago. GMAP
1905 Photograph: New York Public Library
Photo: Google Maps
1898-1899 map: New York Public Library
Photo: Brooklyn Public Library
Hint: Decorative Rowhouses Knocked Down for the Kids
by Jessica Dailey
Built in the mid-1800s, these three-story rowhouses, designed by a famous architect and constructed on land owned by a wealthy New York family, were coveted for their deep front yards and decorative iron balconies. They stood for just over a century, ultimately being torn down so a much less aesthetically pleasing building could be built for the children.
Rhinelander Gardens: then and now
December 30, 2009
Designed by James Renwick—architect of Grace Church on Tenth Street and Broadway and St. Patrick’s Cathedral—these “three-decker” row houses stood at the corner of Sixth Avenue and 11th Street since 1855.
I’m not sure what connection they have to the Rhinelanders—an old New York family—but the family probably owned the land they were built on, hence the name.
Another Rhinelander real estate site is just around the corner on Seventh Avenue.
(click images for much larger versions)
Berenice Abbott took the photo in 1937. Rhinelander Gardens only lasted another 20 years.
Amazingly, the city tore them down (and their lovely front lawns and cast-iron balconies!) to build P.S. 41.
The school is very 1950s. The tenement apartment building on the far right, the Unadilla, still exists.
Lost New York, by Nathan Silver, published in 1967, has this to say:
“The setback fronts of the houses were the result of the imperfect match of the old Greenwich Village street pattern with the upper Manhattan grid. Some deep fronts can still be seen on 11th Street, but the Rhinelander row was demolished in the late 1950s.”
The Village’s lovely Rhinelander Row
April 7, 2009
If the very top of the Port Authority building a few blocks away on Eighth Avenue and 14th Street weren’t visible, you might think this photo captured a row of simple homes in some small city or country town in the pre-automobile, horse and wagon era.
But it’s actually a moment in time on the West side of Seventh Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets in the West Village. The photo was taken by Berenice Abbott in 1937, just before these 11 three-story, wooden-balconied homes were razed.
Built by landowner William Rhinelander in 1848, they were previously known as “cottage row,” and they shouldn’t be confused with Rhinelander Gardens, a fancier row of homes that once stood on West 11th Street.
A New York Times article from 1937 said of Rhinelander Row, “With their wide piazzas and ample balconies on the upper floors they have been for many years refreshing reminders of the simple but comfortable residential days in that interesting part of the city.”
What’s on that block now? It’s the site of the Maritime Building, which appears to be getting the ax so Saint Vincent’s Medical Center can put up a new hospital building.
Cornerspotted: The Fifth Avenue Theater on West 28th Street
by Jessica Dailey
Although the first commenter on this week's Cornerspotter hinted at the correct location, it was grumps who identified it as the old Fifth Avenue Theater on West 28th Street and Broadway. The historic photo we used was taken by Bernice Abbott in 1938, one year before the theater was demolished to make way for a commercial building. Today, a lovely parking garage occupies the site. The theater was built in 1868, and then redesigned in the ornate neoclassical style by architect Francis Hatch Kimball after a fire in 1891. So why was it called the Fifth Avenue Theater even though it wasn't on Fifth Avenue?
[The theater in 1895]
It was first called the St. James Theatre, but the theater proprietor originally operated a theater on Fifth Avenue. When he relocated to the building on Broadway, he changed the name from St. James to the New Fifth Avenue Theater. In 1877, the "new" was dropped.
Of course the top cornice on the still existing taller building is gone now.
Good point (comments):
If we want to ensure that Mr. Gray doesn't have to write another column ten years from now about all the magnificent buildings that were lost since this column was penned, there needs to be a significant change in the predictably knee-jerk reactions of the Professional Preservationists to the proposed replacement of nearly every outdated building with a new structure that is more responsive to current needs. Instead of pressing for designation of such already-irrevocably-compromised old buildings as the decrepit row of one-time brownstones on West 28th Street that are claimed to have been the spawning ground of American music (but in fact were the place where huge numbers of appallingly bigoted "coon songs" were published), and the three one-time elegant row-houses on West 57th Street that were stripped of their elegance many decades ago, the Preservation Lobby should be far more selective, and save its time, money, and energy for the much smaller number of really good buildings, whose preservation would take ingenuity, creativity, vision, and really serious money. By focusing more narrowly, the Landmarks Commission will only have to confront obviously worthy proposals, and it can then use its time to work with developers (and if necessary the City Planning Commission) to create the solutions that can preserve what is truly worthy of historic designation.
Belles of the Wrecking Ball
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY
The Museum of Modern Art’s decision to tear down the quirky little American Folk Art Museum, barely a decade old, has generated outrage; only the loss of Penn Station in 1963 and the fight that saved Grand Central in the 1970s have been more bitter.
But of the structures that have come down since Penn Station fell, there are many candidates for greatest loss, from Beaux-Arts skyscraper to cast-iron loft building.
It was on the smashed remains of Penn Station that Nathan Silver, an architect, put together the 1964 exhibit, “Lost New York,” which he later developed into the book of the same name. His book is the Old Testament for the New York preservation movement, with vanished architectural beauty on every page and indignation on every other. Half a century later, Mr. Silver is most aggrieved by the demolition in 1967 of the 1883 Metropolitan Opera House, on 39th and Broadway, in part because he went to the opera there when he was a teenager.
full article in the New York Times
"and the three one-time elegant row-houses on West 57th Street that were stripped of their elegance many decades ago"
Is he off his rocker? Those buildings have scarcely changed. They're exactly as they appeared nearly a century ago.