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Thread: Municipal Building - One Centre Street at Chambers Street - by McKim, Mead & White

  1. #16
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Once you pass security on the ground floor the building is somewhat open for "exploration".

    There are various municipal offices on floors throughout, but not sure what is located on the 15 floors that comprise the tower.

    I've never attempted to go up into the tower, but one never knows what is possible until one tries ...

    Some info HERE

    The ever present Audrey Munson can be found atop the tower, depicted as "Civic Fame" by Adolf A. Weinman:

  2. #17


    The utmost crown of the Municipal Building is occupied by WNYC (93.9 FM and 820 AM), an NPR/PRI affiliate. I was up there in 2001, it's not nice interior-wise (as you would expect from a non-profit org). There is a clausterphopic mishmash of recording studios, broadcast studios and administrative offices- spiral stairs take up where elevators leave off. The views were amazing, of course- but framed by reams of folders and cheap file cabinets and desks from the '70's.

    Most of it looks something like this:

  3. #18


    I apologize for the multiple posts- optonline is doing me wrong tonight-

    Anywho, WNYC has been broadcasting from the upper floors of the MB since 1922- but that's about to change;

    The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 destroyed WNYC's FM transmitter atop the World Trade Center. The station's studios, in the nearby Municipal Building, had to be evacuated and station staff could not return to their offices for three weeks. The FM signal was knocked off the air for a time. WNYC temporarily moved its offices to the studios at National Public Radio's New York bureau in midtown Manhattan, where it broadcast on its still operating AM signal transmitting from a tower in New Jersey and by a live Internet stream. The station eventually returned to the Municipal Building.

    Move to new studios

    In 2007 WNYC will move from its 51,400 square feet of rent-free space scattered on eight floors of the Municipal Building to a new location at 160 Varick Street near the Holland Tunnel. The station will occupy two and a half floors of a 12-story former printing building.
    The new offices will have 12-foot ceilings and 71,900 square feet of space. The number of recording studios and booths will double, to 31. There will be a new 140-seat, street-level studio for live broadcasts, concerts and public forums and an expansion of the newsroom for a capacity of up to 40 journalists.

    It would be interesting to know what will occupy the space when WNYC is gone-
    Last edited by Kroy Wen; November 5th, 2006 at 12:47 AM.

  4. #19


    Here's a flickr gallery from the WNYC studios atop the Municipal- good luck finding a view! But you get the idea- it's basically an inward looking cocoon.

    (hint)look on page 16

  5. #20


    New York Sun
    November 22, 2006

    Speculation Buzzes on Possible Sale Of Municipal Building in Manhattan


    Speculation is heating up that the Municipal Building, the soaring limestone landmark that overlooks City Hall, could be among the government real estate assets to be sold off and converted to residential buildings as municipal employees prepare to move into a new, privately managed office building planned for ground zero.

    The Municipal Building at One Centre St., the home of the Department of City Planning at 22 Reade St., and another large office building overlooking Foley Square at 2 Lafayette St. are among the assets whose sale is under consideration, according to a source familiar with the process.

    In September, Mayor Bloomberg penned an agreement with developer Larry Silverstein to take 600,000 square feet in Tower 4 at the former World Trade Center site as early as 2013. Mr. Bloomberg said at the time that the city could sell off some real estate assets, which could be developed or converted into residential buildings. Mr. Silverstein has the right to cancel the deal between now and September 2008 if he finds a tenant that would pay more than the city's offer of $56.50 a square foot a year in rent.

    The iconic Municipal Building, which straddles Chambers Street at its eastern end, was designed by the architectural firm McKim Mead and White and completed in 1914. At 39 stories and containing more than 1 million square feet of office space, the building houses many city agencies, including the Comptroller, the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Department of Finance, and the New York City Marriage Bureau.

    It is crowned with a cupola and a gilded statue by Adolph Weinman of Civic Fame. A giant Corinthian colonnade, modeled after Bernini's colonnade at St. Peter's in Rome, runs along its base. There is a subway station underneath, and it sits at the Manhattan base of the Brooklyn Bridge.

    The City Council member representing Lower Manhattan, Alan Gerson, said that talk of selling the Municipal Building has surfaced from time to time in recent years.

    "There have been rumors to that effect, but I haven't heard anything officially," Mr. Gerson said. "Tower 4 could be an alternative to the Municipal Building, without question."

    Mr. Gerson said that the city should look at more than economics as it makes its decisions.

    "There is something to be said about the government holding on to a great iconic civic building in addition to City Hall," Mr. Gerson said.

    A spokeswoman for the city's Department of Citywide Administrative Services, the agency that oversees real estate decisions, Jennifer Blum, said in a statement, "Although the City is examining a number of real estate options relating to the agreement to lease space in World Trade Center Tower 4, there are currently no plans to sell any of the 18 buildings managed by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services ( DCAS) in Lower Manhattan."

    One city official familiar with the considerations said the sale of the Municipal Building is not currently part of any scenario for future space planning.

    The president of the Municipal Art Society, Kent Barwick, said it was a bad idea to "sell off something that is such a core part of the city center."

    "It is masterpiece of architecture, built as close to City Hall as you can get," Mr. Barwick said.

    Previously a dark, deserted area after work and on weekends, Manhattan's civic center has become a more desirable residential neighborhood in recent years. In 2002, the former Arthur Levitt State Office Building at the corner of Chambers Street and Broadway was converted to condos, some selling for more than $7 million, and rental apartments.

    An appraiser, Jonathan Miller, said it would be expensive to convert the Municipal Building to condos, but apartments would likely command top dollar.

    "At the end of the day, it would make sense. It's a trophy property, it has a lot of history, and it has expansive views on three of the four sides," Mr. Miller said. "There would be a challenge; it requires extensive rehab and it is a large property and you would be bringing a lot of units to market at the same time."

    The city bought 2 Lafayette Street in 1981. At 21 stories tall and containing more than 350,000 square feet, it is now home to the offices of the city's Department for the Aging. The City Planning building at 22 Reade Street, built in 1915, is seven stories tall, with more than 53,000 square feet of space.

    © 2006 The New York Sun, One SL, LLC.

  6. #21


    A shot from my Monday foray. You'd think this view would be seen more.. the vista is only slightly less grand than that of the Helmsley Building on Park Ave, pre- Pan Am days.

  7. #22

  8. #23
    Forum Veteran
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    Aug 2003


    Id assume if this tower is sold, it will go residential

  9. #24
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    in Limbo


    Everything goes residential.

    Can make a quick buck that way, better than collecting monthly rents from office tenants.

    Future for New Yorkers: live in the city, work in New Jersey.

  10. #25
    Forum Veteran macreator's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
    East Midtown


    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby View Post
    Future for New Yorkers: live in the city, work in New Jersey.
    God I hope not

  11. #26
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    in Limbo


    No use hoping.

    An article that krulltime just posted echos this.

    A few highlights from that story:

    Joe Chan, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, said at a meeting Monday with the Fort Greene Association that many of the financial and insurance companies the city originally thought would move to Downtown Brooklyn have instead consolidated their operations, moved to New Jersey or completely offshored.
    The investment in each area, in addition to the scores of other large development projects throughout the city, is all part of an aggressive effort to attract businesses away from New Jersey, which continues to acquire thousands of New York jobs each year.
    Between 1958 and 2000, the city’s workforce only jumped 100,000 to 3.2 million workers, and its share of the region’s workforce dropped from 80 percent to 65 percent, according to information provided by the Department of City Planning and the city’s Economic Development Corporation.
    New Yorkers clearly don't want the jobs in their backyards but rather see them in Jersey City instead.

    That’s probably because of the pro-large-scale development undertone of Chan’s presentation to a group characterized by its aversion to such projects in their relatively small-scale community. Chan made clear at the end of his presentation that the Partnership’s “job is to help advance development,” and was bombarded with questions about the Atlantic Yards.

    “Every time you see irritation of Brooklyn residents, it’s because people are coming in here and trying to Manhattanize us,” said resident Yvette Wright. “We like living here. We moved here for a reason.”

  12. #27

  13. #28
    Forum Veteran TREPYE's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    Brooklyn, NY


    I love the look of a great scraper at the end of the street. Municipal buildings gives a great feel when you are walking of driving down Chambers St. That is tradegy of a tower like the Metlife, looking down Park Ave it pisses me off how bad it terminates the panorama and it doesnt even look like a tower at points just a dreary gray wall, a cheap back ground to the Grand Central Station or the hotel on the other side.

  14. #29


    I go to the Municipal often to see the Landmarks Commission
    and one of my favorite things about it is the view from the bathroom on that floor.
    There's a giant picture window with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge.
    Unfortunately, it's ruined somewhat by the Verizon Building,
    but still adds some grandeur to the experience.

  15. #30
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Nairobi Hilton

    Thumbs up

    I think this is the most magical building in town.

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