The Equitable Building

Looming over Lower Manhattan on Broadway, near Wall St., 1915’s Equitable Building symbolizes a turning-point in high-rise construction and urban zoning.


Equitable Building on the left

Incredibly, the New York skyscraper was born on the narrow 17th century streets of Lower Manhattan.  As each new tower went up around the turn of last century, more and more sunlight became obscured from the ground- much to the horror of citizens who were grappling with this type of architectural scale for the first time in history.  To this day, in fact, some streets here have not seen direct sun in a century.

Thames St., one of the city's first streets, with the Equitable Building at the end

The Equitable Building so obscured Broadway that a public outcry resulted in changes in zoning law which required tall buildings to have setbacks.  This helped usher in the sleek, “pointy tower” Art Deco era of the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings.

Incidentally, the Equitable Building contained more office space than any other building in the world until the opening of the Empire State in 1931.


About ventilateblog MUSIC Classically trained cellist. Attended Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University - degree in Music Composition, and three years of recording arts and audio electrical engineering. Multiple works for chamber groups and orchestra have been produced and performed. Singer-songwriter with rock and folk roots.. Electronica. Today, it's about mashing together all these things into improbable hybrids. Also, a longtime educator of music. PHOTOGRAPHY Unpredictable and in the moment is what I love. Streets, architecture, and people. Ruined places. History. Frozen moments. Great love for imagines wrought by beautiful mystery of film and vintage cheapy cameras. WRITING The vague, ephemeral. The historical - the ghosts behind the veil of time. Delving deeply into the intricacies of our physical and cultural world. Relaying memory and longing. And sometimes the absurd. Life runs deep. Life

Posted on September 22, 2011, in NYC past, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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