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.
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.
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.
Posted on September 22, 2011, in NYC past, Uncategorized and tagged architecture, broadway, building, early, equitable building, history, lower manhattan, manhattan, new york, new york city, nyc, skyscraper, urban planning, zoning. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.