The Arsenal Building, a 21-story Renaissance Revival loft building, was the first of 14 Garment District structures designed by Ely Jacques Kahn. The building is named for the New York State Arsenal that previously occupied the site.
(Not to be confused with The Arsenal at Fifth Avenue and 63rd Street, now used as a Parks Department administration building.)
At the time that this was built, loft buildings were notoriously cheap and utilitarian in construction – designed with little regard for aesthetics. Here, the developer and architect decided to invest in beauty (similar to the 1888 Schermerhorn Building in Greenwich Village, designed to demonstrate that a factory didn’t have to be ugly).
Incidentally, the Garment District’s development was quite controversial over the years. The city and the garment industry grappled with issues of worker safety, overcrowding, traffic, and disruption of business in the adjacent shopping district. The Skyscraper Museum exhibition “Urban Fabric” and Fashion Center pdf pamphlet “A Stitch In Time” have more background.
Arsenal Building Vital Statistics
- Location: 463 Seventh Avenue at W 35th Street
- Year completed: 1924
- Architect: Ely Jacques Kahn – Buchman & Kahn
- Floors: 21
- Style: Renaissance Revival
Arsenal Building Recommended Reading
- The New York Times book review
- Emporis database
- Skyscraper Museum: Urban Fabric exhibition
- A Stitch in Time: A History of New York’s Fashion Center (pdf)
- Garment Center Historic District press release
- Adams & Co. Real Estate (building agent) web site