Century Building, since 1995 a Barnes & Noble store, was also associated with publishing when it was built in 1881. Century Publishing Company leased the fifth floor and hung its sign outside – which led to the name. Retailer Aaron Arnold (Arnold Constable Department Store) built the landmark as a speculative venture – no prime tenant was signed.
The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission cited the structure as “a rare surviving Queen Anne style commercial building.” The Century Building was vacant at the time that the Commission designated it a New York City landmark. Barnes & Noble took it over in 1995, according to Daytonian in Manhattan.
The two-story oriel windows and gambrel roof are quite picturesque from Union Square Park. Although the Century Building extends through to E 18th Street, that facade is relatively plain.
Century Building Vital Statistics
- Location: 33 E 17th Street between Broadway and Park Avenue South
- Year completed: 1881
- Architect: J. William Schickel
- Floors: 7
- Style: Queen Anne
- New York City Landmark: 1986
- National Register of Historic Places: 1997
Century Building Recommended Reading
- Wikipedia entry
- Wikipedia entry (J. William Schickel)
- NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission designation report
- The New York Times Q&A (July 19, 1987)
- Daytonian in Manhattan blog
- Emporis database