Tag Archives: 1894

Cable Building

Cable Building

Cable Building, at the southwestern corner of the NoHo Historic District, is the last remnant of a San Francisco-style cable car system that once served lower Manhattan. The nine-story* Beaux Arts building housed the massive steam engines and winding wheels that pulled 40-ton cables at 30 mph. Alas, the cable system was uneconomical. The last cable car ran just seven years after the first.

For architects McKim, Mead & White, this was their first all-steel-frame building. The four-story-deep basement held the machinery. Above ground, it was a doughnut of offices built around a central light court. Both of the building’s Houston Street corners are chamfered. Light orange brick and terra cotta rise above the two-story limestone arcade base.

While Broadway’s Bowling Green-to-36th Street cable cars did not survive, Cable Building did. Metropolitan Traction Company reorganized as New York Railways Company, and sold the building in 1925. For the next six decades the structure housed small businesses and manufacturers. Then in the late 1980s it went back to being an office building.

Angelika Film Center took up residence in 1989, using the four basement floors.

* The building appears to be eight stories, if you count the floors of large windows. But tiny square windows tucked under the cornice – and larger windows in the north facade – reveal an attic ninth floor.

Cable Building Vital Statistics
Cable Building Recommended Reading

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Roosevelt Building

You’d think that the Roosevelt Building would be a NYC landmark, since it was actually in the Roosevelt family, had a famous movie studio tenant, and exceptional architecture. But it isn’t. Yet?

Teddy Roosevelt’s grandfather, Cornelius, owned the land under this building until his death in 1871. His heirs built the building as the neighborhood changed from residential to commercial. For a time, the structure was known as the Hackett Carhart Building, for a major tenant.

While most of the early tenants – including Hackett Carhart – were men’s wear manufacturers, Biograph Studios also had space here, and a revolving (to follow the sun) studio on the roof. This is where director D.W. Griffith got his start.

Roosevelt Building Vital Statistics
  • Location: 841 Broadway at E 13th Street
  • Year completed: 1894
  • Architect: Stephen D. Hatch
  • Floors: 8
  • Style: Romanesque Revival
Roosevelt Building Suggested Reading

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Divine Lorraine Hotel

Divine Lorraine Hotel is a fabulous Philadelphia ruin awaiting revival – ten blocks east of Philadelphia’s other fabulous ruin, Eastern State Penitentiary.

What earns it a spot in NewYorkitecture.com is that it was a New Yorker who made it Divine in the first place.

This building began life as the Lorraine Apartments – abodes for well-heeled Philadelphians. After a mere six years it was sold and converted to the Lorraine Hotel, a role it filled for almost half a century.

Then along came Harlem’s Reverend Major Jealous Divine, better known as Father Divine, whose Universal Peace Mission Movement bought the hotel in 1948. Divine, a black man who married a white woman at a time when interracial marriage was unthinkable, promptly radicalized the hotel. He renamed it Divine Lorraine Hotel, made it the first integrated U.S. hotel, required men and women (even if married) to stay on separate floors, converted ballrooms to places of worship, and installed a low-cost restaurant for the poor.

Though Father Divine died in 1965, his followers continued the hotel until 2000, when they sold it to developers. In 2006 the building was gutted for renovation, but the project was abandoned until fairly recently. Developer Eric Blumenfeld bought the property at auction in October 2012, with plans to revive it as apartments.

Divine Lorraine Hotel’s architect, Willis G. Hale, was born 1848 in Seneca Falls, N.Y. but moved to Philadelphia in the 1860s. His creations are known as wildly inventive – but few examples survive.

Divine Lorraine Hotel Vital Statistics
Divine Lorraine Hotel Recommended Reading

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