Bowling Green Offices is New York’s only “Hellenic Renaissance” style building.* It’s an architectural style invented by brothers William and George Ardsley as “a free but pure treatment of ancient Greek architecture.”
Whatever the style, it has crisp, lively ornamentation that stands out from its neighbors on “Steamship Row.” (When Bowling Green Offices was built, One Broadway was still a Queen Anne-style red brick building, and the Cunard Building had not yet been built; the Hudson River was just three blocks to the west.)
In plan, the building is U-shaped, with the base at the north, next to the Cunard Building. The light court in the middle of the U is aligned with the light court of One Broadway, the neighbor to the south.
This was the site of high drama: White Star Line, an early tenant, was besieged by worried relatives and friends of passengers aboard The Republic, which had been rammed by the Italian ship Florida in 1909. All passengers were safe in that incident, but three years later the offices were jammed again as news of the Titanic spread. Drama of a different sort hit the building in 1915: Seven elevators simultaneously fell; and seven months later, four elevators repeated the performance.
In 1920, the owners added a 17th floor and, at the north end of the building, a four-story tower.
Architect George Ardsley is better known as an author of 25 books on decorative art, and as a designer of pipe organs – including the famed Wanamaker organ in Philadelphia.
* The only other building in this style was the Layton Art Gallery in Milwaukee, now demolished.
Bowling Green Offices Vital Statistics
- Location: 3-11 Broadway between Battery Place and Morris Street
- Year completed: 1898
- Architect: William James Audsley and George Ashdown Audsley
- Floors: 21
- Style: “Hellenic Renaissance”
- New York City Landmark: 1995
Bowling Green Offices Recommended Reading
- Wikipedia entry (architect George Ashdown Audsley)
- NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission designation report
- Daytonian in Manhattan blog
- Wired New York forum
- Skyscraper Museum webwalk