Though its main claim to fame in recent years is its film festival, TriBeCa (Triangle Below Canal) is an amazing architectural showcase, encompassing five New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission-designated historic districts. Although the protected areas date back to the 1700s, recent restoration, reconstruction and renovation makes many blocks look new – only the styles are old.
Founded as a residential neighborhood, the neighborhood became a commercial center in the mid-1800s – greatly expanded in the early 1900s thanks to new IRT Seventh Avenue and Ninth Avenue (later demolished) subway lines. Fickle industry moved out in the mid-1900s, and by 1970 the neighborhood’s population was down to 370. Artists started moving in, sparking large-scale conversion of commercial space to residences – and sky-high rents that now exclude artists!
One of the striking features of TriBeCa is the imaginative and colorful use of brick – sometimes on a massive scale. The Verizon Building (6th Avenue & Walker Street) and 60 Hudson Street (former Verizon Headquarters) (Hudson and Worth Streets) are the most prominent examples. Other standouts are 451 Washington Street (at Watts Street), Greenwich Court (apartments) (Greenwich Street between Murray and Chambers Streets), American Express Horse Stables (Collister Street between Laight and Hubert Streets) and Powell Building (corner of Hudson and Franklin Streets).
You’ll see how architects paint rich textures by using bricks of different colors, sizes and bonds (layering patterns). Bottom line: After touring TriBeCa, you’ll no longer think of brick as a dull red building material.
The maps and reports linked below provide very detailed information about Tribeca’s architectural heritage:
- NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission Tribeca Maps
- NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission Designation Report: Tribeca East
- NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission Designation Report: Tribeca North
- NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission Designation Report: Tribeca South
- NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission Designation Report: Tribeca South Extension
- NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission Designation Report: Tribeca West