Woolworth Building in New York

Photo of Woolworth Building in New York, New York
Photo of Woolworth Building in New York, New York
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Woolworth Building
Also known as:The Cathedral of Commerce

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Truly a monument to the modern age, the Woolworth Building stands tall as a symbol of New York the way the Washington Monument serves as a silent sentinel for Washington, DC. The Woolworth Building is typical of American skyscrapers of its day a large, wide base followed by a shaft, and topped with some sort of cap or pediment. In this case, a great pyramid. Gilbert had the foresight to make the Gothic details at the top oversized so they can be seen from the sidewalk and aren't lost to those who can afford neighboring views. It was also designed to please Frank Woolworth who wanted the building to echo the Houses of Parliament in London, of which he was very fond. His Gothic wish was so well executed that a member of the local clergy named it, "the Cathedral of Commerce." The cathedral soars in a way that modern skyscrapers don't because its floors are unusually tall. In a modern building, there would be 80 stories in this height, not 58. Just as important as its exterior appearance is what lies underneath the tower not much. At the time of its completion, it was the tallest building ever constructed without a foundation in bedrock. Some feared this would spell the building's doom as stress increased along with the wind as the tower rose in height. Gilbert countered this load by sinking a series of caissons 110-feet into the soil below, in much the same way that bridges are built today. To this day the Woolworth Building has managed to retain its stately appearance, and remain a proud member of Manhattan's skyscraper community.

Quick Facts
    >24 April, 1913 The Woolworth Building officially opens when President Woodrow Wilson presses a button in the White House, illuminating the structure inside and out.
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Your Thoughts

There are three comments.

  It is realy beautiful building, from outside. I try to wisit it also from inside, but I was very disapointed, as the service in the lobby did not want to let me enter, even not to take foto in the hall. Maybe next time.

Milan - Sunday, March 11th, 2012 @ 12:32pm  

  A visit inside to see the elevators is rewarding. The best photo of this building is to be taken from the Brooklyn Bridge.

Richard Preston - Sunday, June 15th, 2008 @ 1:43pm  

  This is an aged jewel amid the modern towers, but a skyscraper in its own right. It is the juxteposition of old and new that makes New York so beautiful.

Liz - Thursday, November 16th, 2006 @ 6:24pm