Field Trip Fridays: The Woolworth Building

On Saturday, the winners of OHNY’s raffle took a tour of the famous Woolworth Building in lower Manhattan.  Cass Gilbert designed the Gothic building in 1910 and construction was completed in 1913.  The structure, at one time the tallest in the world, rises to a height of 792 feet and has 60 stories, depending on how you count them (Woolworth liked the round number and fudged the numbers a bit by leaving out a few floors).

Because it was built three years before the law passed in 1916 requiring setbacks from the street, the building forces itself dramatically up to the sidewalk and rises straight up nearly all the way to the top.  The lobby of the building was constructed in the style of Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna, complete with colorful murals, extensive tiling, and delicate detail work.

In its earlier days, the building even housed a working swimming pool, a copper-gated subway entrance, and a full-service restaurant, but all of these have since passed out of use.  Visitors to the Woolworth Building could go to the top of this early skyscraper for 50 cents, a hefty price compared to the five cent nickelodeons showing films at the same time.  The OHNY tour visited the top of the building and also stopped into Woolworth’s office.  The misty evening created an eerie atmosphere for the visitors, who all enjoyed the building tremendously.

Lobby of the Woolworth

Lobby stairway

Lobby ceiling

Outside on the terrace, at the top

Woolworth's office

Woolworth Building
233 Broadway, New York, NY

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