90 West Street and 140 Cedar Street

The West Street Building

1905-07; architect, Cass Gilbert

The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission & NYS Lower Manhattan Development Corp determined that the landmarked 1907 Cass Gilbert-designed 90 West Street, a precursor to the Woolworth Building, is sound & should be restored. Article by Albert Amateau , April 17, 2002, Downtown Express .

From the NYTimes report on highlights of an initial survey on building conditions prepared by engineers and the city government:
"No occupancy. Major facade repairs."

From the preserve.org listserver (20 Sep 2001):
There appears to be serious damage to 90 West Street (Cass Gilbert, 1907; terra cotta failure and fires) and the Barclay Vesey building, 140 West Street (Ralph Walker, 1927), but not so much as to suggest demolition. -- Christopher Gray Office for Metropolitan History

From the preserve.org listserver (21 Sep 2001):
The historic building in the worst shape is 90 West Street. Evidently it is badly fire-gutted but this damage is hard to see from the street since the building is covered with staging and netting. A large portion of the Mansard was destroyed and the terra-cotta dormers blown up, but this damage could be restored fairly easily. The fire damage is the real threat to the preservation of the building. -- Alex Herrera

New York City Landmark Preservation Commission Designation: WEST STREET BUILDING, 90 West Street and 140 Cedar Street (aka 87-95 West Street, 21-25 Albany Street, and 136-140 Cedar Street), Manhattan.

Built 1905-07; architect, Cass Gilbert. Landmarks Preservation Commission. Designated April 14, 1998; LP-1984

90 West Street

The West Street Building, one of three major Downtown office buildings designed by Cass Gilbert, was built in 1905-07 for the West Street Improvement Corporation, a partnership headed by Howard Carroll. Carroll was president of two asphalt companies and vice-president of his father-in-law's Starin Transportation Company, which had major river shipping interests. Although today separated from the Hudson River by the landfill supporting Battery Park City, the site of the West Street Building originally had a highly visible location facing the waterfront along West Street. Carroll conceived of his project as a first-class skyscraper office building for the shipping and railroad industries. In addition to Carroll's companies, the building soon filled up with tenants including major companies in the transportation industry. The building's top floor was occupied by "The Garret Restaurant," which advertised itself as the highest restaurant in New York and boasted of its panoramic river and city views. Cass Gilbert was one of the most prominent architects in New York in the first decade of the twentieth century. His succession of early skyscrapers helped pave the way for the great romantic skyscraper towers of the 1920s and beyond. His West Street Building may be considered transitional from the "base-shaft-capital" arrangement of the late-nineteenth-century office buildings conceived as analogous to a classical column -- and perhaps best epitomized by his own design for the Broadway-Chambers Building -- to the romantic tower exemplified by his design for the Woolworth Building. While the West Street Building is tripartite in configuration, its upper floors are a romantic mansarded design. The building's Gothic vocabulary is an early instance of its use in American skyscraper design, anticipating the Woolworth Building. The clustered piers in the tower's middle section anticipate the verticality stressed in later skyscraper design. The West Street Building was one of many office buildings erected in lower Manhattan during the first decade following the consolidation of the City of Greater New York, but its handsome design set it apart, and it won widespread critical acclaim. Today, its exterior survives largely intact, and the building remains in commercial office use.