New York Songlines: Broad Street

Spruce | Beekman | Ann | Fulton | John | Maiden | Liberty | Cedar | Pine | Wall | Exchange | Beaver | Stone | Bridge | Pearl | Water | South


177: The New York Sun began publishing here in 1868, the city's first penny newspaper.

Printing House Square

This open space, separated by a traffic-free Nassau Street from Pace University Plaza, commemorates the era when New York's many daily newspapers were based on what was known as Newspaper Row--conveniently close to both City Hall and the financial district in the days before telephones or rapid transit.

At the southeast corner of Nassau and Frankfort streets was the first home of the Tammany Hall political machine, founded in 1789.

Benjamin Franklin statue

This sculpture of Benjamin Franklin, by Ernst Plassman, commemorates his role as publisher; he holds a copy of his Pennsylvania Gazette. The statue was dedicated in 1872 in a ceremony involving Samuel Morse and Horace Greeley.

Near this spot on May 16, 1691, Jacob Leisler was executed for treason. Leisler, chief of the city's militia, took over the colony in 1689, ostensibly because Gov. Francis Nicholson hadn't recognized the replacement of King James II by King William and Queen Mary. Leisler, however, refused to step down when William and Mary sent their own replacement governor, a political dispute that turned into a low-level civil war and ended in a treason conviction. He and his son-in-law Jacob Milbourne were sentenced to be hanged, disemboweled, burnt alive, beheaded and quartered. Hester Street is named for his daughter.

170: Here was the Tribune Theatre, aka the City Hall Cinema, designed by William I. Hohauser and operating c. 1935-1965. Billed as "Downtown's Most Beautiful Theatre."

One Pace Plaza

160: The address of Horace Greeley's New York Tribune, the first newspaper with a national distribution and a major voice of the abolition movement. Karl Mark was its European correspondent in the 1850s. It merged in 1924 with the New York Herald to form the New York Herald Tribune.

It was the site of a sensational crime in 1869 when Daniel McFarland shot and mortally wounded prominent Tribune journalist Albert D. Richardson, lover of McFarland's ex-wife, actress Abby Sage. Sage and Richardson were married on his death bed by Henry Ward Beecher. McFarland was acquitted, not much of a surprise in those days.

William Randolph Hearst rented space here in 1895 to run a rival newspaper, the New York Journal. The building was torn down in 1966 to build One Pace Plaza, the central building of the Pace University campus, as part of the urban renewal project that included the World Trade Center.

Pace was founded as a business school in 1906 by brothers Homer and Charles Pace, whose first classes were held in rented space in the Tribune building. It's now known for its business and law school. The Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, located in this building, is home to the oft-parodied Inside the Actors Studio.

Notable alumni include former CBS chief Mel Karmazin, environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and TV chef Rachael Ray.

On May 8, 1970, pro-Vietnam War construction workers stormed Pace's main building, smashing windows and beating male and female students with bricks, pipes and chains.


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Old New York Times Building

Corner (41 Park Row): The building that houses the Pace University Bookstore (along with other Pace offices and classrooms) was built in 1857 as the headquarters of the New York Times (founded in 1851). Designed by George B. Post (the Stock Exchange's architect), its round arches, recessed windows and rusticated stone place it in the Romanesque Revival. The Times moved from here to what is now Times Square in 1905, and Pace bought the building in 1952.

Earlier this was the site of the Brick Presbyterian Church, from 1766 until 1856. It was used by the British as a prison and a hospital during the American Revolution. In 1832 Baker & Scribner Publishers also had their offices on this lot; in 1810 it was the site of the White Lecture Room. The Kine Pox Institute was found here in 1802, as was the volunteer firefighting unit Engine Co. No. 4. In 1686, the home of Gov. Thomas Dongan, whose charter for New York issued that year remains the basis for the city's government. In 1646, this was the home of Cornelius Van Tienhoven, a New Amsterdam official noted for his accounting expertise and his involvement in atrocities against the Indians.

Potter Building

139-145 (corner): A gorgeous red brick building built 1883-86 with fantastic terra cotta detail. Built by Orlando B. Potter to replace an earlier building he owned that burned down in 1881 (an event featured in the novel Time After Time), he used terra cotta in part for its fireproof qualities.

Potter's earlier building, completed in 1857, was known as the World Building, after the New York World which was based there. (This was before Joseph Pulitzer bought the paper.) It also housed the offices of Scientific American, where on December 7, 1877, Thomas Edison gave the first public demonstration of his phonograph. N.G. Starkweather extensively used terra cotta detail, helping to popularize the material for office buildings; Potter later launched the New York Press.

143: This was the American Anti-Slavery Society's address from 1837-43. During this period Frederick Douglass was heavily involved with the organization.

139 (corner): Also part of the Potter Building, this was the address of Newspaper Row's Knickerbocker. Now Young's Hat Store (formerly Young's Stetson Hats).

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150 (corner): The American Tract Society Building, an 1894 Beaux Arts design by R.H. Robertson. Earlier Anthony Comstock of the Society for the Suppression of Vice had his office at this address.

148: The address of the New York Mirror, which first published Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" on January 29, 1845.
























144: The American Anti-Slavery Society, founded in 1833 by William Lloyd Garrison and other abolitionists, was based here from 1834-36.

142: This was the American Anti-Slavery Society's address from 1844-54; abolitionist Lydia Maria Child published her influential anti-slavery articles from this address from 1841-49. (She's remembered today as the author of "Over the River and Through the Woods.")

140 (corner): The Morse Building, a Silliman & Farnsworth design completed in 1880, was home to American Vitagraph, an early silent film company that shot films on the roof here from 1897 until 1903--including the aptly named The Burglar on the Roof. The building was converted from offices to residences in 1980.

138: This seems to have been the final address of the American Anti-Slavery Society, from 1855 onward; the group disbanded in 1870.


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Corner: This was the site of the Beekman Street Theater, where in 1761 Hamlet had its New York debut. The title role was played by Lewis Hallam Jr., colonial America's first stage star. The theater was closed in 1766 by a Stamp Act riot.

135: The address of Clinton Hall, the Mercantile Library's circulating library.

131: The address of Fowler and Well's Phrenological Cabinet, where the likes of Walt Whitman happily had his head examined. (The head bump-readers published the second edition of Leaves of Grass.) Edgar Allan Poe was also an admirer; Mark Twain, on the other hand, was a Fowler debunker.

119-129 (corner): The Temple Court Building, built from 1881-90 to Silliman & Farnsworth's Queen Anne design. Notable for its pink terra cotta detail and its twin pyramid-topped towers. The corner lot was formerly the address of the Broadway Journal, where in 1844 Edgar Allan Poe became editor and part owner. 119 was the original address of the New York Ledger, a women's weekly founded 1855; 127 was the home of The New Yorker, a different publication from the contemporary magazine.

117: La Finity Fashion

115: Currier & Ives, the famous lithographers, had their offices here in the 1880s.

113: The New York Times (then called the Daily Times) was first published in a six-story brownstone here on September 18, 1851. The building, shockingly, was torn down in 2007--another example of the Landmarks Commission's disregard for New York's history.

111: Here was the offices of the Aurora, which Walt Whitman moved to Manhattan to work for in 1841. Now the address of Sabros Oh! All City Flavor, Penguini Men's Wear and Pildes Optical.

109: This was the address of Newpaper Row's Literary World.

107: The New York Mirror was first published here in 1823.

105 (corner): H & M Art Gallery of Downtown, African-American art

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132 (corner): Moamen Outlet; The Silk Shop; Petland Discounts







126: At this address Mary Rogers, a cigar salesgirl celebrated for her beauty, lived in her mother's boarding house before disappearing on July 25, 1841, her body later turning up on the shore of the Hudson River in Hoboken. Her unsolved death inspired Edgar Allan Poe's story "The Mystery of Marie Roget."

124: GI, "The Fastest Way to Eat Well"

122: This was the address of Henry Miller's bookstore, founded 1857 and moved here c. 1875. A prestigious shop, it was the source of much of Samuel Tilden's library, one of the collections that became the New York Public Library. Anthony Comstock raided it in 1895 for selling an illustrated edition of Rabelais. Now Prato Men's Wear.

120: Shoe City, "God's favorite shoe store"

118: Nassau Bar & Lounge

116: China Trade Center. American Vitagraph moved its offices here from No. 140 when it moved its shooting facilities to Flatbush.




















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93-99 (block): The Bennett Building, built by the New York Herald's James Gordon Bennett Sr. in 1873; extensive additions from 1890-94. Described by the AIA Guide as "a glassy building with a deeply 3-dimensional and lavish cast-iron structural grid."

99 (corner): Nassau Leather Outlet; Taino Cigars; Tansey Tang Pearls & Jade

97: Mira Fine Jewelry & Gifts

95: Fashion C Us

93 (corner): Designer Promise Ltd.

91: This was the New York Sun's address on Newspaper Row. The paper lured readers with sensational hoaxes, like Edgar Allan Poe's April 13, 1844 report of a trans-Atlantic balloon crossing (a feat not actually accomplished until 1978).

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87 (corner): The Fulton Building is an 1893 design by De Lemos & Cordes (who designed Macy's). Houses Nassau Fulton Optical, BB Tie Bar Co.












75: Nassau Jewelry; Herbal World

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88: Channel 88 Boutique

82: This was the address of the South Baptist Church; Herman Melville may have written Moby-Dick in a building in the church's courtyard, reports Literary New York. Later, in March 1878, the first telephone exchange was opened here by the Bell Company.

80: Burritoville, local chain

76: Elite Collection.

74: Samuel's Hats, designer hats for women

72 (corner): Ashkans Fashions; Zaitzeff Burgers are reputed to be among the best in the city.


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63: A cast-iron building put up around 1860 and attributed to James Bogardus, the pioneer of cast-iron architecture. The decor includes two portraits of Ben Franklin; there used to be two similar depictions of George Washington.


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Corner (55 Liberty): Liberty Tower, completed in 1910 to a Henry Ives Cobb design, is a Gothic building clad in white terra cotta featuring fanciful eagles, lions and alligators. It was Sinclair Oil's HQ from 1919-45.

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Federal Reserve Bank

This is the headquarters of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the wealthiest and most important of the 12 regional banks that make up the quasi-governmental Federal Reserve System. The New York Fed has a major role in carrying out Fed policy, buying and selling Treasury securities to regulate the availability of credit, and participating in foreign exchange markets to maintain or adjust the value of the dollar. Five stories below ground, a subbasement holds the largest stock of gold in the world, more than 5,000 tons valued at about $90 billion. (The film Die Hard With a Vengeance depicts a schemed to rob these vaults.) More than $2 trillion in cash and securities is transferred through this building every day.

The building itself is a Renaissance fortress (complete with turret) designed by York & Sawyer and built from 1919-35. The ironwork by Samuel Yellin is considered one of its main attractions.


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West:

Marine Midland Building

Block (140 Broadway): This 1967 black-glass modernist skyscraper by Skidmore Owens & Merrill is considered to be more successful than their Chase Manhattan Tower across the street. (They also did Lever House and the Sears Tower, among many others.)

Marine Midland started out as the Marine Trust Company in 1850, a Buffalo-based company financing the Great Lakes grain trade. By 1929 it had become a bank holding company, eventually controlling dozens of local banks. In 1980 it was acquired by HSBC--the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.

An anti-Vietnam War bombing here on August 20, 1969 injured 20 people.


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Block (120 Broadway): The Equitable Building, built in 1915 to replace an earlier Equitable Life headquarters that had burned down, managed to fit 1,200,000 feet of floor space on a one-acre lot--a density so great that zoning laws were changed in 1916 to require setbacks. The old Equitable Building, erected in 1870, had the U.S. Weather Bureau's station on its roof.

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Chase Manhattan Plaza

Built in 1961 as headquarters for the Rockefellers' Chase Manhattan Bank, this 60-story, 813-foot aluminum and glass tower by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has 2.4 million square feet of office space, above and below ground. The project spans two city blocks, creating a gap in Cedar Street. The plaza features Jean Dubuffet's Four Trees and Isamu Noguchi's Sunken Garden.

This was the site of the Middle Dutch Church, established in 1727, and used by the British during the Revolution as a prison and riding school. On April 29, 1839, the 50th anniversary of Washington's inauguration was celebrated here, presided over by former President John Quincy Adams. In 1845, the building became a post office, which on July 1, 1847 issued the first U.S. stamps.
















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West:

Block (16 Wall Street): The Banker's Trust Company Building, completed in 1912, has a stepped-pyramid roof that served as the bank's logo. At this corner was Simmon's Tavern, where New York's first mayor, James Duane, was sworn in on February 7, 1784, after being appointed by Gov. De Witt Clinton.






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Federal Hall

Block (28 Wall Street): The site of New York's second city hall, built in 1703. Probably the most historic location in New York City, and one of the most important in the U.S., this was where George Washington was sworn in as our first president on April 30, 1789, an event marked with an 1883 statue of Washington by John Quincy Adams Ward. This was also where the Bill of Rights was adopted on September 25, 1789; where the Continental Congress approved the Northwest Ordinance in 1787; where the Stamp Act Congress met to protest ''taxation without representation'' in 1765; and where the trial of New York Weekly Journal editor John Peter Zenger established the principle that the truth cannot be libelous.

The building had been remodeled by Pierre L'Enfant in 1788, but the national capital was moved to Philadelphia in 1790, and the historic structure was demolished in 1812. The current building was built in 1842 as the U.S. Customs House, and became the U.S. Sub-Treasury in 1862, storing the gold and silver that moved in 1920 to the Federal Reserve Bank.


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2 (corner): This was the address of the American Magazine, New York's first monthly, published from 1787-88 by Samuel Loudon and largely written by Noah Webster.

New York Stock Exchange

8 (corner): The largest stock exchange in the world, the NYSE was founded on Wall Street in 1792 under a buttonwood tree; the exchange moved indoors in 1817 but did not prohibit trading in the street until 1836. It moved here in 1903, into a neoclassical landmark designed by George B. Post. The pediment, designed by J.Q.A. Ward, depicts Integrity surrounded by Agriculture, Mining, Science, Industry and Invention; the 90-ton sculpture had to be replaced in 1936 with a lighter hollow-lead version.

Abbie Hoffman threw dollar bills on the trading floor in 1967 to proclaim the Death of Money. More succesfully, ACT-UP in 1989 urged traders to "Sell Welcome!" in order to force the drug company to lower the cost of the drug AZT.

20 (corner): The public entrance to the Stock Exchange.

22: Delmonico's opened a branch at this address in 1865 that became a favorite of stockbrokers. It closed in 1893.

26: New York's first Latin school opened here in 1659, with Lithuanian-born Alexander Carolus Curtius as headmaster. Criticized for not disciplining his students well, he returned to Europe in 1661.

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The fire that started on December 15, 1835-- in some respects the worst fire in New York history-- destroyed nearly the entire city to the south and east of this corner.

Morgan Bank

23 (corner): Built in 1913. One can still see the damage to the marble facade from a dynamite bombing on September 16, 1920 that killed 33 people here. Though the perpetrators were never identified, an anarchist had tried to murder J.P. Morgan Jr. earlier in the year, so militants of that stripe are generally blamed. An earlier Morgan building on the site was one of the first to use electricity, installed in 1882 by Thomas Edison for the office of J.P. Morgan Sr.--one of his main financial backers.

At this corner was Downing's Oyster House, a popular restaurant with financiers, politicians and journalists in pre-Civil War days. (Charles Dickens ate here on his visit to New York.) The African-American owner, Thomas Downing, helped slaves escape to freedom as part of the Underground Railroad. He may or may not be the namesake of Downing Street in Greenwich Village.

15 (corner): From 1888 until 1892, between his two separated terms of office, President Grover Cleveland worked here at the law firm of Bangs, Stetson, Tracy and MacVeagh.


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In the 17th Century, Broad Street's Amsterdam-style canal came up nearly to this intersection, allowing ships' cargoes to be unloaded directly into inland warehouses.

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30 (corner): A 48-story Art Deco building completed in 1932.

38: On July 19, 1845, during a widespread fire, the saltpeter stored in the Crooker and Warren warehouse here exploded, destroying the building in a blast heard as far away as Sandy Hook.

44: Woodhall, Clafin & Company, the first brokerage firm headed by women, opened here on February 4, 1870. The firm was backed by Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, a former client of Victoria Woodhull from her clairvoyant days. This office was also the headquarters of her 1872 presidential campaign.










50: Willauer, Sharpe & Bready designed this 1913 building with two towers and white terra-cotta cladding. Wall Street bulls and bears can be seen on the third story.

60 (corner): This building was the offices of Drexel Burnham Lambert, chaired by Michael Milken, known as the Junk Bond King. Milken went to jail for insider trading as Drexel became the symbol for the financial excesses of the 1980s.

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25 (corner): Built in 1899-1900 as the headquarters of the City Investing Company (Robert Maynicke, architect, revised by Clinton & Russell). Once the largest office building in the world, this building "worthy of the best on Park Avenue" (AIA Guide) was converted to condos in 1998 and is now known as The Exchange.

31: In 1903, this was the address of the Daily Financial News.

Claremont School

37-41: A 1929 Cross & Cross building in the Classical Revival style put up for the Lee-Higginson Bank, later offices for Bank of America, now home to the Claremont Preparatory School. The frieze is by Leo Friedlander, who did the reliefs on the RCA Building. The former banking floor, now an event space known as the Broad Street Ballroom, features a 225-foot wraparound mural, A Pageant of the History of Commerce by Sea, painted in 1929 by Griffith Baily Coale. Unusually, this nine-story building replaced a 26-story structure put up in 1907, Francis H. Kimball's Trust Company of America Building.

45: The American Bureau of Shipping Building served from 1945 until 1978 as the headquarters for the maritime oversight group. The ABS's eagle can be seen above the central archway.

55 (corner): The New York Information Technology Center is a 30-story office building with a number of high-tech tenants.


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At this intersection on June 6, 1775, British troops leaving the city for Boston were stopped by New York militia officer Marinus Willett and forced to relinquish a cartload of guns. The British had been granted safe passage out of the city but were only allowed to retain their personal arms. The confiscated weapons were given to New York's first revolutionary army.

West:

70 (block): Originally the American Bank Note Company Headquarters, a 1908 neoclassical design by Kirby, Petit & Green, this was converted into a restaurant, Wall Street Kitchen & Bar, in 1996.


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76: This was the address of a boardinghouse bought by the Delmonico family in 1834. The next year, the great fire of 1835 destroyed the family's famous restaurant, but they were able to transfer operations to this location, which survived. The boardinghouse itself burned down in the great fire of 1845.

80: The Maritime Exchange Building is a 1931 Sloan & Robertson work that housed a clearinghouse for shipping news. Note the seahorses above the entrance and the nautical mural by Lillian Gaertner Palmedo in the lobby.


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90 (block): A 33-story pre-war building with a Beaux Arts lobby








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Named for a bridge that crossed the canal here.

100 (block): The New York Clearing House Association, which coordinates check clearance between different banks, built this "funky little building" (AIA Guide) in 1962 (Rogers & Butler, architects). In 1986, the 27-story mirrored glass Broad Financial Center, designed by Fox & Fowle, was allowed to overhang the building so as to justify its name. (It's actually on Whitehall Street.)

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67 (block): The International Telephone and Telegraph Building, erected in 1928 by Garment District developer Abraham Lefcourt as the Lefcourt Exchange Building, was almost immediately bought by ITT--which expanded the building to take over the whole block by 1930. (Buchman & Kahn were the original architects; Louis S. Weeks did the addition.) The southwestern entrance has a mosaic dome that depicts Commerce uniting the hemispheres with electricity. Also known as 75 Broad Street







Corner: In 1741, this corner was the location of a general store owned by Robert and Rebecca Hogg. A burglary there on February 28 of that year set off a panic, with authorities seeing the crime as part of a "Great Negro Plot" to burn down the town. Thirty-four people, mostly enslaved Africans, were hanged or burnt at the stake before the hysteria was over.


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Goldman Sachs Building

85 (block): The investment bank occupies this 1983 Skidmore, Owings & Merrill building of nearly a million square feet. (Its bulk derives in part from buying Fraunces Tavern's air rights.) Goldman Sachs was founded in 1869 by Bavarian immigrant Marcus Goldman. Its recent top executives include Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, Sen. Jon Corzine and Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

The octagonal building erased part of historic Stone Street, with the building's curved elevator lobby tracing the missing segment. More history can be seen in the building's plaza: Prior to construction, an archeological dig turned up the foundations of a public inn built by the Dutch West India Company in 1641, which became New Amsterdam's first city hall, or Stadt Huys, in 1653, and served as the seat of local government until 1699. Its outlines are marked in brick on the sidewalk, along with those of the King's House, a tavern set up in 1670 by Gov. Francis Lovelace. (The tavern's actual foundations can be seen through a window in the pavement.)


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West:

This block was the site of the Merchants Exchange Building, which served as the New York State capital building from 1784 until 1796, when the capital was moved to Albany. The U.S. Supreme Court held its first session here on February 17, 1790; earlier, the first U.S. District Court convened here on November 3, 1789. In keeping with New Yorkers' early disdain for history, the building was torn down in 1799.


































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Fraunces Tavern

Corner (54 Pearl): In 1762, Samuel Frances turned a mansion recently built on landfill into a tavern called The Queen's Head, after its identifying portrait of Queen Charlotte. It was a popular meetingplace, hosting not only the first New York Chamber of Commerce in 1768 but also clandestine meetings of the Sons of Liberty plotting for colonial independence.

George Washington became a friend of Fraunces', and chose his tavern to host an emotional farewell to his officers on December 4, 1783, at which he declared: "I most devoutly wish that your later days may be as prosperous as your former ones have been glorious and honorable. Fraunces later served as steward to President Washington's household-- which was, of course, in New York City; Washington, D.C. not having been built yet. During the Washington administration, the departments of Foreign Affairs, Treasury and War were located here.

The current building is a tiny bit of the original tavern combined with a great deal of imaginative reconstruction c. 1900.

101: The first recorded concert given in New York was given at this address on January 21, 1736, in the home of vintner Robert Todd. The concert, led by C.T. Pachabel (Johann's son), featured instrumental music for harpsichord, flute and violin.

The address was later the home of the Angler's Club of New York, where on January 24, 1975, the Puerto Rican independence group FALN set off a bomb targeting Fraunces Tavern. Four people were killed, the only deaths in a long string of FALN bombings. In addition to not killing people, independence movements seeking support for their cause ought to treat George Washington as their ally rather than their enemy.


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West:

1 New York Plaza

114 (block): The southernmost skyscraper in Manhattan, this 50-story building by William Lescaze & Assocs. and Kahn & Jacobs was built in 1969-70. A fire here on August 5, 1970, shortly after the building opened, killed two workers and caused steel support structures to buckle, but the concrete floor slabs held the building up.





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107 (corner): 4 New York Plaza, a 22-story fortress-like structure of brown brick, was built in 1969 as the Manufacturers Hanover Trust Operations Center. It's said that the facade is intended to resemble a computer punchcard.

125 (corner): The 40-story 2 New York Plaza, a 1971 Kahn & Jacobs design that resembles the architects' 1 New York Plaza across the street. The American Civil Liberties Union has its New York offices here.

The Vietnam Veterans Plaza is on the other side of this building.


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Battery Maritime Building

A beautiful if somewhat decrepit landmark, this Beaux Arts structure (Walker and Morris, architects) was built in 1909 as a terminal for the Brooklyn ferry, a service that stopped in 1938. (Sorry, Walt Whitman!) After a long period of purposelessness, the building now serves as the dock for the ferry to Governors Island and the New York Harbor High School there.

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What is missing on Broad or Nassau streets? Write to Jim Naureckas and tell him about it.

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