Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"Demolition of Seven Buildings on Broadway - One Imposing Structure to Take Their Place."

May 24, 1868, New York Times, "Demolition of Seven Buildings on Broadway - One Imposing Structure to Take Their Place."

A large number of workmen are now engaged in the demolition of seven buildings on Broadway, from the southeast corner of Cedar-St. downward. They occupy a frontage on Broadway of nearly 100 feet and a depth of 138 feet. Upon and covering the site of these seven buildings, the architects, Messrs. GILMAN & KENDALL, have been selected to erect a substantial and imposing ediface for the Equitable Life Insurance Company. This building, the design of which is nearly complete, is to be six stories in height, and composed mainly of the fine grained white granite of Concord New Hampshire. The architectural astyle is to be that which is now generally recognized as Renaissance. The first, or basement story, is to be built of the darker Quincy granite, boldly rusticated; the next, or grand entrance story, is to be in Roman Doric; the next Ionic, and the others varied, yet in harmony with those below and the dominant architectural idea. The basement story will be massive in appearance as well as reality, with wide openings for windows and doors. The facades of the stories above, on Broadway and on Cedar-street, are designed with arcades of the several orders which, above the basement, embrace two stories of the interior to one of exterior. The grand entrance story is intended to finish 20 feet 8 inches in its clear exterior height. On the pediment over the main entrance portico on Broadway, there is to be a sculptural allegorical group representing the "Guardian Angel of Life Assurance," stretching an arm of protection over the widow and the fatherless, with the title of the institution above. For Ionic there will be two stories of rooms corresponding in height with the interior grand hall---a height of 25 feet 6 inches; the first story to be 13 feet, and the second twelve feet---the fire proof flooring filling the difference in measurement. The other stories are to be similarly included, within the clear of a single order, and respectively 12 feet 6 inches in height. By the adoption of the plan of including two interior stories in one exterior, the architects have been enabled to secure a largeness, breadth and boldness of exterior composition, which could not have been obtained, perhaps, in any other way.

The principle entrance to the offices on the first floor, is to be by a spacious doorway on Broadway, opening into a vestibule, 18 feet by 21, and communicating by a central corridor 10 feet in width with the main staircase, the halls and other parts of the ediface. The staircase is to be 6 feet in width and of easy rises and treads throughout. It is to be lighted from three windows on each story and a domed skylight. The staircase hall is to be 19 by 24 feet. The divisions of the several stories are to be various in size. The cellar will be divided into large apartments, formed by the main walls of the divisions above. The basement is to be 11 feet 4 inches in height and divided in like manner with the next or entrance floor, and with a wide entrance on Cedar-street as well as on Broadway. The main entrance story is to be 20 feet 6 inches in height, containing, on the Broadway front, two large rooms designed for banking purposes---the one on the left of the vestibule to be 32 feet by 98, and the one on the right 30 feet by 56. The rooms for the Institution itself are to be on the upper floors, and are to be unique in design and furniture. The central or main business room of the Society is to measure 35 by 105 feet in area, and have an interior height of 25 feet 6 inches. It is claimed that this, as a business room, will be superior to any other in this City. The other rooms for clerks, agents, and others connected with the Company, are to be large, well furnished, lighted and ventilated. Besides the stairways, there are to be two steam-driven passenger lifts communicating with the stair landing on the several floors, designed for the use of such as prefer riding to walking up and down the ediface. In the attic ther is to be a variety of rooms for storage and such occasional uses as they may be required for. The entire building is to be fireproof, and the declared determination is to make it the most imposing structure on Broadway, designed for business uses. The cutting and carving of the stone is now in progress, and it is the intention of the owners to have iy in readiness for occupancy on the 1st of May, 1869.

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