January 10, 1887, New York Times, "A Great Insurance Building. What the New Equitable Building Is To Be---A Model Broadway Structure That Will Be Ready For Occupancy On The First Of May."
...safety is written everywhere by the presence of materials that fire cannot make its impress on, and that are so solidly knit together that they would seem to bid defiance to any convulsion of nature itself. The building is what it seems to be, an absolutely fireproof structure.
Lawyers also appreciate the advantages of absolutely fire-proof quarters for records and papers.
Protection from fire is assured, not only by the character of the building itself, but by the presence in the building of three hydraulic pumping engines, having a capacity of forcing 7,500 gallons of water a minute, in addition to the pumps run in connection with the great water tanks on the roof.
Below them on the basement floor will be the offices of the Mercantile Safe Deposit, the largest institution of its kind in the world. The Mercantile Trust Company, one of the most important financial instiutions in the city, has already secured desirable quarters.
It is to lawyers that the smaller and cozy rooms on the upper floors will prove specially attractive. Not only will they be particuarly desirable for an attorney's office because of their interiors finished in quartered oak, and their roomy book shelves and closets, but because the occupants will have the privilege of availing themselves of the Equitable Law Library. Over 7,000 volumes of reports, digests, and textbooks, court reports, Federal and State, in this country, and those of the English, Scotch, and Irish courts, are on the shelves, and all the periodical law publications of consequence of this country and Europe are on the tables. That library is one of the most complete and valuable in the country, and its use is free to all lawyers who are tenants of the building, that alone makes it one of the most desirable spots in the city for a lawyer to be located, be his practice great or small. How great an advantage the presence of such a library readily at hand would be to the young attorney, whose library is necessarily limited, can be seen at a glance. This library is located on the third floor of the building, in the room formerly used as a Directors' room by the Equitable Society. It is a light, airy room, with cozy alcoves, and every nook and corner has tier upon tier of shelves loaded with the volumes containing the decisions of courts from Minnesota to Texas, from Maine to California, a perfect gold mine of legal lore to delve in. And delve there the legal tenant may to his heart's content, for it is put there expressly for his use.