April 3, 1887, New York Times, "The Largest Mosaic In America,"
The Messrs. Herter are finishing the largest mosaic which has ever been made on this side of the Atlantic, for the arch in the great entrance hall of the Equitable Building. Mr. Francis Lathrop, who changed the decorations in the Metropolitan Opera House and designed the Apollo above the proscenium arch, is the author of this remarkable piece of work. The centre is occupied by a group, consisting of a draped woman with two draped children, who cling to her lovingly; they sit and stand on a raised dais, thus filling the upper section of the arch. To right and left are nude heroic figures of warriors. Greek in spirit, one holding a sword, the other leaning on a spear. The mosaic is at present visible only from behind, since the faces of the stones are temporarily embedded in a fixative, and when the mosaic is erected at the Equitable will be reversed. Hence certain portions composed of glass mosaic, the faces of which are gold, do not tell for that value on the reverse. The greater part, however, is built of small cubes of marble, agreeable in tone and cleverly managed so as to produce their effect with the broadness and simplicity required of this kind of work. Mr. Lathrop has hit the mean very well between the rudeness of the Roman pavement mosaics, together with those of a later date preserved at Ravenna, and the modern demand for greater care in the drawing. The modeling is very simple, the figures statuesque, the draperies of the central group not elaborated, the expressions resolute, but not forced. One of the legs of the guardian soldiers looks a little wrong in foreshortening, but, when in place considerably above the spectator's eye and reversed, this may not be the defect it looks at closer quarters. The border that outlines the sweep of the arch in this fine piece of work is wrought in jade green marble, and the pattern is somewhat like that of the border on the cover of the new Scribner's Magazine. Along with Mr. Lathrop's decorations in stained glass on the barrel vault of the great hall, the effect of this great mosaic cannot fail to be excellent.
Nov. 10, 1887, New York Times
A PROGRESSIVE INSTITUTION.
We have no more prominent instance of energy and progressiveness than is displayed in the history of the Mercantile Safe Deposit Company, in the Equitable Building. Not content with doing an ordinary safe deposit and storage business, it has been constantly adding new features to its business, all of them directly or indirectly adding to the security of its vaults and to the comfort and convenience of its subscribers. Reading rooms for the use of the patrons of the company, fitted up with writing desks and tables; with stock, news, and all the other indicators; with files of papers and magazines from all parts of the world; with directories of all the principal cities and towns in the United States, and with a library containing many valuable works of reference; an extended burglar alarm system, by means of which all the vaults in the building have the benefit of the company's elaborate and ingeniously-devised alarm connections; a well-organized patrol system, which not only watches the Equitable Building, but practically guards the whole block, and one might almost say the whole neighborhood; the silver bullion department, (through which is issued the new silver bullion certificates which are listed at the New-York Stock Exchange,) requiring specially constructed vaults and additional safeguards. And now the company is adding small, comfortably-furnished desk rooms for the use of those who require a desk down town but do not desire to bear the heavy expense of an office and a clerk. In addition at all these various features and departments, the company is about to open a warehouse department, where raw silk, opium, quinine, and other valuable commodities may be safely stored in specially-constructed vaults.---Exchange.
Jan. 8, 1888, New York Times,
A GORGEOUS EATING HOUSE.; THE NEW CAFE SAVARIN IN THE EQUITABLE BUILDING.
Those New-Yorkers who appreciate the triumphs of the gastronomic art are to have a resort unsurpassed in magnificence in any quarter of the globe. It is called the Cafe Savarin and is situated in the Equitable Building. This cafe will be opened on Tuesday evening by the Societe Anonyme de Restaurants aux Etats Unis, a company organized in Paris, with M.G. Dorval as manager. It is named after Billat-Savarin, statesman, jurist, and author of "Physiologie du Gout." The entire cafe occupies eight floors of the Equitable Building on the Pine Street side, and cost no less than $1,000,000 to furnish throughout.
The main cafe, restaurant, and serving room are situated on the ground floor, facing on Pine Street. The former is richly finished in white mahogany, with the walls in mosaic, while the ceiling is decorated in relief work. The next room is the main restaurant, which will seat about 200. This is also finished in white mahogany, with a very beautiful decorated ceiling. After the usual midday meal hours are over this room can be converted into a cafe, as it is furnished with a view to that end, the room room being paved with marble, the walls finished in tile, and the tables finished with marble tops. Adjoining are three very attractive private dining rooms, and on the next floor is the ladies dining room, to which gentlemen are not to be admitted unless accompanied by ladies. This will accommodate 100 people and is beautifully decorated. The cafe, grill room, and restaurant are in old oak, and the reception room, library, and other apartments are in white mahogany and bronze.
On the fifth and sixth floors are the rooms of the Lawyer's Club, capable of accommodating 800 people, as they are en suite, and on the seventh floor are several small dining rooms for private dinners. The kitchen, a model of its kind, is on the eighth floor, and in the basement are wine vaults and a receiving room for all supplies, with steam elevators and dumb waiters connecting with every apartment of the cafe. The wine cellar is one of the features of the cafe and is supplied from the celebrated cellars of the Cafe Voisin of Paris. The glass and chinaware, valued at $50,000, and the silver and damask are in the richest taste. Everything, in fact, is of the richest character, even where least expected to be found.
The best corps of cooks and waiters that Paris could afford has been secured, and the chef, M. Tenu, is acknowledged to be master of his art, while the popularity achieved by the steward, Eugene Kahn, at Delmonico's during the last 10 years is all the recommendation he needs.
The barroom, on the ground floor, is a marvel. The bar is finished in carved white mahogany and the finest onyx, and the other appointments of the room are equally magnificent. David Simpson is in charge.
One feature of the cafe is the ladies maids who are in attendance, with their trim black dresses and white caps and aprons, to tender to the comfort of lady patrons.