I owe this gallery of unforgettable and rare architectural images to Hana Alberts, executive editor of Curbed NY.
A few times a year, the Woolworth Building allows tours of it’s lobby to a select few groups, including Curbed. On this occasion, Curbed NY wanted to convey the architectural majesty and beauty of the Woolworth Building for their readers and assigned me to the task. Thanks Curbed!
As for the building, here’s a short history. It is a neo-gothic design, although interior designs like the vaulted ceilings are a departure from that style. Completed in 1913 by architect Cass Gilbert it was funded personally by F.W. Woolworth, of ‘five and dime’ fame. I can’t remember the actual cost figures because I was too busy getting yelled at by the guide for taking pictures during his talk. But I believe it was around $13 million at the time which is something over $1 billion in 2013 dollars.
In addition to the immensity and style of the interior were the amazing details, and not just architecture. There are sculptural tributes to the people central to the Woolworth building’s development and construction. Up in the corners and along the ceiling, everywhere you look, there are highly stylized sculptures, grotesques, of Woolworth himself, Cass Gilbert and others real and imagined.
There’s just too much to tell about this amazing feat of New York City architectural engineering but there’s plenty to find if you just Google the Woolworth building.