The Landmarks Conservancy was pleased to offer its members a rare, behind-the-scenes tour of the the Woolworth Building which is celebrating its 100th Anniversary this year.
The Woolworth Building, also known as the “Cathedral of Commerce”, is one of New York’s famous iconic skyscrapers and one of Cass Gilbert’s masterpieces. Commissioned by Frank Woolworth in 1910 and constructed in neo-Gothic style, the Woolworth Company’s corporate headquarters was the world’s tallest building from its opening in 1913 until 1930.
Cass Gilbert’s design was hailed by critics for the picturesqueness of its Gothic silhouette in skyline views. The tower’s upper stages, evocative of European cathedrals, feature an array of gables, crockets and finials. At the building’s base, a Tudor Gothic portal opens to a monumental lobby recalling a Romanesque cathedral nave and murals, “Labor” and “Commerce,” frame a gracious marble staircase.
The Woolworth Building was named a National Historic Landmark in 1966 and in 1983, a New York City Landmark.
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Throughout the year, Circle tours go behind-the-scenes of some of New York’s most interesting historic properties. Some tours require hard hats to visit projects during restoration, while others showcase completed restorations of commercial buildings, residences, museums, churches, and synagogues. On occasion, conservators, engineers, and craftspeople open their studios to our Circle members.