New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
233 Broadway, Cass Gilbert, Architect, 1910-1913
— Exploring Downtown —
Wander in to what was once called the "Cathedral of Commerce" and you will find yourself in a vaulted arcade resplendent in marble walls, bronze Gothic filigree, and golden mosaics. Mimicking the nave and transept plan of church architecture, Woolworth's lobby rises to a gleaming mosaic ceiling. Voluptuous Gothic detail ranges from elaborately finished mailboxes to austere altar pieces of Labor and Commerce on the mezzanines. Sculpted caricatures
[Photo captions:] "What shall I say of a city that builds the most beautiful cathedral in the world and calls it an office building?" - British Prime Minister Arthur Balfour.
Gargoyles of F. W. Woolworth (top) and Cass Gilbert (bottom).
(Above) Set further back in the lobby is the Marble Hall, whose grand staircase rises to the former entrance of the Irving Trust Company. Secular rather than ecclesiastical in flavor, reminiscent of a flat-roofed medieval guild hall, it rises to a sumptuous glass ceiling inscribed with the names of history's great commercial cities.
ALSO IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD:
 Broadway-Chambers Building. A few blocks north at 277 Broadway. Cass Gilbert's first New York skyscraper--completed in 1900--sports terra-cotta ornament inspired by ancient Roman designs.
 Wall Street Building. A dockside Gothic skyscraper for the shipping trade--at 90 West Street, opposite Downtown's former shoreline--Cass Gilbert's second tower (1905-1907) offered its original tenants grand views of their own fleets sailing up
 United States Courthouse. In his last work (1934-34), at 40 Centre Street in the Court District, Gilbert wrapped the classical colonnade of a typical federal courthouse around a 38-story, 590-foot-tall New York skyscraper.
Erected by Alliance for Downtown New York, Inc.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Architecture • Industry & Commerce. In addition, it is included in the National Historic Landmarks series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1929.
Location. 40° 42.743′ N, 74° 0.475′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker is on Broadway, on the right when traveling south. Marker is on the sidewalk between Park Place and Barclay Street, near the building's main entrance. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10007, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Woolworth Building (a few steps from this marker); The Bridewell 1775-1838 (a few steps from this marker); British Soldiers' Barracks (within shouting distance of this marker); Liberty Poles (within shouting distance of this marker); The Freedom Tree (within shouting distance of this marker); New York City Hall Park (within The Croton Fountain 1842-1870 (within shouting distance of this marker); The Jacob Wrey Mould Fountain (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
Regarding Woolworth Building. The building is listed in the "AIA (American Institute of Architects) Guide to New York City, Fifth Edition".
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. According to this marker, architect Cass Gilbert was born in Zanesville, Ohio.
Also see . . .
1. Tallest buildings in NYC. (Submitted on November 8, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
2. Cass Gilbert. (Submitted on November 8, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
3. F. W. Woolworth. (Submitted on November 8, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
4. Woolworth Building NYC Architecture. (Submitted on November 10, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.)
5. The Magificent 1913 Woolworth Building -- Broadway at Park Place. "Daytonian in Manhattan" entry. (Submitted on April 13, 2020, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.)
Credits. This page was last revised on April 13, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 8, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,382 times since then and 11 times this year. Last updated on April 13, 2020, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. Photos: 1. submitted on November 8, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 2, 3. submitted on November 10, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. 4, 5, 6. submitted on November 8, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 7. submitted on February 5, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.