New York bulges with iconic buildings. The Woolworth Building is one of them.
When it was completed in 1913 it proudly carried the title of tallest in the world. Now it’s not even the tallest of New York anymore. But still, it figures in every guide book and people still look up to its terracotta façade.
For decades the doors of the Woolworth remained closed to the public. Now it can be visited.
Although the tour is limited to the hall, it offers a spectacle of gold-leafed mosaics, vaulted ceilings and Tiffany elevator doors.
The neo-Gothic style and the cruciform floor plan has earned the Woolworth the name of Cathedral of Commerce. This denomination has not always been appreciated because the building has nothing to do with religion.
Because of the quality materials and the expert craftsmanship, the lobby has been extremely well preserved over the years.
The threat to the Woolworth has rather come from outside. During the 9/11 attacks, the building was damaged by scattered debris from the Twin Towers, only a few blocks away. Windows were shattered and one turret crumbled.
Protected as a National Historic Landmark since 1966, the Woolworth’ s upper floors are now being remodeled. The main body of the building remains office space. The higher floors are being converted in luxury residences. And everybody will be dying to know who is going to occupy the five-level penthouse. And how much the rent will be!
To illustrate how innovative and important the Woolworth Building was at its opening in 1913: instead of a common ribbon-cutting, President Wilson pushed a button in the White House (yes, in DC) that switched on all the interior and exterior lights of the building (yes, in NY).
—tours only by appointment through http://www.woolworthtours.com—