Dominating the downtown skyline, the American International Building (AIG) at 70 Pine Street, rose up during the heart of the Great Depression, 1930-1932. The building was originally built for the Cities Service Company (now known as CITGO), owned by the oil and gas baron Henry Latham Doherty. Architecture firms Clinton & Russell and Colton & George designed the 66-story granite and limestone giant in the popular Art Deco style. Also popular at the time was the Gothic spire which adorns the top and made it the tallest building downtown at that time. After September 11th, the 952-foot building became the tallest skyscraper downtown, until the the construction of 4 WTC and 1 WTC.
Images via NYC-Architecture
The American International Building installed a double-decker elevator during instruction. They took the idea from the Empire State Building which in 1931 installed the first elevator that served two floors at a time.
Two features that are longer part of the building include a connecting skybridge to a building at 60 Wall Street, as well as an ornate observatory on the 66th floor. After AIG bought the building in 1976 the observatory was closed to the public and only open to executives a few hours a day.
AIG sold the building in 2008 due to financial troubles. Today 70 Pine Street is currently being developed into luxury apartments, retail space, and possibly hotel rooms. Despite all its history the American International Building was a late bloomer–it was only designated as a landmark in 2011.
This building is also pretty vain. It has a miniature model of itself incorporated above the entrance.