Woolworth Building under construction. Image via Library of Congress
The construction of the Woolworth Building, once one of the tallest buildings in the world, was such a feat that there is a wealth of vintage photographs documenting the building process. The Museum of the City of New York has so many images, it takes pages and pages to go through the construction photographs. While today, most admire the Woolworth Building for its neo-Gothic exterior built atop a steel frame, many of the technological marvels were hidden in multiple levels of basements.
Here, we’re sharing with you some of those impressive images and on August 12th, you can join our exclusive tour of the Woolworth Building which will take you down the three cellar levels of the landmarked building, as well as a guided walk through the stunning lobby. You’ll get a complete picture of the engineering feat and aesthetic masterpiece that the Woolworth Building is.
The Waldorf- Astoria Hotel
The famed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel has a quintessential New York City-origin story. It began as a family feud and rivalry between two very wealthy cousins who shared the last name Astor. William Waldorf Astor proceeded to irritate his cousin John Jacob Astor by building a 13-story hotel on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 33rd Street, on a residential block where John Jacob’s mother lived. Four years later, John Jacob, in turn, built a 17-story hotel just a few feet away–and the rest is history.
NYC’s Flatiron Building on Île de la Cité with the Pont Neuf in Paris
You may remember one of the early Fun Maps that we made, What If Manhattan Were Like Paris? where we superimposed the Hausmannian street grid of Paris onto Manhattan (retaining Central Park for orientation). Now, in Haussmanhattan Luis Fernandes has taken the concept to cityscapes using vintage photography. We’re not surprised Fernandes is both an architect and photographer, as the ties between the two cities have endless possibilities for comparisons, whether in graphic design, illustration, video, photography or more. And we’re honored that he did a reversal of What If Manhattan Were Like Paris? too!
In this series of photos, we’ll break down exactly parts of the urban fabric he pulled from both cities and the famous buildings you’ll see:
We’ve made a big update to our long-running tour of the Woolworth Building with even more behind-the-scenes access than before! On August 12th and September 16th, Untapped Cities will offer an hour-long tour of the normally off-limits Woolworth Building which will feature not only a visit through the stunning lobby but also an exclusive walk through the massive basement levels. On this tour of the underbelly of the Woolworth Building, you’ll get a complete picture of the engineering feat and aesthetic masterpiece that the skyscarper is. With access to locations not normally included on any other public tour, this behind the scenes look at the underpinnings of one of NYC’s most important historic landmarks is only available exclusively through Untapped Cities. Tickets are limited in number.
The tour will be led Lisa Renz, a preservationist working directly on the Woolworth Building and Roy Suskin of The Witkoff Group who manages the building. In addition to a guided visit through the spectacular lobby, we will also visit the cellar level where the bank vault is located and where the former entrances to the subway are, the sub-cellar jam-packed full of machinery, and the boiler room, an immense space that one housed the engine room that once powered and lighted the building.
The Lincoln Tunnel Image via prophotography101.com
Opening to traffic for the first time in 1937, the Lincoln Tunnel connecting Weehawken, New Jersey to Midtown Manhattan was hailed as the next great engineering triumph. The New Deal’s Public Work’s Administration provided funds for its construction in 1934, fresh off the success of the northern Holland Tunnel, the first mechanically ventilated underwater automobile tunnel to be built under the Hudson River. A second tube was built shortly after the Lincoln Tunnel’s first, with a third requested due to increasing traffic built in the late 50s. To this day, the three tunnels service hundreds of thousands of cars and buses coming in and out of New York City.
Many commuters today write it off as a nuisance, but like many old things in the city, the Lincoln Tunnel has its share of secrets. As The New York Times calls for new Hudson River tunnels to be built, we gathered our favorite 10 fun facts about the Lincoln Tunnel:
Inbound traffic on the New Jersey side. Image via myhomeimprovement.org
The numbers themselves are quite staggering. The Tunnel is 1.5 miles long, 95 feet underwater at its deepest point, and cost about $1.5 billion to build, adjusting for inflation. On average, it sees upwards of 120,000 cars passing through every day, making it one of the busiest roadways in the country. The Tunnel’s separate bus lane sees about 1,700 buses every morning, primarily bringing its 62,000 commuters to the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 42nd Street.
Photo by Nick Reale for Untapped Cities
It’s summer and New Yorkers know what that means: riding the subway can be unbearable from the heat. Plus, it involves other people–the inevitable moments you get crammed up into someone sweaty armpit or grab a glob of something unknown on the poles. The WNYC Data Team has been tasked on something quite timely. First, they’ve created a “Live Subway Agony Index” which we’ve embedded below and they’ve also created a guide to which subway cars are likely to be more hot (something key to know when faced with the choice of transfers).