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20-exchange-place-banking-hall-wpa-murals-skyscraper-downtown-manhattan-observation-deck-film-locations-inside-man-nycWPA murals inside the banking hall at 20 Exchange Place

Other skyscrapers in the Financial District have received more attention in recent years, notably 70 Pine, but 20 Exchange was more than press-worthy when it opened. The building was completed in 1931 with state of the art conveniences, including “refrigerated water,” recessed radiators built into the structure, plate glass windows, telephone outlets. At the opening of 20 Exchange on February 24th, 1931, the building was deluged by visitors – an hourly average of 3,851 guests, reported the New York Times.

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20 Exchange is one of the lesser-known Art Deco-era skyscrapers in New York City’s Financial District but made a big splash when it first opened in 1931 as the fourth tallest building in the city. It also held the distinction of being the very tallest building in New York City with a stone facade. It was built on a plot of land that you can find on the earliest known map of New Amsterdam, the Castello plan.

Built as the headquarters for City Bank-Farmers Trust, 20 Exchange has interiors that are truly stunning and are still preserved today. Most of the building was converted into residential in the mid-2000s, allowing the public to see the opulent lobby again, but there are plenty of places still off-limits to the public. We recently took a tour with building management to get some of the secrets and fun facts about 20 Exchange. Here are ten of our favorites:

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Here’s what the Untapped Cities staff is reading in the HQ today:

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We’re particularly excited about our behind the scenes tours offerings this week: Our Secrets of Grand Central Tour is back with a vengeance this weekend, with four time slots. Wednesday’s tours of the disappearing neon signs of Greenwich Village, led by author Tom Rinaldi, is almost sold out but a few tickets are still left. We’re heading back to Rooftop Reds, the world’s first commercial viable rooftop vineyard led on a tour and tasting led by the founders of the company. And we’ll explore the Gowanus Canal with Joseph Alexiou, author of Gowanus: Brooklyn’s Curious CanalSee more descriptions and get tickets below:

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2museum-of-jewish-heritage-viewCredit: David Paler / Museum of Jewish Heritage

The Museum of Jewish Heritage–A Living Memorial to the Holocaust may be one of the lesser known monuments to Jewish history in New York, but it is a potent one.

From the Lower East Side to Brooklyn, from Milton Berle to Jerry Seinfeld, Jewish people are fundamental to New York City’s image of itself. With a population of 1.1 million, Jews make up about 13% of the city’s population, but their influence through figures like Robert Moses, Michael Bloomberg, and Woody Allen testifies to a far larger impact than numbers would indicate.

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Until 1 pm today, a replica of the Triumphal Arch of Palmyra was under a cover at City Hall Park when there was a large unveiling for the public. The 20 foot tall, 30 ton marble replica of the Syrian arch was installed yesterday.

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