The Cooper Union Foundation Building at Astor Place stands today amongst modern monoliths, remnants of a day when the elevated IRT Third Avenue rail still ran down the Bowery. With even more big changes are underway with the urban streetscape getting a complete redesign by WXY Architecture, Untapped Cities writer Daniel London had a chance to take a look at what lies behind the great clock in the Cooper Union Building:

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Built in 1859 by architect Frederick A. Peterson, the brownstone building is also the oldest standing steel framed building in America. It was also built with the forerunner of the elevator: a cylindrical shaft within which goods were moved by pulley. The famous Great Hall has been the scene of many important historical moments as an important meeting site in the birth of the NAACP, the women’s rights movement, worker’s labor movement and more.

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Fun fact: the clock turns red when illuminated! Did you know that Cooper Union is also home to one of the lost eagles of the original Penn Station?