3. The Building Was Stolen in 1974

Edward Laing Stores-Bogarus Building-Washington Market-Urban Renewal-Demolition-Stolen-NYC-8Image via Library of Congress

Manhattan Borough Community College would not begin construction until 1974, so the Bogardus building remained in pieces during the interim. According to Moving Historic Structure: The Washington Street Urban Renewal Project, a master thesis for the University of Pennsylvania by Diana Alyssa Jackier, “On June 25th, 1974, Beverly Moss Spatt, chairman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission reportedly ran into the press room at City Hall announcing, “Someone has stolen one of my buildings.”

The building contractor had discovered three men loading large pieces onto a truck and was unable to stop them. Catching the license plate, the contractor was able to provide the police with critical information to catch the perpetrators, who said they had been stealing 20 to 30 panels, 2/3 of the facade, over the previous several weeks, and sold them–22 broken pieces were subsequently found in a Bronx junkyard for $90 a truckload.