Sitting atop the freight transport center of the city is one of New York City’s oldest ‘modern’ buildings. The Starrett-Lehigh Building on West 26th Street was built in 1931 as a transportation and distribution center for the Starrett real-estate interests and the Lehigh Valley Railroad. Casting an unconventional shadow against the clunky grey buildings around it, the Starrett-Lehigh’s famous floor-to-ceiling windows are just one facet of its wacky design. Most recently, it was the site of the opening night gala of the 2015 Chelsea Music Festival, currently ongoing. Here are the top 6 fun facts we dug up about the place.
5. Intended as a Distribution Plant, The Building Sits Directly over A Freight Yard and the Chelsea Piers
Photo from New York Public Library
Built during a time when most everything was transported by train and Chelsea was one of the city’s most lucrative shipping and containment centers, the Starrett-Lehigh Building was constructed as a hub for freight transportation. It was built right on top of the Lehigh Valley Railroad’s working freight yard and was used primarily to store and process items in transit.