8. It Faced Obscurity As Skyscrapers Began to Tower Over It

From its construction in 1846 to the completion of the New York World Building in 1890, Trinity Church was the atallest structure in New York City. As skyscrapers became more common and ever more ambitious, however, the once-towering church found itself in the shadow of buildings and towers twice its size. A humorous cartoon, ‘The Future of Trinity Church,’ published in 1907 by Albert Levering in Puck’s Monthly Magazine and Almanac guessed at the church’s future, lost in a bustling world of modernity. The wood engraving is thought to be a parody of the famous King’s Dream of New York illustration, which showed a future New York City of skyscraper walls, skybridges and blimps.

Though a building has yet to surround Trinity Church the way the engraving depicts, fears of a city completely engulfed in the shadow of ever-larger skyscrapers prompted the Zoning Ordinance of 1916, requiring height and setback limits on any future building in the city.