You know that skyscraper downtown that’s one of your favorites in the city, but you don’t actually know its name? That’s 70 Pine Street – formerly known as the Cities Service Building (who built it in 1932) and the AIG Building (who bought it in 1976 and were forced to sell it during the Great Recession).
The all-glass atrium on its 66th floor has been described as looking as if “sugar cubes had been lighted from the inside,” and has done duty as a public observation deck (admission: 40 cents in 1939), as a lounge for AIG Executives, and is slated to become a high-end restaurant.
Rose Associates is the exclusive leasing and managing agent for 70 Pine, and has undertaken the three-year renovation. Untapped Cities recently got a special preview of the building, including a trip to the atrium, and up to the 100 foot spire above it. Here are our top 10 secrets of 70 Pine Street:
1. 70 Pine Was the Tallest Building in Downtown NYC – Twice.
When 70 Pine topped out at 952 feet in 1932, it beat out its neighbor 40 Wall Street for the title of Tallest Building in Downtown New York by 25 feet – a title it held for over 40 years until the completion of the original World Trade Center. When the Twin Towers were destroyed, 70 Pine held the title again for another 12 years until the completion of 4 World Trade Center in 2013.
The construction of 70 Pine marked the end of an era. It barely made it up before the Great Depression and WWII put an end to the Art Deco skyscraper era. Another skyscraper didn’t rise in downtown New York for almost another 30 years.
Aerial view of 70 Pine. Image by Frank Zimmerman.