11. The Secret of the Pyramids

70 Pine-Spire-Renovation-Rose Associates-Urban Exploration-Untapped Cities-NYC

At first glance, 70 Pine Street does not appear to be filled with intrigue. This glamorous 1932 art deco skyscraper, once called (rather blandly) the American International Building, has delightful silvery ornamentation that makes it feel like the Chrysler Building’s fancy-pants downtown sister. But hang on, because things get really “reflective” in the entranceways.

70 Pine-Lobby-Interior-Art Deco-Renovation-Financial District-Rose Associates-NYC_23 copyLobby interior of 70 Pine

The building features a fourteen-foot miniature representation of itself inside the center pillar of the east portal. And inside that mini-me? Another, even tinier version. And this continues, building reflected in building, into the realm of subatomic particles. (Okay, we exaggerate a bit. But it gets seriously small.) Creepy things continue around the doorways, where an unusual pyramidal motif will leave you with more unanswered questions.

Are the Freemasons behind this? Is there a spooky message to decipher? Does this have to do with Mary Magdalene? Alas, no. The building was originally commissioned by Henry L. Doherty as a temple to his Cities Service Company, a utility company. Their logo was a pyramid. Today we know a greatly expanded Cities Service Company by another name: Citgo. Their logo? A pyramid. (Mic drop.) (70 Pine Street)

Pine_Street-Pyramids-Manhattan-NYC-Greg_Young-Untapped_CitiesMystery of the pyramids: Intriguing iconography adorns this skyscraper on Pine Street. Photo by Greg Young 

Read on for more and get the book The Bowery Boys: Adventures in Old New York on Amazon.