In a city known for its towering skyscrapers, the American Radiator Building commands attention with its unique black and gold facade. Located on 40 West 40th Street in Midtown Manhattan, it was conceived by architects John Howells and Raymond Hood for the American Radiator Company, a successful business trust, which consolidated a number of North American radiator and boiler manufacturers in the late 1800s.
Today, the twenty-three story tower has taken on new life as the Bryant Park Hotel, but its history — from its construction in 1924 to its present-day status as a center of hospitality — is not forgotten. Here are 10 secrets we uncovered about the iconic structure.
10. The Black Brick of the American Radiator Building Is Said to Represent Coal
Very fittingly, the American Radiator Building was designed to resemble the company’s signature product: the radiator. The black brick is said to represent coal, and the entire structure — when lit up at night by its floodlights — has been compared to “giant glowing coal.”
With its dramatic appearance, the building essentially came to serve as advertisement for the American Radiator Company. Architect Raymond Hood, however, has denied the claim that the symbolic effect was intentional.