15. The Herald Building

New York Herald Building-Herald Square-Vintage Photo-NYCThe New York Herald Building in 1895. Image from Library of Congress.

In the 1890s, James Gordon Bennet Jr., the son of The New York Herald newspaper founder James Gordon Bennet Sr., decided to move the paper’s headquarters away from “Newspaper Row,” north to a triangular plot of land at the intersection of Broadway and 6th Avenue between 35th and 36th Streets. After signing a thirty year lease on the land, he commissioned Stanford White to design the new headquarters.

White based his design on the 1476 Venetian Renaissance Palazzo del Consiglio in Verona. Some criticized it for being “too perfect” a copy, but the extravagant building received mostly positive reviews. The area surrounding the building came to be known as Herald Square and people would flock to peek through the building’s large arched windows to watch the printers at work. Lining the roof of the building were twenty-six four-foot bronze owls, an animal which Bennet made the symbol of the newspaper. The birds at the corners of the roof had green glass eyes that glowed on and off with the toll of the Herald’s clock. Bennet paid for these sculptures himself so he would have full ownership of them.

By the end of the thirty year lease the Herald was acquired by The New York Tribune and the building was demolished in two stages. According to the Daytonian in Manhattan, the northern half went down in 1928 and the rest was replaced with a four-story structure designed by architect H. Craig Severance in 1940.