40 Wall Street has a few claims to fame. It was once the world’s tallest building for just two months. It was built in less than a year. It is one of Donald Trump’s most proudest real estate acquisitions. It is also home to the fanciest Duane Reade in New York City.
The New York City-based pharmacy, now owned by Walgreens, was founded as a full-service drugstore in 1960. Its first store was located between Duane and Reade streets in Lower Manhattan, where the company derives its name from.
40 Wall Street was built 1929-30 for the Manhattan Company, which was first located in a townhouse at this same site in 1799. The company was run by Aaron Burr (yes, THE Aaron Burr who killed Alexander Hamilton) and was the first organized water delivery service in New York City, with exclusive rights to supply water to the young city. The Manhattan Company became the Bank of Manhattan Trust Company (which later became Chase and then J.P. Morgan Chase).
The bottom six floors of 40 Wall Street were designed as banking floors, with all the lofty architectural details accorded to the industry. 40 Wall Street has a steel frame, like other skyscrapers of the era, but the exterior of the banking levels is clad with granite and limestone. According to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the facade is “articulated on both street exteriors by a classical colonnade, in keeping with the traditions of Wall Street.” The architect H. Craig Severance designed the building with collaboration from Yasuo Matsui, and Shreve & Lamb as consulting architects.
After entering the ground floor entrance, take the escalators up to get to the fancy Duane Reade. You’ll emerge into a rotunda of sorts with a colonnade of black marble balustrades. The main portion of the store features a series of limestone arches. The section of the store closest to the street, merchandized with makeup and skincare products, has the most impressive details however, with marble columns, and pedimented marble doorway openings and elevator banks. One of the limestone columns contains a brief history of the building, where people have scratched off the word Trump from the story.
Duane Reade considers this store its flagship store and moved its headquarters inside across two floors in 2012, a year after the store opened. The Walgreens acquisition included Duane Reade’s offices in 40 Wall Street, its stores and distribution centers.
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