After the construction of the Pan Am Building in 1963, Emery Roth and Sons had their hands in a lion’s share of the office buildings that were built in Manhattan. Under the command of Richard Roth, Jr., the firm was working with some of New York City’s most powerful developers. Of all his many clients, Richard’s favorite was a man named Melvyn Kaufman, who with a deep sense of humor and wanted to change the concept of what an office building had to be. Who needs a lobby? Why not put playful public art out where everyone can see it? In this virtual talk, Richard will tell us the stories behind some of the most fanciful and still fairly undiscovered buildings of his favorite client.

Water Street Melvyn Kaufman

On December 21 at 12 p.m., learn about the man responsible for some of the most playful 20th-century office buildings in New York City. Did you know there is a 19th-century candy store, a mini-outdoor art gallery, and a goldfish pond on Water Street in the Financial District? Hear the stories of how each came about. Discover the Third Avenue office building that has the world’s largest chessboard in it. Learn about the famed Conheim Clock on Water Street and other art pieces installed in Kaufman’s buildings. And get an overview of some of Emery Roth and Sons’ storied clients. The event is free for Untapped New York Insiders (and get your first month free with code JOINUS).

Art installation Melvyn Kaufman
Conheim Clock

Richard Roth on the Developer with an NYC-sized Sense of Humor

The Wild West-style candy store is just outside the entrance to 77 Water Street in the Financial District. 77 Water Street is full of surprising finds, including an astroturf runway on the roof adorned with a World War I-era model fighter plane. Inside the candy store is your standard New York City bodega, as well as a stained glass Coca-Cola lamp, an old cash register, and a horseshoe-shaped counter.

Gallery Melvyn Kaufman

On the corner of 48th Street and 3rd Avenue is the world’s largest chessboard affixed to the wall of a building stretching three floors. The brass plaques below the chessboard give only a few hints to what is going on. At 767 Third Avenue, the 2.5-foot chess pieces are moved once a week using a cherry picker. The flag to the left indicates which side has the next move.

World's largest chess board

The Conheim Clock was installed in 1971 at 200 Water Street, measuring 45 by 50′ tall and consisting of 72 illuminated squares. The top row numbers 1 to 12, while the bottom rows are numbered 00 to 59. The clock would display the correct hour, minute, and second per numbers flashing.

On December 21 at 12 p.m., learn about the man responsible for some of the most playful 20th-century office buildings in New York City. The event is free for Untapped New York Insiders (and get your first month free with code JOINUS).

Conheim Clock

Richard Roth on the Developer with an NYC-sized Sense of Humor

Next, check out the New York Apartment Where Architect Emory Roth Lived!