10. The Pool Has Been Restored According to Woolworth’s Pompeiian Vision

Renovated pool at the Woolworth Building

When designing the Woolworth Building in the early 1900s, architect Cass Gilbert and retail magnate Frank Woolworth came up with plans for a Pompeiian pool. The Woolworth Building already had more amenities for tenants than the usual office building at the time, and the luxurious, marble lined pool would have put it over the top. Despite the elaborate designs for the pool, Gilbert and Woolworth’s vision was never fully realized. The pool was built, but the space surrounding it always remained a plain white room without decoration.

For decades, the pool was enjoyed by Woolworth tenants, and even became a Jack LaLane Fitness club. In 1999, the pool was drained and closed off to the public. Today, the pool area has been transformed into a modernized version of Gilbert and Woolworth’s vision to be enjoyed by the tenants of the Woolworth Building’s new luxury residences. The pool is lined with Bisazza Mosaico tiles and is enhanced with an adjacent hot tub, sauna, and changing rooms.

Another fun fact: It’s the second oldest pool in the city, after the one at Teachers College, according to Suskin. Also, the pool contained a drain to allow the water to be used by the building’s fire prevention system as another method to ensure its safety (since it was constructed right after the sinking of the Titanic, which was allegedly unsinkable, Woolworth wanted to ensure that his building truly was impervious).

Nicole Saraniero and Laura Itzkowitz also contributed reporting to this article. Next, read about the top 10 secrets of the Financial District in NYC!