140 West Street

Barclay-Vesey Building

McKenzie, Voorhees & Gimelin, Ralph Walker, architect in charge, 1923-27

140 West Street current status:

From the New York Times, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2001:

Thousands of windows were blown out, with soot filling offices and apartments. Falling beams and other debiris hit a few buildings near the complex, including 140 West Street, 30 West Broadway and 3 World Financial Center.

From the preserve.org listserver (20 Sep 2001):
There appears to be serious damage to 90 West Street (Cass Gilbert, 1907; terra cotta failure and fires) and the Barclay Vesey building, 140 West Street (Ralph Walker, 1927), but not so much as to suggest demolition. -- Christopher Gray Office for Metropolitan History

140 West Street

140 West Street was built 1923-27. The architect in charge was Ralph Walker. "The first major design of Ralph Walker, this brick-faced building ... was commissioned by the New York Telephone Company for its headquarters. It is one of the most significant structures in the annals of skyscraper design, since it was the first building in New York City to exploit the requirements of the 1916 zoning code, leading to the tower's dramatic massing. Walker also also pioneered in the use of complex, nontraditional, naturalistic, carved ornament."

It is also an Interior landmark: "Exterior ornamental motifs are repeated in the lobby, which contains veined marble walls, travertine floors with bronze medallions, and a vaulted ceiling embellished with murals depicting the stages in the evolution of human communication."

-- From New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission

From the AIA Guide:

"Distinguished, and widely heralded, for the Guastavino-vaulted pedestrian arcades at its base, trade-offs for widening narrow Vesey Street. The Mayan-inspired Art Deco design by Ralph Walker proved a successful experiment in massing what was, in those years, a large urban form within the relatively new zoning 'envelope' that emerged from the old Equitable Building's greed. Critic Louis Mumford couldn't contain himself. A half century later, Roosevelt Island's Main Street used continuous arcades as the very armature of pedestrian procession. Why not elsewhere in New York to protect against inclement weather and to enrich the architectural form of the street? Why indeed, not next door, at 7 World Trade Center?"