Extinct Edifices: The Gillender Building

In 1624, New Amsterdam was founded at the southern tip of Manhattan, a colony of the Dutch Republic. Since then, it’s evolved into the most densely populated city in the United States, and arguably the most important. Over these almost 400 years, it’s seen more than its share of remarkable buildings.

In many ways, New York City is at an architectural peak right now—buildings are taller, skinnier, and expensive-r than ever. In other ways, NYC has lost some of its most exceptional structures. This series will document the most impressive of these treasures.

The Gillender Building (1897 – 1910): 

Constructed only to be demolished 13 years later

Constructed only to be demolished 13 years later

Though squat by modern standards, at 20 storeys, the Gillender Building was a marvel of its day. Notable for its impressive height despite a tiny footprint—1898 sqft.—it quickly attracted attention. The land it was built on held a sugar house, and, later, an early incarnation of New York City Hall. For a few short years, Edgar Allan Poe even ran the offices of the Broadway Journal there. Eventually, though, the Gillender Building would be commissioned by Helen L. Gillender Asinari. In terms of its structure, it was braced against the wind with a steel frame. In aesthetics, Classical decoration lined the bottom and top floors. To save money, the midsection was left unadorned.

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