70 Pine Street
|70 Pine Street|
|Type||Residential (converted from offices)|
|Architectural style||Art Deco|
|Location||70 Pine Street, Manhattan, New York|
|Opening||May 13, 1932|
|Cost||$7 million (equivalent to about $132.78 million in 2020)|
|Owner||Eastbridge Group, AG Real Estate|
|Architectural||952 ft (290 m)|
|Roof||850 ft (260 m)|
|Top floor||800 ft (240 m)|
|Floor area||864,988 sq ft (80,360.0 m2)|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Clinton and Russell, Holton & George|
|Structural engineer||Taylor Fichter Steel Construction|
|Main contractor||James Stewart & Co. Builders|
|Designated||June 21, 2011|
|Reference no.||2441, 2442|
70 Pine Street – formerly known as the 60 Wall Tower, Cities Service Building, and American International Building – is a 67-story, 952-foot (290 m) residential building in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan in New York City. It was designed by the firm of Clinton & Russell, Holton & George in the Art Deco style. 70 Pine Street, built in 1930–1932 by energy conglomerate Cities Service Company (later Citgo), was Lower Manhattan's tallest building and the world's third-tallest structure upon its completion.
70 Pine Street occupies a trapezoidal lot on Pearl Street between Pine and Cedar Streets. It features a brick, limestone, and gneiss facade with numerous setbacks. The building contains an extensive program of ornamentation, including the Cities Service Company's triangular logo and solar motifs. The interior features included escalators at the base and double-deck elevators linking the tower's floors. A three-story penthouse, intended for Cities Service's founder Henry Latham Doherty, was later utilized as a public observatory.
70 Pine Street's construction was funded through a public offering of stock, rather than a mortgage loan. Despite having been built during the Great Depression, the building was profitable enough that it broke even by 1936, with 90% of the space occupied five years later. The American International Group (AIG) bought the building in 1976, and it was acquired by another firm in 2009 after AIG went into bankruptcy. The building and its first floor interior were designated as official New York City landmarks in June 2011. In 2016, the building became a luxury rental residential property.
70 Pine Street is in the Financial District of Manhattan, on a plot bounded by Pine Street to the south, Pearl Street to the east, and Cedar Street to the north. The site covers 32,000 square feet (3,000 m2), measuring 247 feet (75 m) on Pine and Cedar Streets by 116 feet (35 m) on Pearl Street. The terrain slopes downward to the east, toward Pearl Street, so that there is an upper lobby (accessed from Pine Street) and a lower lobby (accessed from Pearl Street). Neighboring buildings include 56 Pine Street and the Down Town Association building to the northwest, 90–94 Maiden Lane across Cedar Street, and 60 Wall Street across Pine Street.
70 Pine Street is a 67-story building rising 952 feet (290 m) tall. The roof is 850 feet (260 m) tall while the top story is 800 feet (240 m) high. Like its contemporaries, 70 Pine Street has a Gothic-like spire-topped appearance. Clinton & Russell, Holton & George designed 70 Pine Street in the Art Deco style, and was the last large commission by these architects. Of that firm's principals, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission states that Thomas J. George was likely the most involved with the design.
The building was constructed as part of an ongoing skyscraper race in New York City, which resulted in the city having the world's tallest building from 1908 to 1974. When completed, 70 Pine Street was the third-tallest building in the world, after the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building in Midtown Manhattan. The building exceeded 40 Wall Street, the Manhattan Company's building, by 25 feet (7.6 m) to be Lower Manhattan's tallest building. It was the last skyscraper to be built in Lower Manhattan prior to World War II, and was the tallest building in Lower Manhattan until the 1970s, when the World Trade Center was completed. With the collapse of the World Trade Center in the September 11 attacks, it regained the status of the tallest Lower Manhattan building until the completion of the new One World Trade Center in 2014.
The building contains numerous setbacks on its exterior. Though setbacks in New York City skyscrapers were mandated by the 1916 Zoning Resolution in order to allow light and air to reach the streets below, they later became a defining feature of the Art Deco style. As a result of the several layers of setbacks, the top stories are 25% of the size of the lowest stories. The first setback happens on the 32nd floor, followed by another large setback on the 56th floor. The intermediate levels also contained smaller setbacks, which were used as private patios for the offices on the respective floors. There were multiple setbacks on each side, so the upper floors contained up to 20 sides.
Above the 67th-floor observation deck is the building's spire, composed of a glass lantern rising 27 feet (8.2 m), topped by a stainless steel pinnacle extending another 97 feet (30 m). The spire is a total of 124 feet (38 m) and weighs 8 short tons (7.1 long tons; 7.3 t). The spire had a beacon, which was described as being "visible for 200 miles at sea and inland". W. Parker Chase, writing in 1932, characterized the spire as being "almost sensational in its 'differentness'".
The facade is designed so that the entrance portals and lobby are lavishly decorated, while the remainder of the building is comparatively plain. The lower stories of the facade are covered with Indiana Limestone while the upper stories are clad with four shades of brick, which darken toward the building's peak. Red-and-black Morton gneiss wraps the ground floor. An extensive lighting system highlighted the building's features at night; its inclusion was influenced by Cities Service's role as an energy provider. An early publicist for 70 Pine Street said that Cities Service founder Henry Latham Doherty was personally involved in the structure's design, and that "he insisted on dignity with beauty, to the absolute avoidance of the garish, the flamboyant, and the over colorful."
Cliff Parkhurst[a] of the Parkhurst Organization designed the aluminum ornamentation of 70 Pine Street. These ornamental features include reliefs above each set of entrance doors; spandrels with sharp arrises above the lower-story windows; and a ventilation grille on Cedar Street. In addition, there were 6,000 windows, ten million bricks, 9,000 cubic feet (250 m3) of marble, and 24,000 short tons (21,000 long tons; 22,000 t) of steel used in 70 Pine Street's construction.
The building has four primary entrances: two on Pine Street and two on Cedar Street, which all lead to the main lobby. Another entrance on Pearl Street, which was formerly located under the Third Avenue elevated line, is more simply designed and leads to a lobby in the lower level. All of these streets are narrower than the typical street in Manhattan: Pine Street is 25 feet (7.6 m) wide while Cedar Street is 35 feet (11 m) wide. Because of the slope of the terrain, the western entrances are at the same level at the street, and the eastern entrances are accessed by short flights of steps rising from the street.
The eastern entrances on Pine and Cedar Streets are near the centers of these facades. They consist of large four-story portals, which contain stepped arches. Both arches are divided by a limestone pillar that contains a freestanding, 14-foot-tall (4.3 m) limestone relief of 70 Pine Street, which may have been designed by Rene Paul Chambellan and was fairly accurate in its detailing.[b] Architectural critic Robert A. M. Stern wrote that 70 Pine Street's reliefs "surveyed the crowds of workers as a carved Madonna would bless the pilgrims of a Gothic cathedral." There were three metal doors to either side of the pillars. Above the doors were four tiers of sash windows; the lowest such tier was originally composed of glass louvers, which reduced wind pressure when the doors were being opened, but these were later replaced with glass panes. Along the interiors of both portal arches are reliefs containing the triangular logo of Cities Service. Inside each entrance were staircases leading to the upper and lower lobbies.
The western entrances on Pine and Cedar Streets are located near the western end of the building and are two stories tall. Each portal contains two sets of revolving doors.
At the time of 70 Pine Street's construction, developers had to consider skyscrapers' profitability in conjunction with height. 70 Pine Street was designed to accommodate between 7,000 and 8,000 employees, more than nearly every other skyscraper at the time. The interior spaces were thus designed with high capacity in mind. The building contains 864,988 sq ft (80,360.0 m2) of interior space. When it opened, there was 1,045,000 square feet (97,100 m2) of gross floor area, of which 680,000 square feet (63,000 m2) was available for lease.
The first-floor lobby is arranged as six hallways. Two of the hallways are 110 feet (34 m) long, traveling north to south between the pairs of entrances on Pine and Cedar Streets, while three other hallways are 140 feet (43 m) long and travel west to east; there is also a wide central hall. The passages are 10 to 20 feet (3.0 to 6.1 m) wide, with the widest section of the lobby near Pine Street, where there is an information booth. The lobby is oriented slightly west, away from the elevated lines that formerly overshadowed Pearl Street, so that the westerly entrances could be located at ground level and so that the sky bridge to 60 Wall Street would be possible.
Inside each entrance were retail spaces that faced the first-floor lobby. Four storefronts were located on the southern portion of the lobby. Until the early 2000s, these retail spaces contained such stores as "a drugstore, a bookstore, a tobacconist and a telegraph office". There are stairs on the southern portion of the lobby near Pine Street, as well as at the eastern portion near Pearl Street; these stairs ascend to the second floor and descend to the basement lobby. There were also escalators between every level from the basement to the sixth floor, near the western entrance on Pine Street. The basement lobby is a simpler version of the first-floor lobby, serving mainly as a boarding area for the lower decks of 70 Pine Street's former double-deck elevators. The upper decks of these elevators were served from the main lobby.
Despite Doherty's desire for "dignity with beauty", the lobby is highly ornamented with multicolored marbles from Europe. Most of the wall area is composed of yellow marble, divided by vertical piers of dark-red marble. The floors are composed of panels of white and pink marble, arranged as in a checkerboard. The ceiling is made of plaster and is supported by large jagged corbels. It is mostly painted white, except for colored bands of relief, which emanate from elements such as the lighting fixtures. Cliff Parkhurst furnished the elaborate metalwork in the lobby. A writer for The New York Times compared the building's lobby to "something Bernini would have designed if he’d lived to see the Jazz Age".
Since its 2015–2016 conversion, 70 Pine Street includes 612 residential apartments. The apartments are arranged as studio apartments or one- or two-bedroom units, and are generally outfitted with wooden floors. Another 132 units are run as hotel rooms by Lyric, a startup company funded by Airbnb. Retail tenants include a gourmet market and a high-end restaurant in the lobby. The building also contains a fitness and recreation center, including a screening room, bowling alley, indoor golf facility, and game room in the former bank vault in the basement.
The top three floors were originally slated to contain Doherty's private residence. The suite contained a gym and a squash court; in addition, Doherty's bed was designed on a motorized platform that could slide out onto the terrace. However, Doherty did not move into the space.
In July 1932, the private suite opened to the public as an observation deck. The deck comprised an open-air platform with a 23-by-33-foot (7.0 by 10.1 m) enclosed glass solarium above it on the 66th floor. It was served by a five-passenger elevator that rose through the floor slab and then retracted. Until the 1973 construction of the World Trade Center, it was the highest observatory of any building in Lower Manhattan. The observatory charged 40 cents for admission in 1939, as opposed to the Empire State Building's observation deck, which cost $1.10 to enter. During World War II, the observatory was closed to the public because it provided a view of a military installation nearby, the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The observatory was permanently closed to the public before 1975.
As part of the building's 2010s conversion into residential apartments, the top four stories were turned into a restaurant. This became Crown Shy, a 120-seat fine-dining eatery by James Kent and Jeff Katz that opened in 2019. The restaurant is an à la carte eatery, with dishes being ordered individually.
There are 24 elevators in total, with six banks of four elevators each in the first-floor lobby. As originally arranged, there were eight double-deck elevators; six "express" elevators that ran nonstop from the lobby to serve the upper floors; eight "local" elevators that served the lower floors; and two freight elevators. All of the elevators were able to serve a combined 10,200 people every hour. The Cedar Street portion of the first-floor lobby contained elevator banks that only served the building's lower floors, while the Pine Street portion contained elevators that served higher floors. In an emergency, it was estimated that the elevators, along with the escalators serving with the lower floors, would be able to clear the building in 35 minutes.
The elevator doors in the main lobby are ornately designed, resembling those at the Fred F. French Building, 608 Fifth Avenue, and the Chrysler Building. Each elevator door is a double-leaf door made of aluminum, with diamond and trefoil patterns, which were cast in one piece. The elevator doors in the lobbies contain octagonal relief panels sculpted by Chambellan. These reliefs alternately show a woman with an oil lamp and a man with an electric turbine.
Because of 70 Pine Street's small lot size, and the setbacks that make the upper floors even smaller, it would have been unprofitable under normal building practices if it were taller than 48 stories. Engineers from Otis Elevator Company told Doherty that double-deck elevators could solve the problem. As such, the company manufactured eight double-deck elevators. The double-deck elevators traveled up to the 59th/60th floors, where another separate, single-deck elevator served the top six floors. The upper deck of each elevator served odd-numbered floors while the lower deck served even-numbered floors. The Real Estate Record and Guide stated that the double-deck elevators, long anticipated by developers, were "permitted by special provision in the new elevator code". Compared to 11 or 14 standard elevators, the double-deck elevators saved $200,000 in construction costs and freed up to 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2) of space,[c] at a time when office space could be rented at an average rate of $3.50 per square foot ($37.7/m2) per year. Columnist Sam Love disagreed, saying that "the odds and the evens in the Cities Service Building will never see each other although they are the nearest neighbors", referring to the floor numbers. The double-deck elevators were removed in 1972 and replaced with single-story cabs. The double-deck elevators had reportedly been unpopular because the lower lobby entrance was not completed, and a proposed subway entrance was not opened. The Citigroup Center adopted the same idea in the 1970s, becoming possibly the first building in New York City after 70 Pine Street to have double-deck elevators.
At the 16th floor, a sky bridge connected 70 Pine Street with 60 Wall Street. There was another connection, a tunnel, between the two buildings. The connections enabled 70 Pine Street to initially claim a Wall Street address, which was seen as "more prestigious" compared to a regular address in the Financial District. The bridge was destroyed in 1975 when the original 60 Wall Street building was demolished to make way for the current, larger building. At the time, it was one of a few sky bridges in the city.[d] In 1979, a replacement bridge was built, connecting the sixth and seventh floors of 70 Pine Street to the seventh and eighth floors of 72 Wall Street.
When it opened, 70 Pine Street featured escalators between its first through sixth floors, as another space-saving measure. The escalators were reversible to accommodate peak flows, running upstairs in the morning and downstairs in the afternoon. The escalators could reportedly allow the basement through sixth floors to be emptied within 10 minutes. Since these floors housed Cities Service's clerical staff at the time of 70 Pine Street's completion, the floors were linked by escalators rather than elevators, because studies had shown that escalators saved more space. This was one of the first uses of escalators in a major office building. Though the Empire State Building had also included escalators between its lobby and mezzanine, 70 Pine Street was modeled on the layout of a department store, the first office building in New York City to be designed in this manner. These escalators were hidden behind a false marble wall.
70 Pine Street also included a hot-water heating system, innovative for its time, which obviated the need for boiler facilities. The building had a "unit ventilating system" as well; this system utilized spaces over the radiators and inside the walls to provide ventilation without any dust or noise. The basement contained a bank vault with the most advanced security systems available during that era. There were also several features specifically for tenants. On the 29th floor, there was a library filled with law books and documents, which was made available only to tenants. Just below the observatory was a conference room with leather paneling. As of 2020[update], the skyscraper has many amenities, including an Elite by New York Sports Club fitness center on the lower level, a food market, and several lounges.
Context and planning
Henry Latham Doherty became successful by operating numerous companies in the manufactured-gas and electric utility sectors in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He formed the Cities Service Company as a "light, heat, and power" firm in 1910, and in subsequent years, Doherty's business interests grew extensively. At the time, his main offices were located at the 27-story 60 Wall Street (built 1905 and demolished 1975), which he had occupied since 1906, and was located just south of the present building site. Doherty, who already owned several Lower Manhattan properties, purchased 60 Wall Street in December 1924, with the aim of expanding the structure. Four years later, in January 1929, he formed the Pine Street Realty Company, having failed to develop "a great business centre" near Battery Park. Clinton & Russell were retained as architects and proposed two plans for the site: a simple slab rising from the ground, and a Gothic Revival design rising 60 floors. Both plans were rejected by the New York City Department of Buildings.
The Pine Street Realty Company then started buying land across the street. The site was located in the core of the Financial District, near the Third Avenue elevated line, and was surrounded by shorter buildings. The company bought twelve buildings in January 1929, forming a plot with 17,000 square feet (1,600 m2). Another five plots were acquired via lease in November 1929, and the Cities Service Company was in negotiations to acquire the Down Town Association building as well. At the time, the company planned to build between 25 and 50 stories. Two more lots were leased in July 1930. In total, the Pine Street Realty Company acquired 23 lots, which all contained low-rise three- to five-story masonry buildings, at a total cost of $2 million, relatively cheap for the time.
The economist W. C. Clark investigated the planned Cities Service building's design and, in October 1929, spoke about his findings at the Engineers' Club. He found that taller buildings on small lots could be profitable, provided that these included double-deck elevators due to the lot's small size. As a result, the proposed Cities Service building was most economically viable as a 63-story building. Doherty submitted the building plans to the Department of Buildings in May 1930. The structure was slated to have 63 stories, including double-decker elevators due to the lot's small size, and cost $7 million. It was one of several buildings that Doherty planned to build in Lower Manhattan, though none of the other projects were realized because of a lack of funding following the Great Depression. After the building plans were submitted, its height was increased to 66 stories, and a spire was added, increasing the total height to 950 feet (290 m). The Cities Service building thus beat the 927-foot (283 m) 40 Wall Street to become the tallest building in Manhattan south of 34th Street.
Demolition of existing buildings and site excavation began almost immediately after the building plans were submitted. The western portion of the site was the first to be cleared; some 100,000 short tons (89,000 long tons; 91,000 t) was excavated to as deep as 60 feet (18 m). The foundation took 245,000 worker-hours to complete. Work was complicated by the presence of a holdout: building lessee Nik Coutroulas, a cafeteria operator who also operated a Lindy's franchise. Doherty's company could not reach a lease agreement with Coutroulas prior to the start of work. Coutrolas's building was demolished anyway and he sued Doherty for damages, eventually receiving a $5,000 compensation.
Construction was funded using a then-unconventional method of public offering. Henry L. Doherty & Co. sold $15.7 million of interest-free stocks, described at the time as "financially unique among large New York office buildings". This avoided the need for the building's owners to take out a mortgage loan. James Stewart & Company was hired as the general contractor, Taylor Fichter Steel Construction was the structural engineer, and John M. Parrish was the project's general superintendent.
The steel structure was built at an average rate of three floors per week. The New York Times reported in April 1931 that the steel had been erected to the 27th floor. By mid-1931, steel frame construction had reached the 59th floor, while the facade had been built up to the 50th floor. At the time, 70 Pine Street's construction employed 600 workers, and the structure had no official name. To date, workers had been on the project for 119,000 hours without any major accidents. The spire was installed in October 1931. The sky bridge between 70 Pine Street and 60 Wall Street was completed in February 1932, at which point the building at 70 Pine Street became known as the 60 Wall Tower.
Cities Service usage
By early 1932, the 60 Wall Tower was completed. The city's Department of Buildings gave the building a temporary occupancy certification in March 1932, followed by a permanent certification that August. The building was dedicated on May 13, Doherty's 62nd birthday. The event celebrated Doherty's reinstatement as executive of Cities Service after he had taken a six-year hiatus from the position due to health problems. It included a luncheon attended by 200 businessmen; the dedication of Doherty's bronze bust; the spire's floodlighting; and a radio announcement that Doherty made from the spire using then-new "moonbeam" technology.
Tenants had started moving into 70 Pine Street prior to its official dedication. Upon opening, the second through seventeenth floors were occupied by about 3,000 employees of Cities Service. The remaining floors were leased to a large range of tenants, including manufacturers, lawyers, accountants, and the Western Union Telegraph Company. However, most tenants on the upper floors were lawyers, who took advantage of the 29th-floor law library. The second and third floors were also occupied by the Emergency Unemployment Relief Committee. The building was reportedly two-thirds rented by 1933, but did not reach 90% occupancy until 1941. Later tenants included the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which took space in 70 Pine Street in 1941. One tenant, boxer Artie McGovern, operated an athletic club on the seventh floor, which was reportedly visited by over a thousand men daily and included a gymnasium, handball and squash courts, ping-pong tables, and golf facilities. The radio station WGYN also established its studios and transmitter at 70 Pine Street when it was founded in December 1941, though WGYN stopped broadcasting in May 1950.
One portion of 70 Pine Street was separately owned from the rest of the building, so that the two sections could be separated if it became necessary. This section, covering 10,000 square feet (930 m2), was owned by the estate of aviator Cortlandt F. Bishop and leased to a wholly owned subsidiary of the Cities Service Company, Sixty Wall Tower Inc. In June 1950, the land under the building was placed for auction by the New York Trust Company on behalf of Bishop's estate. After World War II, Cities Service downsized its Manhattan staff and leased out several lower floors. Merrill was one such tenant, leasing ten floors in a 1957 transaction, and ultimately moving 3,400 of its 8,600 employees to 70 Pine Street by 1965. Though Cities Service became known as Citgo in 1965, the building retained the "Cities Service Building" name.
Citgo announced in 1973 that it would move its executive headquarters to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and sell off 70 Pine Street and several other buildings in Manhattan. The move would affect about 250 personnel at 70 Pine Street. Citgo subsequently moved to Tulsa in 1975. The following year, the building was purchased for $15 million by the American International Group (AIG), which wanted to double the amount of space available for its 500 New York City employees. 70 Pine Street was renamed the American International Building, and AIG workers moved into the structure over the next two years. Under AIG's ownership, the lobby was renovated, and the sky bridge to Wall Street was demolished and rebuilt. AIG bought the nearby 175 Water Street in 1995, but kept its headquarters at 70 Pine Street.
70 Pine Street served as AIG's world headquarters until the financial crisis of 2007–08, when the company went bankrupt. Consequently, AIG decided to sell several assets in order to raise money, so 70 Pine Street was sold to developer Youngwoo & Associates in 2009. 70 Pine Street's exterior and its first-floor interior were designated New York City Landmarks in June 2011. The building was purchased by MetroLoft in January 2012, which planned to turn 70 Pine Street into an apartment building or a combined hotel/apartment complex with about 1,000 total units. MetroLoft sold 70 Pine Street to Rose Associates later that year.
Rose and DTH Capital transformed 70 Pine Street into a mixed-use building featuring luxury rental apartments and a variety of retail and restaurants starting in 2015. Leasing of the residential units started in December 2015, and the renovation was completed the next year. Unlike the top floors of other converted residential buildings, which were generally turned into penthouse apartments, Rose decided to add amenities to the top floors of 70 Pine Street. Space in 70 Pine Street's lobby and upper floors was originally set to contain restaurants by April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman, who withdrew from the project in July 2016. Ultimately, the upper-floor restaurant spaces hosted James Kent and Jeff Katz's restaurant Crown Shy, which opened in 2019. Mint House opened a 132-unit hotel for business travelers in November 2020.
In 1976, two thousand tenants were evacuated after a fire broke out on the eighth floor, causing several minor injuries. In November 2016, Justin Casquejo, a thrill-seeking teenage free solo climber and stunt performer, hung from 70 Pine Street. He was charged with misdemeanor base jumping and trespassing for climbing on the tower.
- List of New York City Designated Landmarks in Manhattan below 14th Street
- List of tallest buildings in New York City
- List of tallest buildings in the United States
- List of tallest buildings in the world
- Sometimes spelled "Clif"
- Self-referential reliefs were also used in other New York City landmarks such as 20 Exchange Place, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, 500 Fifth Avenue, the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, the Fuller Building, and the Woolworth Building.
- The New York Times and Trager 2003, p. 471 state that up to 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2) of total space was saved. The Washington Post says 24,000 square feet (2,200 m2) of rentable space was saved.
- Other nearby buildings with sky bridges included the Trinity and United States Realty Buildings, and 20 Exchange Place to 55 Wall Street. These might have inspired the creation of 70 Pine's sky bridge. In addition, sky bridges existed between the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower and Metropolitan Life North Building; the Fashion Institute of Technology; Gimbels department store, now Manhattan Mall, at Herald Square; the Bloomingdale's flagship at 60th Street; and Hunter College.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 70 Pine Street.|
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