Park Row Building
First known as the Ivins Syndicate Building, or just the Syndicate Building, the Park Row Building is located on Park Row in the Financial District of the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is also known simply as 15 Park Row. The architect was Robert Henderson Robertson, a pioneer in steel skyscraper design.

History
One of the first structures to be called a skyscraper, the building was completed in 1899 after three years of construction. The builder was William Mills Ivins, a prominent lawyer and former judge advocate general for New York State. He headed a syndicate of investors, which most likely gave root to the building's original name. At 391 ft (119.2m) tall, it was the tallest office building in the world from 1899 until 1908, when it was surpassed by the Singer Building. In 1901, an announced building project by Aetna, to be located at 33rd Street and Broadway, would have overtaken Park Row as the tallest office building at 455 feet (139 m) high, but it was never built. The building is 29 stories tall, with 26 full floors and two, three-story cupolas. It has a frontage of 103 ft (31 m) on Park Row, 23 on Ann Street and 48 feet (15 m) on Theater Alley. The base of the building covers a land area of approximately 15,000 square feet (1,400 m 2). The building contains about 8,000 tons of steel and 12,000 tons of other material, chiefly brick and terra cotta. The foundation of the Park Row Building was made of 3,900 Georgia spruce piles driven into wet sand and topped by granite blocks. The total cost to build this early skyscraper was $2,400,000. The building offered 950 separate offices, each with a capacity of about 4 people. A rough estimate of 25,000 people were thought to have passed through the building each workday. Upon completion, approximately 4,000 people a day worked there. By mid-1899, the building was owned by the investment banker and subway sponsor August Belmont, Jr. under the name Park Row Realty Company. The first headquarters of the Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) subway were located in the building. On May 3, 1920 the defenestration of Andrea Salsedo occurred from the 14th floor of 15 Park Row at 4:20 am. He was being held with Roberto Elia by the Justice Department in connection with a series of bombings that had occurred in New York, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Paterson, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. A leaflet entitled "Plain Words," signed by the "Anarchist Fighters," was found at the sites, and because of an aberrant "S" in the printing, the authorities tracked down the print shop where both Salsedo and Elia worked. They were held at 15 Park Row for 8 weeks with limited external communication. The night of May 3, Salsedo fell from the 14th floor: the anarchists claim he was thrown, the police claim he jumped.

Initial reviews
The overall public was impressed with the structure, many in awe of its height and mammoth proportions. As one of the earliest of the "modern skyscrapers", it towered at least 15 to 20 stories over most of its neighbors. With essentially no comparable structures against which to measure the building's strengths and weaknesses, the criticism from the architectural community was quite harsh. The New York Times quoted a critic, who in 1898 wrote in The Real Estate Record and Guide , "New York is the only city in which such a monster would be allowed to rear itself," and called the blank side walls "absolutely inexpressive and vacuous." In a 1908 article in The New York Times, a French architect, Augustin-Adolphe Rey, wrote that "one side of it is an entirely bare wall — what difference does it make how the other sides are treated?" Critic Jean Schopfer called the building "detestable".

Recent developments
In 1999, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the Park Row Building a landmark. In 2000, plans were developed for a gut renovation of the entire structure. It included converting all floors above the 11th into 210 rental apartments, at a cost of over $30 million. All floors below the 11th were to remain commercial. The most unusual apartments would be the pair made out of the two three-story cupolas. By 2002 initial renovations and residential conversions were completed. Currently, Floors 2 through 8 are partially occupied by J&R Music World, Inc. Residential units currently occupy floors 11 to 26, with new units being constructed on floors 9 and 10. Apartments range in size from 500-square-foot (46 m 2) studios to 2,000+ square-foot lofts and 2 bedrooms. Apartments offer an array of desired views including: the Brooklyn Bridge (east), city hall/city hall park (north/west), St. Paul's Chapel and the financial center (west/south) and the NY harbor/Brooklyn (south/east). Each floor has its own laundry room with washer/dryer units. The two 3-story turrets (floors 28, 29, and 30) are not up to current building and fire-codes and are unsuitable for use. The 27th floor is set to become an expanded health-club facility for residents.

Image gallery


Media

2 photos

Building Activity

  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated 9 media and uploaded a media file
    kqye park row building new york
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com
  • Georgi Sokolov
    Georgi Sokolov activity.buildings_person.create
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com
  • removed 3 media and updated a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com
  • updated a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via Annotator