Found on the street known as Newspaper Row, where the newspaper publishing flourished for about eighty years from the 1840s to the 1920s, the Park Row Building is one of the remaining late nineteenth-century commercial buildings that still stand today.
Just like the Sears Tower in Chicago and the Empire State Building in New York, the Park Row Building (standing at 391 feet) has held the honor of being the tallest office skyscraper in the world for nine years from its completion in 1899 until 1908, when the Singer Building surpassed the record.
The Park Row consists of 29 floors, 26 of which are full floors and two are three-story cupolas. To be able to accommodate the 15,000 square feet land area of the building, seven different lots were merged, occupying some parts of Park Row, Ann Street and Theater Alley. The building was made of 8,000 tons of steel and 12,000 tons of other materials such as brick and terra cotta.
There are 950 office spaces that make up the building. Each office can accommodate about 4 people and it was believed that roughly 4,000 people worked there from the day it opened to the public. The Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) subway’s first headquarters were accommodated there and the then newly established Associated Press held its first office in the Park Row Building as well.
The Park Row Building is of Beaux Arts design, reminiscent of the Baroque churches of Europe and replicates that of the church of the Monastery of S?o Vicente da Fora of Lisbon. There are two copper-clad domes, covering the two 3-story towers on top of the building, which served as observatories for a few decades. The most distinguishing feature of the building is that on top of each dome rests another dome also made of copper. The fa?ade shows a symmetrical design of layers as it ascends.
Four life-sized sculptures standing on overscaled brackets set on the fourth floor adorn the front of the building and 16 other figures are found on the towers, all masterpieces by the renowned sculptor J. Massey Rhind.
The building underwent partial renovation and some floors were converted into rental residential apartments, specifically the floors 11th and above. The two 3-story copulas o top of the building became the most remarkable apartments in the building. J&R Music World, Inc. currently occupies floors 2 through 8, while floors 9 and 10 are about to be converted as residential units as well.
The residential units include studios and 2-bedroom lofts with laundry room and washer/dryer units in each floor. The design of the apartments provides a panoramic view of the Brooklyn Bridge, city hall/city hall park, St. Paul’s Chapel, the financial center and the NY harbor. Soon, the 27th floor will become an expanded health-club facility for use by the building’s residents.
The Park Row Building was designated as a landmark in 1999 by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission and undoubtedly remains one of the most photographed and regarded as one of the most diverse buildings gracing the New York City skyline today.