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The Cunard Building

25 Broadway

Block 13 Lot 27

View from the southeast

View from the southeast

By Carter B. Horsley

The Landmarks Preservation Commission designed the Cunard Building at 25 Broadway an individual landmark September 19, 1995.

The building. which is also known as 13 Greenwich Street and 1 Morris Street, was designed by Benjamin Wistar Morris and Carrere & Hastings and completed in 1921.

While the building's Broadway limestone facade is very elegant, imposing and stately, it gives no hint of the glorious interior spaces that include grand vestibules and a very spectacular "Ticketing Hall" that rivals the concourse of Grand Central Terminal as one of the city's most impressive and huge interior, non-religious spaces. The hall was decorated by Ezra Winter.

Cunard sadly moved uptown eventually and after being vacant for a while because it was hard to market the hall was taken over by the U. S. Post Office that sadly barred public access to the entire space but happily did not touch the ceiling and erected a "space-frame" structure beneath it to accommodate its needs.

In 2007, an entrepreneur began exploring the possiblity of turning it into a "banquet" hall, not too disimilar from what the Ciprianis did with the former banking hall at 55 Wall Street.

In any event, the ticketing hall will drop your jaw and make you long for the days of great oceanliners. A May 21, 1921 article in The New York Times described the 65-foot-high, 185-foot-long hall as "a series of mural decorative effects probably unsurpassed in the annals of commercial building construction."

"From the tinted plaster background of these figures the observer gets his first hint of the blaze of color in which the whole scheme of decorations is conceived. Warm, heavy blues, reds, yellows, umbers and tans predominate to blend in a whole reminiscent of the talian primitives. Passing on into a groined vault you look up to see the seals of English shipping towns as a central fature while below in niches connecting the vaults with the walls of Roman Travertine stone are bas-reliefs portraying the four winds and the four sesons. At the far end of the hall, the Greenwich Street side, is a smilar groined vault, similarly treated. Between them is the great central dome containing four roundels of mythological marble figures. Below this dome on the four pendentives are large representations of the vessels in which Leif Ericsson, Columbus, Cabot and Drake pioneered on the Atlantic Ocean. In panels on the walls are maps of the continents executed by Barry Faulkner on the theory of Mercator's projection but treated deoratively with the same glow of color and touch of mythogical interest" the article maintained.

In his fine pamphlet, "Forging a Metropolis, Walking Tours of Lower Manhattan Architecture," Andrew S. Dolkart remarks that when Royal Cortissoz, the architecture critic of Architecture Forum, first visited the building in 1921 he wrote:

"I knew at once that Mr. Morris...had had a creative impulse. I have been immensely impressed by the convenience, the ingenious handling of space, and all the nominally prosaic virtues of his design, but what make itg exciting is its beauty, the proof of which affords that a skyscraper may be made a work of art."

Mr. Dolkart observed that Morris "replaced the traditional interior court with outside courts facing onto Morris and Greenwich Streets," adding that "thus, there are no offices facing the interior."

"The vestibule and Great Hall are separated by iron grilles executed by Samuel Yellin, the preeminent early twentieth-century American iron founder....The plan of the room is quite complex, with a central octagon flanked by square arms, each flanked with niches," according to Mr. Dolkart, who added that the best that can be said of "the post office's singularly inappropriate adaptation of the space is that it does not appear to have damaged any of the interior's superb decorative feature, although it is now difficult to appreciate the breadth and complexity of Morris's conception."

In their great book, "New York 1930, Architecture and Urbanism Between The Two World Wars," Robert A. M. Stern, Gregory Gilmartin and Thomas Mellins observed that Morris at one point had considered "erecting an immense beacon on the roof," but that his final design was "uncompromisingly severe." "The great hall was a glorious last statement of the ambitions of the American Renaissance, and just as suirely a last gasp of the economic imperialism of Britain's Edwardian Age," they wrote.

Ceiling detail

The following commentary consists of long excerpts from the commission's designation report on the builiding based on research by Victoria Young, student intern, and David M. Breiner of the commission's research department:

Post Hall installation

Post Office installation in Great Hall

"Located at the head of Bowling Green and extending through the block to Greenwich Street, thetwenty-two-story Cunard Building is among lower M a n h a t t a n ' s most architecturally and historically significant edifices. It was designed in 1917-19 by Benjamin Wistar Morris, a talented architect who received much critical acclaim for his scheme. The building's refined neo-Renaissance skin embellishes a structure that used subtle setbacks and ample, well-located open courts to address the natural light and ventilation demands made by the 1916 Zoning Resolution.

"Morris's tripartite design for the limestone facade - an important component of the masonry "canyon" walls which have come to symbolize lower Manhattan and especially lower Broadway - is characterized by its arcaded first story, the arrangement of which is a reflection of the varied spaces within, and two loggia-like elements of the central section, which visually balance the slightly projecting end pavilions. The judiciously employed nautical iconographic program of Rochette & Parzini is an acknowledgment of the client and principal occupant of the building, the Cunard Steamship Line Ltd. Founded in 1840 by Nova Scotia businessman Samuel Cunard, the Cunard company pioneered transatlantic shipping and travel. From mid-century on, Cunard maintained a presence on or near Bowling Green, as part of "Steamship Row," and eventually erected this building, its own New York headquarters, in 1920-21. The building was built through Cunard's affiliate, the Twenty-five Broadway Corporation, an organization which retained ownership until the 1960s, when operations were moved uptown.

Cunard Hall interior

"Situated at the southernmost section of Broadway, where that thoroughfare widens into Bowling Green, the site of 25 Broadway has long been associated with maritime trade and travel. As early as 1660, the location contained several Dutch colonial dwellings, one of which belonged to Lucas Andries, a skipper and part-owner of a trading yacht.

"In 1846, Swiss-born restaurateurs Joseph and Lorenzo Delmonico, who had been revolutionizing the eating habits of New Yorkers at other downtown locations since the 1820s, opened a restaurant and hotel on the site. Reopened as the Stevens House hotel in 1856, it was frequented by many whose fame derives from their association with shipping and other mercantile interests. The "Stevens House" name survived into the twentieth century, when, as 'the executive office centre for shipping interests in this country,' it applied to two five-story buildings at the northeast corner of the block, and counted among its occupants the Russian-American Line Steamship Company. Three other edifices on the site along Broadway accommodated restaurants, an art publisher, a haberdasher, and the offices of the Anchor Line Steamship Company.

Great Hall ceiling

"Facing Greenwich Street, along the western side of the site, stood a series of masonry buildings owned by the Manhattan Railway Company and used as a repository for property lost on subway and elevated trains of the IRT Company. Among the small structures which had stood facing Morris Street was the former home of Aaron Burr.

"In February 1918 the long-established real estate firm of Irons & Todd acquired the individual lots for $5 million and formed the construction concern of Todd, Irons & Robertson, Inc. in preparation for the erection of a large office building to be turned over after its completion to the Twenty-Five Broadway Corporation, led by Cunard official Thomas Ashley Sparks. Cunard's decision to build its own headquarters in New York - contemporaneous to the remodeling in 1919-21 of No. 1 Broadway for the headquarters of the International Mercantile Marine Company - signaled the city's growing supremacy as a world port. The assemblage of property was the largest single possession in the lower part of Manhattan at that time and the largest real estate transaction since the preparations for erecting the Equitable Building a few blocks further north on Broadway.

Great Hall ceiling

"A leading Nova Scotia businessman engaged in banking, lumbering, shipping, and shipbuilding enterprises, Samuel Cunard (1787-1865) became a pioneer of regular transatlantic steam navigation. He was a co-owner of the first Canadian steamboat to cross the Atlantic, in 1833, from Canada to England, and six years later received the contract from the British government to carry the mails fortnightly to and from Liverpool, Halifax, and Boston. In association with others, he formed the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, which with its four ships began the first regular steamship service between the continents in 1840, and was a turning point in the conquest of steam over sail. During that year 'Cunard's Line of Mail Steam Ships' published its first advertisement in New York; customers could send mail overseas via Cunard's New York agent, William F. Harnden, whose one-year-old express service between New York and Boston was the first in the nation. When in 1847 a New York-based competitor arranged to run a federally-subsidized steam-packet line directly between New York and Europe, Cunard responded by establishing direct service on a weekly basis between New York (via the Hudson River piers in Jersey City) and Liverpool; eventually service was extended to Glasgow and other European ports. By the 1850s Samuel's son, Edward, was listed in city directories as the representative of his father's company, which maintained its address at 4 Bowling Green for many years. That site and its neighbors, collectively known as 'Steamship Row' after all the ticket-booking agents there, were replaced in 1899-1907 by the United States Custom House. Subsequently, Cunard moved its offices to 29 Broadway and 21-24 State Street among other downtown sites, before building its new headquartersat 25 Broadway. Cunard fared well in the competitive market of transporting passengers and packages across the Atlantic. To attract well-to-do customers, the ships soon introduced steam heating and spacious, well-illuminated public rooms. By the late nineteenth century, Cunard was closely associated with luxurious travel, far outstripping its rivals in that regard and thus emerging as the premier British passenger line. Furthermore, beginning in the 1860s, ships transported many emigrants to North America in steerage, thus profiting from travel by low-income passengers as well. Such dominance required constant innovation to increase speed, safety, and (for some) comfort: as the decades passed, technological advances replaced the 200-foot-long wood paddle ships of the 1840s with the 600-foot-long quadruple-screw turbine liners of the 1910s. Cunard continued to prosper, purchasing the competitor Anchor Line in 1912 and Canadian Northern Steamship Company (Royal Line) in 1916, while remaining independent of the acquisition-driven International Mercantile Marine Company. After contributing substantially to the war effort, Cunard emerged from World War I in a far healthier position than many shipping companies. Recognizing the decreasing numbers of emigrants to North America, the company intensified its efforts to attract luxury travelers and sought to capture the nascent tourist trade. Its ships connected New York to Liverpool, Bristol, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Hamburg, Southampton, and Cherbourg, while other routes serviced Philadelphia; Boston; and Portland, Maine.The intensive post-war rebuilding program added thirteen new ships, one rebuilt vessel, and impressive new headquarter buildings in Liverpool and New York. Not long after the completion of the new buildings, Cunard suffered enormous losses in the Great Depression of the 1930s. Yet the Cunard and WhiteStar Lines merged in 1934, and together carried over one-quarter of North Atlantic passengers, almost doubling its nearest rival; again, the company assisted the Allied effort in World War II. After peaking in 1957, sea traffic began to decline due to competition from air travel. In response, Cunard initiated cargo service to ports on the Great Lakes and Gulf coast; withdrew passenger service between New York and Liverpool in 1966-67; and sold its grand buildings in several cities, including the New York headquarters on Broadway. The company relocated to No. 555 Fifth Avenue, a more advantageous location for booking passengers on ships which had become 'floating resorts,' not just a means of transport. Despite those changes, Cunard maintained a reputation pre-eminent for its enviable peacetime safety record and for the long periods during which it held the fastest crossing times in North Atlantic steamship travel.

Great Hall ceiling

"Before 1870, the structural limitations of masonry and the human aversion to climbing more than five flights of stairs restricted the height of buildings to six stories. However, during the subsequent decades, the development of steel-frame construction and the diffusion of the passenger elevator permitted edifices of much greater height. Architects were then confronted with new aesthetic and urbanistic challenges, which at first were often addressed simply by vertically extending traditional forms, typically resulting in the so-called 'office palazzo' - a seemingly solid, roughly twelve-story block that filled its site and rose to a strong cornice. In order to provide offices with adequate natural ventilation and light, such a building was often arranged in an 'H' or 'U' shape to allow open courts. During the second decade of the twentieth century, many office buildings were erected with more than twenty stories, though for the most part their designers retained the 'palazzo' arrangement. As buildings increased in size and adjacent streets correspondingly grew darker - the often-cited, H-shaped Equitable Building (1912-15, E.R. Graham) comes to mind - reformers gathered approval in 1916 of the New York City Building Zone Resolution. That law, besides restricting building uses to specific areas of the city, controlled the height and bulk of new structures. Architectural delineator Hugh Ferriss, in his well-publicized renderings, studied the formal possibilities encouraged by the law and his collaborator, respected architect Harvey Wiley Corbett, articulated the ideas in words, opining that the architect had graduated from being a designer of mere facades to 'a sculptor in building masses.' The Cunard Building, the first major edifice built in New York after World War I, is an early and outstanding example of the effect of the zoning law on the tall office building. Its neo-Renaissance cladding is a prominent example of the historicizing overlay which many architects of that time applied as an aid to composing their building envelopes newly configured by the 1916 resolution.

Ceiling detail

"As early as August 1917, even before the acquistion of the site, architect Benjamin Wistar Morris was producing preliminary schemes for the Cunard Building, which were characterized by a stately Broadway facade, fronting a central, grandly proportioned, and skylighted ticketing lobby - inspired by ancient Roman baths - and a parallel, more modest lobby along the southern edge of the building for the tenanted offices of the upper stories. During the next fifteen months he would compose many refinements to the plans and exterior articulation, but the exterior orientation toward Broadway, the grand ticketing lobby, and secondary office lobby survived as the distinctive features of the final design. After two years of study, the final plans were made public in July 1919. In August plans were filed with the Department of Buildings, which proffered approval in January 1920. Construction began immediately and concluded in May of the following year. Contemporary publications heralded Morris'sdesign, particularly as an architectural response to the new zoning law of 1916, which aimed at providing adequate natural light and ventilation to the increasingly darkened streetscapes of Manhattan. For the large, irregularly-shaped site, the architect utilized a dumbbell (or "H"; see fig. 1) plan above the building's base; that arrangement of two open lightcourts - in combination with the unusually widespaces flanking the building to the east (where Broadway expands at the head of Bowling Green) and to the northwest (where Trinity Place and Greenwich Street merge) - addressed the concerns of the law.

"Furthermore, the lightcourts allowed light into the enormous Great Hall of the first floor. In stylistic terms, Morris interpreted the setback requirements of the law, via a Renaissance architectural vocabulary, into a stately tripartite Broadway facade (fig. 2), of Indiana limestone, characterized by projecting end pavilions, which were carried up vertically as far as the law permitted, and a subtly recessed central plane which rose to a colonnaded crown resembling an Ionic loggia. The rusticated base reiterated the paired columns of the 'loggia' above, using the Tuscan order, and made effective use of five tall first-story arches: the southernarch giving access to the office lobby, the three central arches (fig. 3) corresponding to the Great Hall beyond them, and the northern arch (fig. 4) associated with the banking space at that corner of the first floor. The relatively sober facade was enlivened by nautically-inspired sculpted elements cut from models made by Rochette & Parzini: keystones exhibiting the Four Winds and a Neptune head crown the arched entrances; ship rondels flank the central arcade; and groups of seahorses and riders grace the setbacks of the side pavilions. A two-bay return onto Morris Street continues the historicizing details (fig. 5). Other writers chronicled the success with which the architects and their engineering consultants managed to erect a very large building above the tortuous, curving and steeply sloped subway tunnel which bisected the site. The remaining massive elevations of the structure are of brick, trimmed in limestone and terra cotta. Workaday rooftop elements like penthouses, tanks, and steam stacks were hidden from view. While the lowest four floors and the top floor accommodated the Cunard company and its allied and subsidiary lines, the remaining levels were leased to tenants, who would enjoy the outstanding location, which was convenient to transportation (subway, "El," ferries, and Hudson Terminal) and offered views of lower Manhattan and the bay. The fireproof steel skeleton allowed unusually spacious floors (48,000 square feet each) and modern conveniences abounded, such as thirty-three high-speed passenger elevators and three freight elevators. Situated at the head of Bowling Green, with its historic links to the steamship industry, embellished with a most discriminating architectural curtain wall, and reinforcing the masonry 'canyon' walls that had come to characterize the streetscapes of lower Manhattan and particularly lower Broadway, the twenty-one-story building was conceived and executed to display Cunard's business success and its good taste. The July 1921 edition of Architectural Forum featured the Cunard Building in no less than six separate articles. In one of them, respected critic Royal Cortissoz applauded the building and its designers,writing 'This is indeed organic architecture' to explain that the well-arranged plan was expressed on the exterior, which avoided all 'empty gestures,' and that the 'genuine architectural inspiration [sprang] straight from the personality of the designer.' He concludes, 'Mr. Morris imaginatively grasped the idea of the Cunard Building from the start, and he has bodied it forth, in a great work of architecture, alive and beautiful.' The structure heralded a wave of tall new office buildings for the shipping industry, built in the 1920s along the spine of lower Broadway.

"Among the most talented architects active in New York during the early twentieth century, BenjaminWistar Morris III (1870-1944), son of a socially prominent family, was educated at Trinity College in Hartford, Columbia University, and the École des Beaux-Arts. As an apprentice for Carrère & Hastings, he helped prepare the winning drawings for the New York Public Library competition (1897). During the first decade of the new century, he practiced alone and between 1910 and 1915 as a partner of Christopher Grant LaFarge, during which time that firm produced the Architects' Building at 101 Park Avenue (1912, demolished) among other works. Morris's career blossomed in the 1920s, beginning with his highly-regarded neo-Renaissance Cunard Building (1917-21). Each of his designs is intelligently adapted to its particular site and client's needs, and often reflects each institution's history. In addition to the Cunard Building, Morris's other notable designs include two prominent Wall Street skyscrapers - the neo-Romanesque Seamen's Bank for Savings (1926-27, now occupied by AIG) at 74 Wall Street and the neo-Georgian Bank of New York & Trust Company Building (1927-28) at 48 Wall Street - and severa luptown projects, including the Pierpont Morgan Library Annex (1927-28, a designated Landmark) at East 36th Street and the American Women's Association Clubhouse (1929) at West 57th Street. Morris also produced interesting but unexecuted projects for the Metropolitan Opera House and Metropolitan Square. As the senior partner of Morris & O'Connor, beginning in 1930, he was responsible for the neo-Georgian Union League Clubhouse (1931) at Park Avenue and East 37th Street. Outside New York City, Morris completed a substantial number of buildings, including dormitories at Princeton University, several significant buildings in Hartford, and the Westchester County Courthouse in White Plains, N.Y. Prominent in many professional organizations, he was associated with the Art Commission, the Beaux-Arts Society of Architects and Beaux-Arts Institute of Design, the American Institute of Architects, the National Commission of Fine Arts, and the Architectural League of New York.

Vestibule

"In designing the Cunard Building, Morris was assisted by his former employer, Thomas Hastings (1860-1929) of the firm of Carrère & Hastings. Both Hastings and John Merven Carrère (1858-1911) were educated at the École des Beaux-Arts and worked in the office of McKim, Mead & White, before establishing a partnership in 1885 in New York City. Carrère & Hastings earned national acclaim for its winning design (1897) for the New York Public Library (1898-1911, a designated New York City Landmark). Subsequently, the highly prolific firm enjoyed a wide-ranging practice and produced many other memorable designs which survive as designated landmarks. Hastings, who continued the firm for many years after his partner's death, was an early and highly respected exponent of the curtain wall system of construction. By 1920, he had developed a personal, Beaux-Arts inspired approach to the design of the masonry envelope of steel-framed structures, and was exploring innovative solutions to the massing of tall buildings in response to the set-back requirements of the 1916 Building Zone Resolution. Hastingsconsidered the skeleton frame and the exterior sheathing as separate entities with different functions: the first supporting the structure and the second enclosing it. His designs for the curtain walls of the Blair Building (1902, demolished) at 24 Broad Street and the United States Rubber Building (1912-12) at Broadway and 58th Street were for thin, veneer-like masonry skins, organized for architectural impact rather than to convey a sense of structure; that design approach was at odds with the more structural, muscular style advocated by other tall building designers working in New York, including Pierre LeBrun, George B. Post, and Bruce Price. Hastings's hand is evident in the massing and facade of the Cunard Building, either through his influence on former apprentice Benjamin Wistar Morris, or an active role in the project. Carrère & Hastings designedt hree other tall buildings of note, the Liggett Building (1919-20, demolished) at the northeast corner MadisonAvenue and East 42nd Street, the Fisk Building (1920-21) at 250 West 57th Street, and the Standard Oil Building (1921-28, with Shreve, Lamb & Blake); all three buildings have distinctive massing with pavilions of uniform setback rising above large bases, and are clad with thin masonry walls detailed to unite the two main portions of the building and add to their pictorial qualities.

"Exterior sculpture on the Cunard Building was the work of the New York firm of Rochette & Parzini. A native of Turin, sculptor Michael Parzini (1865/66-1946) studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and emigrated in 1893 to the United States, where he produced ornamental objects for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. In 1904 he formed a partnership with fellow sculptor Eugene Rochette (dates undetermined), a resident of Flushing, Queens. By the time of the Cunard commission, Rochette was no longer active in the firm; Parzini retired in 1938. According to Parzini's New York Times obituary, Rochette & Parzini worked for McKim, Mead & White and other prominent architectural firms, being employed to decorate the New York Public Library (1898-1911, Carrère & Hastings), Hotel Pierre (1929, Schultze & Weaver), and other significant New York structures.

"Long before construction of the Cunard Building was complete, several large businesses had signed leases in the new building, among them the Atlantic, Gulf & West Indies Steamship Lines, Merchant Shipbuilding Corp., Consolidated Steel Corp., and International Motor Truck Corp. The tenant space at the northeast corner of the first story was first occupied by a branch of the Mechanics & Metals National Bank. Such success is not surprising, given the shortage of downtown office space following World War I, the owner's provision for twenty-one-year leases and a concerted attempt to provide the best possible building,a nd the affordable rents due to the felicitous conditions of its erection (construction was kept to its schedule and almost within its cost estimate). According to the building prospectus, 'no expense or care will be omitted to make it...worthy of internationally known tenant whose name building bears.' Over the following decades, occupants included many steamship lines and their agents; brokers; shipbuilders; oil, mining, and steel companies; railroad companies; engineers; and attorneys.

"The conversion of office space into a garage necessitated alterations to the openings in the ground-story front of the Greenwich Street facade. In 1968, several years after Ashforth, Todd & Company purchased No. 25 Broadway, Cunard moved its offices to 555 Fifth Avenue. Though the upper floors remained rented, the Great Hall was vacated in 1971, and in 1972 the building was bought by the Cementation Company of America, an international heavy construction concern and a subsidiary of the new parent company of Cunard, the Trafalgar House Investment Group of Companies. In 1974 the U.S. Postal Service leased the Great Hall and other spaces in the building. Tenants associated with Cunard interests also eventually left the building; they were replaced by Standard & Poor's Corporation, a rating-service company that is one of the largest producers of publications and information services in finance and
business, and whose name still adorns the southern entrance along Broadway.

"Sheathed in Indiana limestone (now painted grayish white) on a granite water table, the Broadway facade features slightly projecting end pavilions flanking a wide central section. At the four-story rusticated base, five double-height arched entrances are crowned with carved keystones. Reached by granite steps, the three central arches contain historic bronze infill: multi-paned transoms and door enframements of crested cornices, pilasters, side panels with ornate grilles, and glazed doors. Carved rondels with ships bracket the central section.At the northern arch, bronze infill survives in the form of fluted Doric half-columns and a crested cornice; the side panels appear to have been simplified. Flanking window openings contain historic multi-pane metal-framed casements beneath multi-paned transoms. At the southern arch, the historic bronze fabric survives in part, with multi-paned transoms replaced by large single panes of glass. The two smaller entrances flanking the southern arch retain their historic paired bronze-framed and glazed doors and carved stone jambs; the windows above have chamfered jambs and address-bearing sills, both with a profusion of relief carving. Other changes at this level are few. Recent additions consist of a metal plaque from the New York Community Trust, signs for the Post Office, and, over the circular doors at the southern arch, the meta lnumerals '25.' Ornate grilles have been removed from the openings flanking the southern arch and the infill of that arch has been refinished. The upper portion of the base is treated like a loggia, with pilaster-fronted side pavilions and a colonnaded center.These support a richly-carved entablature - exhibiting nautilus shells, titans, and compasses - which is crowned by stunted obelisks with shields. A few historic multi-paned, bronze-framed windows survive at the base. Above the base, the central section is recessed slightly more than it is below. Both side pavilions and central section are faced in smooth limestone, except for horizontal bands of rustication at transitional stories and vertical bands of rustication which serve as quoining. The end pavilions terminate in a three-story arrangement of double-height pilasters (which frame decorated metal spandrels), piers bearing bundled fasces, and pairs of carved seahorses with riders. The crown of the facade, wherein the end sections are now recessed behind the central portion, duplicates the loggia treatment of the base and includes paired Ionic columns, decorated spandrels, and a balustraded and modillioned upper entablature. The further setback attic continues the Renaissance-inspired detailing at the limestone central portion, which is crowned by a mansard roof, but the side wings are much simpler, faced in stone-trimmed brick and flat-roofed. A few historic one-over-one double-hung sash windows survive; replacements are either single pane, single pane beneath a transom, or multi-pane.

"The Morris Street elevation contains a granite watertable, limestone two-story base, and a central court which separates the limestone-faced east wing from the limestone-trimmed tan brick west wing. All court elevations are of tan brick. Openings at the upper levels contain a variety of window types, including historic three-over-three double-hung metal sash beneath a divided glazed transom.The base retains an historic iron sign projecting from the wall, several bronze-framed glazed doors, and multi-paned metal-framed windows beneath divided glazed transoms. At the central bay, there is awide multi-paned metal-framed bay window, the curve of which is related to the interior layout.

"The Greenwich Street elevation (fig. 6) has a granite basement punctuated by several openings; three historic metal-framed glazed doors survive (their transoms have beenpainted over) and the remaining bays contain service entrances (some with vehicular roll-down doors) and one-over-one double-hung windows which have been sealed and painted. Above the basement rises a three-story arched opening with its deeply-set multi-paned metal-framed windows and two metal balconies. On the remainder of the elevation, the regularly-spaced openings retain a few historic metal-framed windows, both one-over-one double-hung and multi-paned casement windows. The terminal cornice of stone survives, as do rooftop extensions with stepped gables trimmed in terra cotta. The south elevation, also of tan brick, retains several three-over-one double-hung sash windows. A few roof elements are partly visible overt hat elevation, including a corrugated sheet-metal enclosure."

An article by Patrick Hedlund in the Jan. 11-17, 2008 edition of the Downtown Express noted that "The dormant Great Hall in the historic Cunard Building at 25 Broadway will again pulse with activity if a proposal by a high-end catering company gains support for a license to operate there." "The plan for the building along the 'Canyon of Heroes' parade route is by the Backal Hospitality Group - which counts clients such as the Waldorf-Astoria and the Plaza Hotel. The group seeks to utilize the ornate hall for special events such as corporate gatherings and other social functions, said C.E.O. Arthur F. Backal" who presented the plan to a committee of Community Board 1, which recommending approval of a catering license for the hall.

 

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