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The West Street Building with buildings 1, 2 and 3 of the WTC in the background. The North Tower (left) is behind Marriott World Trade Center (bottom left).

90 West Street or West Street Building is a building in Lower Manhattan designed by architect Cass Gilbert and structural engineer Gunvald Aus for the West Street Improvement Corporation.[1] When completed in 1907, the building's Gothic styling and ornamentation served to emphasize its 23-story height, and foreshadowed Gilbert's later work on the Woolworth Building. Originally built as an office building, the main tenant was the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad and the top floor was occupied by Garret's Restaurant, which advertised itself as the "world's highest restaurant."[2][3]

Located on West Street, between Cedar and Albany Streets, just south of the World Trade Center site, the building had a view to the Hudson River before Battery Park City was built on fill across West Street.

In 1998, the building's exterior was designated an architectural landmark by the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The building was severely damaged in the September 11, 2001 attacks when the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed directly across the street. Scaffolding which had been erected on the facade for renovation work did nothing to stop the fiery debris from raining into the building and tearing a gash deep down its northern face.[3] Two office workers were killed when they were trapped in an elevator. The firestorm raged out of control for several days; the building, which had housed businesses including Hanover Capital, Frost & Sullivan and IKON Office Solutions, was completely gutted. It is believed that 90 West's heavy building materials and extensive use of terra cotta inside and out helped serve as fireproofing and protected it from further damage and collapse, as opposed to the more modern skyscraper at 7 World Trade Center, which suffered similar damage and collapsed later that day.[2]

Today, 90 West Street has been meticulously restored, and in 2006 it received a National Preservation Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.[4] Restoration of the lobby revealed some of Gilbert's original terra cotta work that had been covered over during an earlier modernization project. During this restoration, the copper roof was replaced and replacement gargoyles were added.[5] The building was converted into apartments and reopened on March 7, 2005.[6]

On November 26, 2007, a mammoth sewer pipe burst open into the bottom floors of 90 West from the World Trade Center construction site, damaging dozens of luxury cars and causing a two week evacuation of the building's residents.[7][8]


  1. ^ Guide to Civil Engineering Projects In and Around New York City (2nd ed.). Metropolitan Section, American Society of Civil Engineers. 2009. p. 108. 
  2. ^ a b Collins, Glenn (March 5, 2004). "9/11's Miracle Survivor Sheds Bandages; A 1907 Landmark Will Be Restored for Residential Use". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  3. ^ a b Amateau, Albert (April 17, 2002). "L.M.D.C. Looks to Restore Cass Gilbert Building". Downtown Express. Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  4. ^ National Trust for Historic Preservation (November 2, 2006). "National Trust Presents National Preservation Honor Award to 90 West Street in Lower Manhattan". Press release. Retrieved 2006-11-06. 
  5. ^ Collins, Glenn (February 28, 2005). "Faces at Least a City Can Love". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  6. ^ Kahn, Robert (March 6, 2005). "Landmark Building Restored, Ready for Business". Newsday. 
  7. ^ "Downtown Parking Garage Under Water; Residents Evacuated". WABC. November 26, 2007. Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  8. ^ Pinto, Nick (December 12, 2007). "90 West Street Residents Wary of Waivers". Tribeca Tribune. 

External links

Coordinates: 40°42′36″N 74°00′53″W / 40.709871°N 74.014613°W / 40.709871; -74.014613



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