the photoshooter's journey from taking to making


(Note: This gallery of images is a companion piece to the post Oh, That Towering Feeling, published on this site’s BLOG tab in October, 2018, which offers additional context on the history of the Woolworth Building—mp)


THE WOOLWORTH BUILDING, towering over 233 Broadway in lower Manhattan since 1912, has long since relinquished its crown as the world’s tallest skyscraper. However, a visit to its ornate, two-story-high lobby still bespeaks an age of gilded vanity and conspicuous excess, arranged in an explosion of gothic ornament that contemporaries lauded as a “cathedral of commerce.” And today, following a brief retreat from public view following the 9/11 attacks, the house that retail king Frank Woolworth built one nickel (and one dime) at a time once more offers up her arcane treasures to guided tours.

The Woolworth building still towers over Lower Manhattan, a block away from City Hall.

The lower half of the building, seen here from the back side, is actually two separate sub-building’s, tethered to the central tower with a system of braces.

The Woolworth’s relatively restrained entrance is nestled inside an ornate arch of sculpted accents….

….which depict laborers from a variety of trades employed in the tower’s creation.

The main lobby, over two stories in height, is a symphony of ostentatious orchestration.

Details of one of the building’s two mezzanine stairways are reflected in the building’s signature Skyros marble.

Not a confessional booth, but framing arches for some of the lobby elevators.

Flanking open mezzanines are crowned with vaulted arched ceilings….

…….both domed by dazzling tile mosaics.

Sculpted caricatures of key figures in the building’s creation include this rendering of architect Cass Gilbert.

The grand staircase at the rear of the lobby once served as the business’s entrance for a high-end banking tenant.

W stands for Woolworth….here and in dozens of other locations within the tower.

The grand staircase’s majestic clock.

Coats-of-arms, heraldic symbols and even a few inside jokes decorate the walls.

Select elevator doors were custom-designed by the Tiffany studios.

Exiting the lobby by way of the Broadway entrance.