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Verizon Building

Verizon Building
(Barclay-Vesey Building)
(New York Telephone Co. Building)
Barclay-Vesey Building 140 West Street.jpg
The Verizon Building in 2013.
Location140 West Street
Manhattan, New York City
Coordinates40°42′49.51″N 74°0′46.5″W / 40.7137528°N 74.012917°W / 40.7137528; -74.012917
Area0.9 acres (0.36 ha)
ArchitectRalph Walker
Architectural styleArt Deco
NRHP reference #09000257[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPApril 30, 2009
Designated NYCLOctober 1, 1991

The Verizon Building – previously known as the Barclay-Vesey Building and the New York Telephone Company Building – is a 32-story building located at 140 West Street between Barclay and Vesey Streets, going through to Washington Street, in the TriBeCa neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. The building was constructed from 1923 to 1927, and was designed in the Art Deco style by Ralph Walker of the firm McKenzie, Voorhees & Gmelin. The building is adjacent to the World Trade Center site and 7 World Trade Center, and it experienced major damage in the September 11 attacks. Its thick masonry exterior and use of masonry to protect steel columns and structural elements helped the building withstand the attacks. Restoration of the building and damaged communications infrastructure after the attacks took three years, at a cost of $1.4 billion.

The building, which has been called "one of the most significant structures in skyscraper design",[3] was the longtime corporate headquarters of Verizon Communications.[4]


The interior of the building includes 1,200,000 sq ft (110,000 m2).[5] The lobby features veined marble walls, travertine floors with inlaid bronze medallions, and other ornate decor, including ceiling murals that depict how human communication has progressed, from Aztec runners to the telephone.[3][5] Walker was inspired by Maya architecture in designing the facade.[6] Exterior ornamentation includes complex foliage, along with babies and animal heads as part of the design, and a bell (symbol of the telephone company) above the door.[7]

The Verizon Building has five sub-basement levels, which house communications equipment. The building remained in use by Verizon as a main telecommunications switching center in Lower Manhattan, handling approximately 200,000 phone lines and 3.6 million data circuits prior to 9/11.[8]



The building was designed by Ralph Walker of McKenzie, Voorhees & Gmelin Architects; construction began in 1923.[2][3] The building is 498 ft (152 m) tall and 32 stories.[9] Construction was completed in 1927, and the building was known at that time as the Barclay-Vesey Building.[5] It served as the headquarters for the New York Telephone Company, which commissioned it.[3] When NYNEX was formed as a result of the breakup of the original AT&T, the building became NYNEX's headquarters[citation needed]. It became the headquarters of Bell Atlantic following Bell Atlantic's merger with NYNEX, and was retained as Verizon's headquarters after Verizon was formed from the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE until 2013, when Verizon sold the upper 21 floors of the building to a redeveloper who plans to convert the upper floors into residences; Verizon relocated to midtown at 1095 Avenue of the Americas.[10]

Architects and historians widely consider the Verizon Building as the first Art Deco skyscraper.[11] It was among the first skyscrapers designed under the 1916 Zoning Resolution, using the step back principle which became a key element of art deco design.[12] Architectonically, the building has been compared to San Antonio's Milam Building, the largest pre-stressed concrete and brick office building and the first to have an integrated designed-in air conditioning system.[13]

September 11 attacks

The south and east facades of the Verizon Building were heavily damaged in the September 11 attacks, from the collapse of the adjacent 7 World Trade Center, as well as the collapse of the Twin Towers. No fires were observed in the building on September 11.[14]

The building's older design utilizes thick masonry and gives the building added strength, which helped the building withstand damage from debris and remain structurally sound. The building has thick, heavy masonry in the exterior infill walls, which encloses the building's steel frame. Brick, cinder, concrete, and other masonry materials encase interior steel columns, beams, girders, and other structural elements. The masonry allowed the structure to absorb much of the energy from debris hitting the building.[15] Nonetheless, the building had extensive damage to its east and south facades.[16] Underground cable vaults belonging to Verizon, along with other underground utility infrastructure, were also heavily damaged from water and debris.[5][17]

Restoration and renovation

Tishman Realty & Construction, which had been planning work on the building prior to the attacks, did a quick assessment of the building in the days after the attack.[5] William F. Collins AIA Architects was the lead architectural firm working on the restoration,[5] while Tishman Interiors managed the project. Restoration of the building took three years, at a cost of $1.4 billion.[18]

The Excalibur Bronze Foundry and Petrillo Stone were hired as specialists for restoring intricate ornamental detail in the facade and in the lobby. This part of the restoration accounted for a significant portion of restoration costs.[16] Facade restoration involved carving motif designs in the ornamental limestone, and restoring the 10 frescoes in the lobby.[19] For the murals in the lobby, hypodermic needles were used to inject acrylic resin to restore the paint and plaster.[20]

On the executive office floors, barrel-vaulted ceilings were restored, restoring plaster friezes, and other work.[19] Restoration of the building also involved replacing a corner column; A+ Construction of Rye, New York was responsible for this work.[19] The building's 23 elevators were also upgraded, new fire alarms, building command systems, and chillers installed, and restrooms made accessible to those with disabilities.[21]

In 2004, the New York Landmarks Conservancy awarded Tishman Interiors the Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award for its restoration work on the Verizon Building.[20][22] By late 2005, the restoration was complete and in December, Verizon, announced it would move its headquarters from midtown Manhattan into the downtown building which had space for 1,500 employees.[23] The building also continues to serve as a telephone switching center.[24]

The building, which had been designated a New York City Landmark in 1999,[3] was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

The building was partially flooded by storm surge from Hurricane Sandy in 2012.[25]

In 2013, the top 22 floors of the 32-story building were purchased by developer Ben Shaoul for conversion to condominiums known as One Hundred Barclay.[26][27] Verizon owns and operates office and telecommunications space, including the switching center serving telecommunications circuit and Fios customers for much of Lower Manhattan.

See also



  1. ^ "National Register of Historic Places". WEEKLY LIST OF ACTIONS TAKEN ON PROPERTIES: 4/27/09 THROUGH 5/01/09. National Park Service. May 8, 2009.
  2. ^ a b White, Norval; Willensky, Elliot & Leadon, Fran (2010), AIA Guide to New York City (5th ed.), New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780195383867, p.59
  3. ^ a b c d e New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission; Dolkart, Andrew S.; Postal, Matthew A. (2009), Postal, Matthew A. (ed.), Guide to New York City Landmarks (4th ed.), New York: John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 978-0-470-28963-1, p.24
  4. ^ "Corporate History". Verizon Communications. January 2013. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Monroe, Linda K. (June 2005). "Uncommon valor: winner: Verizon Building at 140 West Street, New York City".
  6. ^ "Cataclysm and Challenge: Impact of September 11, 2001 on Our Nation's Cultural Heritage" (pdf). Heritage Preservation. 2002. Retrieved September 13, 2007.
  7. ^ Dolkart, Andrew S. "The Birth of the Skyscraper - The Barclay-Vesey Building". Columbia University. Retrieved September 13, 2007.
  8. ^ Stern, Christopher (September 13, 2001). "Restoring Telecom Service in Financial District Could Take Days". The Washington Post.
  9. ^ "Barclay-Vesey Building". Emporis. Retrieved September 13, 2007.
  10. ^ Geiger, Daniel (September 12, 2013). "Storm-soaked Verizon decamps from downtown". Crain's New York Business. Retrieved November 19, 2013.
  11. ^ Keith, Natalie (September 2004). "Events of a Lifetime; Tishman Shares the Emotion, Opportunity and Challenge of Rebuilding Downtown". Engineering News-Record. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
  12. ^ "Salvaging landmark buildings near ground zero". Weekend Edition Sunday. March 10, 2002. National Public Radio (NPR).
  13. ^ Henry, Jay C. (January 1, 1993). Architecture in Texas: 1895-1945. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press. pp. 217, 220. ISBN 9780292730724.
  14. ^ Biggs, David T. "Beyond the Towers: Performance of Masonry". Portland Cement Association. Retrieved September 7, 2007.
  15. ^ Szoke, Stephen S. (September 2005). "Maintaining Structural Integrity" (PDF). Proceedings. WTC Technical Conference. NIST. Retrieved September 7, 2007.
  16. ^ a b "Verizon Building Restoration". Engineering News-Record. Retrieved June 28, 2007.
  17. ^ Russell, Joy D. "Verizon Deals With Loss of Employees and Outages". VAR Business. Retrieved September 7, 2007.
  18. ^ Sawyer, Tom (September 9, 2002). "Landmark Battles Back After Being Down and Briefly Out". Engineering News-Record.
  19. ^ a b c Gregor, Alison (January 12, 2006). "Setauket firm found that resurrecting historic Art Deco building damaged on 9/11 was a work of heart". Newsday.subscription required
  20. ^ a b "Tishman Interiors collects award for West St. restoration project". Real Estate Weekly. June 23, 2004.
  21. ^ Solnik, Claude (November 26, 2004). "Restoration of Verizon's office bldg. at 140 W. Street in NYC gets kudos from architects". Long Island Business News. Archived from the original on April 6, 2016.subscription required
  22. ^ "Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards for 2003". New York Landmarks Conservancy. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
  23. ^ Dunlap, David W. (December 9, 2005). "Verizon Unpacks at Its Restored Ancestral Headquarters". The New York Times. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
  24. ^ "Verizon Relocates Corporate Headquarters to Lower Manhattan" (Press release). PR Newswire. December 8, 2005.
  25. ^ Troianovski, Anton (November 1, 2012). "A Look inside Verizon's Flooded Communications Hub". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 1, 2012.
  26. ^ Budin, Jeremiah. "Details Revealed for Ben Shaoul's Verizon Tower Conversion" CurbedNY (April 11, 2014)
  27. ^ Barbanel, John. "Old Phone Buildings Are Being Converted into Condos". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 12, 2014.

External links