140 West St.
Architect: Voorhees, Gmelin & Walker
Developer: New York Telephone Company
General Contractor:Marc Eidlitz & Son
Original Owner: New York Telephone Co.
Current Owner: Verizon
Current Tenant: Verizon
Height: 498 ft / 152 m
Also known as the New York Telephone Company Building, this 498-foot tall
edifice was constructed as a switching center and office building for
The New York Telephone Company. The bulky base, which rose directly from
the lot lines, was only possible because of the switching machinery it
contained; windows were unnecessary, so the entire internal core could
be utilized. Ralph Walker used the mandated set-backs to create a well-lit
office tower above the switching floors, beautifully matching form to
function. The building's austere, vaguely historical, and emphatically
vertical articulation further expressed its machine aesthetic. Yet the
architect was no European Modernist; he sought to maintain "the human
touch" in the building. While "the telephone was a machine technique,"
he remarked, "it also meant a communication of emotion." At
the ground floor, the building provides a Guastovino-tiled arcade in place
of the sidewalk, offering shelter and beauty to neighbors and tenants