"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Where & When: Game 38

We’re on a roll with Where & When! I love that so many of these beautiful photos have managed to come to my attention and that we can share so much information about them. While I’ve researched various photos and pics, I’ve come to appreciate the wave of changes that occur each generation in New York, even if I don’t necessarily agree with them.  Some great architecture has sadly been lost to the ages due to neglect, damage from fire or the changing needs of society at that time, and far more often than not in this generation the replacements have been lacking in artistry or originality, but at least they’re not… well, they do… ah, who am I kidding? The early 20th Century was the golden age of skyscrapers and building construction in all of Greater New York and the surrounding metro area.  The mansions were better in the mid-to-late 1800s, but the buildings that came later served a greater purpose and the mansions, if they still exist, are mainly museums now.  That’s just my opinion, of course, but you’re welcome to agree or explain why I don’t know what I’m talking about >;)

click on photo to enlarge

click on photo to enlarge

Now you may or may not know what and where this is, but the year might throw you off a bit.  That’s because there are some very obvious and important distinctions about this place that you will have to list, and getting the year correct will likely help you with that task.  So not only are you determining where this was taken and when the photo was taken, but you’re also pointing out the main features in this structure.  Two bonus questions(!) go with this one: Name something related to a notorious event that happened here, and name another structure from around the world that inspired this one.

You all have fun with that while I sleep the morning away; I will check in after noon to see how you’re doing.  Same prizes as yesterday, but second bonus will be a chocolate biscotti. No peeking!

[Photo Credit: New York Architecture]


1 TheGreenMan   ~  Feb 13, 2014 10:51 am

Googled "Old Church NYC Clock Tower", and it turned out that it's not a church after all. The architect specifically wanted it to look like a church, but he included non-religious content like a tympanum of The Merchant of Venice and other items.

It's the Jefferson Market Library, formerly the Jefferson Market Courthouse in Greenwich Village. It was completed in 1877 and was used as a courthouse until 1945. The nation's first night court was held there. Looking up more details now.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Feb 13, 2014 11:28 am

That's 6th Ave right?

3 rbj   ~  Feb 13, 2014 1:03 pm

Turret clocktowers in new york city leads to this picture:

425 Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue)

Off to wikipedia, I can't find that photo anywhere, I'm gong to guess early 1930s from the cars in the picture.

Is it near to the Stonewall riot happened -- in the news as we are going to get the first openly gay NFL player?

And to quote from wikipedia: "The AIA Guide to New York City calls the building "A mock Neuschwansteinian assemblage ... of leaded glass, steeply sloping roofs, gables, pinnacles, Venetian Gothic embellishments, and an intricate tower and clock; one of the City's most remarkable buildings."

4 TheGreenMan   ~  Feb 13, 2014 1:32 pm

The notorious event may be "The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing" trial concerning the murder of Standford White by Harry Thaw. A "trial of the century", as it were. The events were fictionalized in the novel "Ragtime".

The courthouse was also involved in some arrests associated with the Triangle Shirtwaist Company due to striking workers. The workers were tried at night court with prostitutes and thieves as a matter of intimidation in 1909. The story of factory fire in 1911, I believe, made it's way into one of these Where & When posts from early in the series. Right?

5 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 13, 2014 3:46 pm

[4] One of you may have commented on the Triangle factory fire in a post about a nearby location, but a preliminary search doesn't have any words related to it. I can tell you I learned a lot about that incident including what led up to it and the aftermath from watching films: Ric Burn's New York: A Documentary Film (Ep.4) and in more detail, PBS's American Experience series episode Triangle Fire by producer/director Jamila Wignot (whom I PA'd for several years ago on an episode concerning Ground Zero and 9/11, small world!). I warn you if you watch, the circumstances and details are graphic; the Triangle factory fire was a horrific tragedy that changed labor laws in New York forever and had a much deeper impact on the politics and destiny of the city, state and maybe even the country. It's only fair we get as much knowledge about those circumstances, even if they are graphic.

6 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 13, 2014 7:29 pm

Okay, so the answer is actually the Jefferson Market Courthouse, c. 1926. Located on Sixth Avenue (Ave of the Americas) between Greenwich Street and West 10th Street, the complex would later become a library branch in 1967 and still serves as such, though half of the complex was demolished and the interior remodeled.

As a matter of fact, this was an earlier iteration of the courthouse, which was itself built next to a thriving marketplace named after former President Thomas Jefferson all in 1832. A wooden fire watchtower was installed on the high south side of the complex, but the watchtower itself burned down in 1875 and was replaced by the current clock tower. The complex served mainly as a courthouse and jail; both hosting the infamous Sandford White murder case and producing the country's first night court.

The very next year after this picture was taken, the portion to the north (left side of pic) from the middle lower roof to the corner was demolished and a tall block structure that housed a women's detention center was built in it's place; itself heralded as a marked improvement over conditions that existed there previously. However, operations ceased in 1945 and the complex stood vacant and was nearly torn down until a preservation group called the Committee of Neighbors to Get the Clock on Jefferson Market Courthouse Started, led by noted preservationist and author Margot Gayle and including notables such as author e.e. cummings and historian/writer Lewis Mumford, campaigned successfully to convert the structure into a library. After extensive restoration and interior renovation, the new Jefferson Courthouse Library opened it;s doors in 1967. It was added to National Register of Historical Places in 1972, and became a National Historic Landmark in 1977.

One more thing of note: The tower bell, which had not rung since 1861 was brought back into service in 1996 and strikes the hour each day from 9am to 9pm, thanks to a trio including Cynthia Crane and Marilyn Dorato, with help from the very same Margot Gayle.

That's all tonight, I may have one more in me for tomorrow so check back in and we'll play again. Tonight's a draw since everyone contributed to the answer once again, so we'll split the proceeds evenly and go for the gusto tomorrow >;)

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver