"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Where & When: Season 2 Game 11

Happy New Year! Welcome back to another round of Where & When; where distinction knows no clock or calendar.  Nevertheless, I know some of you have been waiting patiently for the next game to pop up randomly; to that end you can thank Mr. Alex Belth for his fervent support for the game by referring a new source to me to pick from.  Already I can tell I can find some worthy places to highlight; to wit, here is the latest post for the newest year:

Where & When S2 Game 11 When I was a temp, I worked “up the block” from this address. There is a lot of history not only to this particular region, but the address in general; especially within my current career field.  What can I add to this particular post? How about a hint: no bull.

So you know the deal, figure out where this is and when the picture was taken, and bonus brownies if you can give us any particular information about the building featured as to why it is a standout feature among other buildings in the region.  First person with correct or nearly correct (as the case may be) will get a large and steamy mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream, and the rest of us who play will share a piece of rum-infused chocolate to keep us warm.  Have fun, folks, no peeking at the link (but if you come across it during your research, it’s okay).  See you again at or after the HoF announcement!

Photo Credit: Once Upon A Town


1 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 6, 2015 1:26 pm

So, that's way downtown Manhattan, I'm guessing...

2 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 6, 2015 2:05 pm

Go on...

3 rbj   ~  Jan 6, 2015 2:13 pm

Street cars and horse drawn carts, so I'm guessing pre WWI.

4 rbj   ~  Jan 6, 2015 2:25 pm

It's not the Siegel-Cooper Department Store

5 RIYank   ~  Jan 6, 2015 2:35 pm

Pushcarts, very long exposure, streetcar but no autos. Roughly 1900.

I love the ornamentation. It looks like the architect is imitating grand European buildings, esp. French.

The "no bull" clue is giving me a little itch -- but it's not Wall Street... hmmmm.

6 RIYank   ~  Jan 6, 2015 2:38 pm

Oh, I have the 'when' for sure: it's 2:28 PM.


7 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 6, 2015 2:39 pm

That the east river in the background?

8 RIYank   ~  Jan 6, 2015 2:44 pm

It's not the Mercantile Exchange on Harrison...
Definitely not a Wall St. stock exchange building.

(Trying to follow up the "bull" clue.)

9 rbj   ~  Jan 6, 2015 2:49 pm

Nor is it the Adams Dry goods building, not enough arches on that one's exterior.

10 RIYank   ~  Jan 6, 2015 2:51 pm

Oh, the clue isn't to "noble" or "Nobel", is it?

Some of the ornaments look like they might be representational, but I can't tell what they represent. The cornices.

I wonder what the green(ish) square is, too. That would help with the location.

Does the flag say "PHE"? "PIE"?

11 RIYank   ~  Jan 6, 2015 2:54 pm

[9] Also our target building is made of brick. (And it's much bigger than the Adams building.)

12 RIYank   ~  Jan 6, 2015 3:04 pm

I think it must be this. The Produce Exchange, demolished in 1957.

It is a very early (arguably the earliest) example of skeleton framing, which was subsequently used for skyscrapers -- it means the weight of the building is transmitted to the foundation by a steel skeleton. But the outer part of the Produce Exchange had load-bearing brick walls, so I don't think we can see any of the architecturally innovative part in the picture.

I can't get more specific date info than c. 1900. It certainly can't be much earlier because the thing was built in 1887.

13 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Jan 6, 2015 3:09 pm

I cheated, sorry but I had to know what this impressive building is or was. I assumed it's a was because I have no memory of it.

No Piazza, it doesn't make sense to me.

14 rbj   ~  Jan 6, 2015 3:26 pm

[12] Yup.

and this site says that picture is circa 1885

15 RIYank   ~  Jan 6, 2015 3:27 pm

Oh -- I found it by "New York brick exchange". This got me some articles about the new cannabis exchange, and the red herring Mercantile Exchange, but also a NYT article about our subject.

I guess the green square is Bowling Green?

16 RIYank   ~  Jan 6, 2015 3:30 pm

Ah, good [14]. It was built in 1884, so it was brand new in the picture.

The photograph itself looks newer than that, but sometimes a very long exposure on a glass plate gives a higher quality from the older process.

I just love the pushcarts!

17 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 6, 2015 4:03 pm

[14] Sorry about that, had to edit that link because it's the same as the photo credit. Not a disqualification since you found it without clicking the link I credited >;)

RI is correct, of course ; it is the Produce Exchange Building at 2 Broadway in Manhattan, across from Bowling Green. The hint I gave referred to the statue of the Rampaging Bull that was obviously not there during that era. Rbj was correct that the year is 1885; a year after the building was built.

I noticed that the flag is at half-mast; after looking up famous people who died in 1885, I narrowed down the potential list to Schuyler Colfax, Vice Pres. of United States 1869-73 (d. Jan. 13); Ulysses S. Grant, Pres. of United States 1869-77 (d. July 23); George B. McClellan, Major General of Army of the Potomac during the Civil War (d. Oct. 29). There are certainly other dignitaries, military commanders and royalty who passed that year; but in my opinion these three are the most likely to have even non-government buildings flying a flag at half-mast. The trees seem to be flush with leaves and perhaps the long exposure makes the sidewalks look like they are covered with snow, but then the people in the streets are not wearing winter coats or other type of clothes that would indicate that it's cold, so it's unlikely to be January or October. I don't think you can argue that the flags are likely at half-mast for the former President of the United States (8 years removed). An incidental, but remarkably subtle notation that adds to the depth of this picture about 130 years later.

Thanks for playing, we'll play again this week!

18 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 6, 2015 4:24 pm

RI, you remain, THE MAN. Thanks Will.

feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email
"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver