IRT Powerhouse, Manhattan
Address: West 58th & 59th Streets, 11th & 12th Avenues
Architect: Stanford White
LPC Action: Calendared 1979; Public Hearings in 1979, 1990, 2009
Stanford White was able to design in 1904 what today seems like a minor miracle – a utilitarian structure that was highly elegant and ornate. It was all in a day’s work though for White and other City Beautiful proponents who believed that public improvements should be built to create a city that was both functional and beautiful. This monumental structure is a remarkable example of Beaux-Arts design applied to a utilitarian building. In addition to its architectural significance, the building holds an important place in industrial history. When it opened it was the largest powerhouse in the world and provided the energy needed to run the subway which in turn created the modern city of New York.