167-171 John Street Building

167-171 John Street

DATE: 1850

STYLE: Greek Revival

Burling Slip

Designated: October 29, 1968

In 1849-50, when this building was erected, this part of what is now John Street was known as Burling Slip . This building was 31-35 Burling Slip.

*This masonry, cast iron, and timber-framed building was built in 1850 for the A.A. Low & Brothers, a famous export firm until well past the end of the 19th century. Founded by Abiel Abbot Low (1811-1893), the company was New York’s most successful firm in the China trade importing cinnamon, pepper, silks, porcelain, firecrackers, and tea.

This building reflects the predominant Greek Revival style of the time, in the forms used in the ground-floor trabeated storefronts, and in its masonry work.

Typically, Greek Revival style buildings are characterized by a granite post-and-lintel frame resting on a granite sill running the entire width of the building, slightly above street level and supported by a brick wall. The concentration of granite at ground level highlights new utilitarian innovations, such as cellars with access from the street (with related modified entrances and sidewalks) and more access to light and ventilation compared to Schermerhorn Row.

The facade of the building was altered and restored in 1983, but the cast-iron double storefront is original and notable because it was produced by Daniel D. Badger (1806-1884) of the renowned Architectural Iron Works firm.

Another important occupant of the building was the Baltimore Copper Paint Co., founded in 1870, and tenant of the A.A. Low Building until the early 1970s. Between 1941 and 1945, the company manufactured vessel coatings for the U.S. Maritime Commission, the U.S. Navy and the British Admiralty. The paint was also used on Russian torpedo boats!

*Excerpt from the South Street Seaport museum

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South Street Seaport

The South Street Seaport provides a pivotal connection to New York City’s early days as a center of maritime industry. Indeed, the city’s settlement and growth were inextricably linked to its success, and this history remains embodied in the area’s low-scale, early 19th century commercial...

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