Barclay-Vesey Building, Exterior and Interior

STATUS Designated Exterior and Interior Landmark

140 West Street

ARCHITECT: McKenzie, Voorhees & Gmelin; Ralph Walker

DATE: 1923-27

STYLE: American Art Deco

American Art Deco Manhattan Tribeca

Designated 10/1/1991

The Barclay-Vesey Building was commissioned by the New York Telephone Company, and it was intended to stand as a corporate symbol and was promoted as the world’s largest telephone building. It is a pivotal structure in the history of skyscraper architecture, and  a prototypical example of the American Art Deco style. At the time of its construction was called Modernistic in style.

Its set-back form, a response to the 1916 New York City Building Zone Resolution, is an achievement of the incorporation of the law’s restrictions into a completed architectural design. The architect’s intention that the building be completely modern in every aspect of its design was a response to contemporary architectural trends and his objective was carried out in the building’s form, construction techniques, materials, unconventional ornament, and style.

The building’s lobby’s is a striking display of rich materials, style, and unconventional ornament. The modern design helped to symbolize the success and progressiveness of the New York Telephone Company. At the time of its construction the interior was proclaimed the greatest triumph of a building heralded as a monument to American architecture. The architect  successfully established a continuity between interior and exterior design.

STATUS Designated Exterior and Interior Landmark

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“I don’t know what the City would be without HDC. [They] testified before LPC time after time and helped us focus on the right issues. We would not be an historic district without HDC! ”

Doreen Gallo: DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance

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Fern Luskin: Lamartine Place Historic District; Friends of Lamartine Place & Gibbons Underground Railroad Site

Local Voices

“HDC provided guidance and shared information during that process—we knew which Council members were going one way or another and we changed a few minds. I don’t think NoHo would have had as cohesive a district had it not been for HDC’s aid.”

Zella Jones: NoHo Historic District; NoHo East; and NoHo Extension

Local Voices

“I remember Richard saying at a meeting, we have someone here from HDC, Nadezhda Williams, Director of Preservation and Research, to help us. She said to us, ‘You are not the only ones going through this.’ HDC included us in an enormous community”

Erika Petersen: West End Preservation Society

Local Voices

"HDC has begun a series of projects to highlight the Bronx's architectural and cultural history. From booklet's and research highlighting specific sites and historic districts to the HDC's symposium in October 2018 to the latest community-based committee to look into further possible sites to qualify for landmarking, the HDC has established projects that will serve the Bronx community well."

Elena Martinez
City Lore, Folklorist
Bronx Music Heritage Center, Co-Artistic Director

Local Voices

"Welcome2TheBronx is grateful for the advocacy done by the Historic Districts Council on behalf of the people of The Bronx. Through their deep connections and understanding of the importance of preserving our local histories, The Bronx has been able to have several spotlights shown on endangered communities as gentrification creeps into the borough."

Ed García Conde,
founder and Executive Director,