The Cities Service Building is a 66-story skyscraper that rises from a trapezoidal site bounded by Pine Street, Cedar Street, and Pearl Street. At the time of completion it was the tallest structure in lower Manhattan, and at 952 feet, the third tallest structure in the world. It was commissioned by a major American corporation and was an expression of the owner’s success. The Cities Service Company w quickly grew to become one of the largest corporations in the United States, controlling approximately 200 energy firms in thirty states, including numerous oil and power suppliers.
The interior is an outstanding example of the Art Deco style, and has stunning marble walls and floors, molded plaster ceilings and cast aluminum details that express the original owner’s role in the production and delivery of energy. It has four entrances, divided equally between Pine Street and Cedar Street. The east portals open to large vestibules that incorporate wide staircases that rise to the first floor lobby and descend to the basement lobby. Throughout the lobby are the original cast glass lighting fixtures and a distinctive plaster ceiling, embellished with stepped polychrome corbels and an unusual faceted pattern that suggests light waves.
STATUS Designated Exterior and Interior Landmark
“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
“Use HDC as a resource because they know what they are doing and can offer advice on how to go about creating a district from every front: architectural, political, LPC, and the media. I had floundered prior to my involvement with this invaluable organization.”
Fern Luskin: Lamartine Place Historic District; Friends of Lamartine Place & Gibbons Underground Railroad Site
“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
“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