clock menu more-arrow no yes

Take a Walking Tour of Tribeca's Formerly Industrial Beauties

View as Map

Welcome to the latest installment of Neighborhood Tours, a feature in which Curbed maps out architecturally interesting buildings and sites ripe for an exploratory weekend jaunt. Up next: Tribeca. Have other areas you'd like to see covered? Let us know.

It looks like it'll be a mighty fine weekend, perfect for taking a walk around one of the city's most changed neighborhoods, Tribeca. Once a downtown hotspot for manufacturing warehouses and other trades, today many of the fine buildings built for those industrial purposes now contain condos or other residences. (What else is new, eh?) There are a few modern specimens scattered about, too, for some dabbling into 20th- and 21st-century styles. From the old-school firehouse that featured in Ghostbusters to a modern, flame-shaped synagogue built in 1967, here's a roundup of some notable, historic, and just plain fun architecture you won't want to miss.
—Angely Mercado


· Take a Walking Tour of 11 Marvelous Upper East Side Mansions [Curbed]
· Take a Walking Tour of Nine Must-See Buildings in Cobble Hill [Curbed]
· All Neighborhood Tours coverage [Curbed]

Read More

1. New York Mercantile Exchange Building

Copy Link
6 Harrison Street
New York, NY 10013

This gabled and towered brick building has been standing in Tribeca since 1886. 6 Harrison Street was designed by Thomas R. Jackson in a Queen Anne style, and it cost $400,000 to complete. It came about from an agreement over different exchanges of products such as produce and eggs; many trades united under one roof, hence the name. Today it holds office space as well as condos.

2. 8 Thomas Street

Copy Link
8 Thomas Street
New York, NY 10007

Despite being sandwiched between unremarkable structures, this adorably ornate building stands out. It has cast iron on the bottom and is decorated with fanciful brickwork on the rest of the floors. It was designed by Jarvis Morgan Slade, completed in 1875, and is, in official parlance, in the "Ruskinian High Victorian Gothic style."

3. Civic Center Synagogue

Copy Link
49 White St
New York, NY 10013

And now for a more modern specimen. This unlikely place of worship is covered in a swooping concrete shell and really stands out on White Street alongside the Victorian row houses. The multi-functional synagogue is meant to be flame-shaped. It was designed by William N Berger and completed in 1967.

4. One York Street

Copy Link
53 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10013

Glitzy and glassy like many other new condo projects in NYC, One York Street Condos stands out, perched over a wider brick building. It also shines (literally) among the backdrop of the more classic buildings in the historic neighborhood. This condo castle was designed by starchitect Enrique Norten of TEN Arquitectos. It's complete with amenities a pool deck and gym.

5. The Cary Building

Copy Link
105-107 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007

The Cary Building, perched on the corner of Chambers and Church, was constructed in 1857 by William H. Cary of the Cary, Howard, and Sanger dry goods firm. Despite being dwarfed by sky-high towers today, this cast iron building was once the tallest one on the block. The Italian Revival ornamented building is another structure that started out as commercial but is now residential. It was designated as a landmark in 1980 and despite some wear and tear, it's still worth a look.

6. 122 Chambers Street

Copy Link
122 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007

Also known as 52 Warren Street, 122 Chambers and all the other houses near it didn't appear on the city map until the late 1800s. Like many buldings around it, 122 Chambers is decked out in the elaborate Italian Renaissance Revival style, hence the ornamentation on the windows and the wrought iron. And also like its neighbors, if there was ever a commercial space in it, it mostly dealt with dry goods, And, again, like oh-so-many Tribeca buildings, 122 Chambers is currently a residential building.

7. 443 Greenwich Street

Copy Link
443 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013

This longtime book bindery was constructed in 1883 and designed by Charles C. Haight as a warehouse. The landmark has been home to several manufacturing companies and even a publishing house during the early 2000s. And now it's going to house... housing units, naturally. To be precise, 54 apartments and eight penthouses. Apart from the perks many condo owners will expect after the conversion, there will also be a ton of architectural charm remaining, thanks to the wrought-iron gates and a rare central courtyard.

8. Hook and Ladder 8 (From Ghostbusters)

Copy Link
14 North Moore Street
New York, NY 10013

Yes, this is the one and only Hook and Ladder 8, the famous headquarters of Ghostbusters (1984). But before busting supernatural spooks, H&L 8 was over on Franklin Street. In 1904, after the five boroughs consolidated into New York City and the fire department was reorganized, the "Sinking Funds Commission" considered a new location. It was designed by the fire department's in-house architect, Alexander H. Stevens. He was the department's “Superintendent of Buildings.” He definitely had an eye for detail; the truck entrances are in a Baroque style and covered in brick and limestone framing. For decades #8 was distinguished for their constant bravery. In the early 1900s, the building was chopped in half to decrease the cost to the fire department. Today, firemen still get to work inside, and there's a constant stream of tourists taking pictures of the enthralling architecture, and, of course, Ghostbusters fans trying to get a glimpse of what they saw in the movies in real life.

9. Textile Building

Copy Link
66 Leonard St
New York, NY 10013

This turn-of-the-century building (1901) stands among several neo-Renaissance-style buildings in Tribeca. It's adorned with brick arches around the windows, and cartouche-like carvings at either end of its facade. Designed by Henry J Hardenburg, the building originally held textile showrooms and offices—hence its name. Today, it's filled with condos. Despite its current mundane usage, it's an awesome spot to go, crane your neck, and take in all the detail in the decor.

10. American Thread Building

Copy Link
260 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013

The American Thread Building was erected by the Wool Warehouse Company in 1896 and was originally known as the NY Wool Exchange. It reaches 11 stories, is decked out in a Renaissance Revival style, and was designed by William B Tubby. The building has a "tripartite" concept, which means it is divided into a base, middle, and crown. The different parts are distinguished by their composition; note how the two-floor base made mostly of limestone contrasts with the darker bricks of the middle part. The site wasn't dubbed the American Thread Building until Wool Warehouse and its supporting bank went under in 1898.

11. 285 West Broadway

Copy Link
285 W Broadway
New York, NY 10013

Sure, Tribeca has a ton of appealing buildings, but the intricate carvings make 285 West Broadway a truly stunning building to go see. It was completed in 1898 by brothers Herman and Simon Rawitzer, who had grown wealthy from their wool and rags stock company. The architects at Brunner and Tryon designed the structure. Because of its original owners, 285 West Broadway was known as Rawitzer Building for a while. Today it's, of course, housing, as well as commercial space for several bars and restaurants.

12. Tribeca Tower

Copy Link
105 Duane St
New York, NY 10007
(212) 346-7900
Visit Website

Just in case all the turn-of-the-century buildings are getting a little old (get it?), here's a modern one to mix things up. Completed in 1991 and designed by SLCE, the Tribeca Tower stands at 52 floors and is the most statuesque building on Duane Street. It's also, notably, not among the ranks of condo buildings totally encased in glass, so that's nice. And unlike more contemporary buildings with completely smooth facades, Tribeca Tower has geometric shapes and columns of interest. (NB: Its height means it's definitely a neck-breaker. It was a struggle to get as many floors as possible in one picture.)

13. Powell Building

Copy Link
105 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10013

This building's history is pretty sweet, literally—it was designed by Carrere & Hastings in 1892 for chocolatier Walter Baker. (Carrere & Hastings are the same guys behind the main branch of the New York Public Library on 42nd Street.) It's made in the favored Renaissance Revival style of the late 1800s with terra cotta and brick. It was enlarged with four additional floors in 1905 by a candy manufacturer and has since been converted to residential use. The varied window designs and other ornamentation make the Powell Building fun to look at. Though it is no longer a cubbyhole for confectionery companies, it's still a pretty great place to live in or visit.

14. Cosmopolitan Hotel

Copy Link
95 West Broadway
New York, NY 10007

The Cosmopolitan Hotelis apparently one of NYC's longest-operating hotels. Constructed in 1838 in a Gothic Revival style, it was known as the Girard House. It was expanded in 1869 and renamed to its current name. It was one of the most elaborate hotels of its day and had New Orleans-style balconies. It was also one of the first hotels to have telephones in guest rooms and elevators. During the height of its popularity, the Cosmopolitan Hotel sheltered miners during the Gold Rush as well as esteemed city politicians... and rumor has it Abe Lincoln himself shacked up there for a bit around the time of his Cooper Union speech. Today, it's a stomping ground for budget-conscious tourists who want to stay in a lively downtown neighborhood neighborhood and in a building with colorful history. Its simple Italianate style building isn't as ornate as other Italian Revival structures near it, but the contrasting colors and neat history make it just as if not more intriguing.

15. 55 White Street

Copy Link
55 White Street
New York, NY 10013

This building is as pristine and white as the name of the street it's on. 55 White Street is literally a building away from the Civic Center Synagogue, yet the contrast in architectural styles could not be more marked. 55 White is perched on a small street along other beautiful structures with arched window frames. It was constructed in 1861 with the ever-popular cast iron facade and Corinthian columns of the mid-1800s. It fell into decay in the 1990s after a loft conversion and renovation went haywire. But this story has a happy ending: was restored in 2010 to its original splendor. It's worth making the trek to find it.

Loading comments...

1. New York Mercantile Exchange Building

6 Harrison Street, New York, NY 10013

This gabled and towered brick building has been standing in Tribeca since 1886. 6 Harrison Street was designed by Thomas R. Jackson in a Queen Anne style, and it cost $400,000 to complete. It came about from an agreement over different exchanges of products such as produce and eggs; many trades united under one roof, hence the name. Today it holds office space as well as condos.

6 Harrison Street
New York, NY 10013

2. 8 Thomas Street

8 Thomas Street, New York, NY 10007

Despite being sandwiched between unremarkable structures, this adorably ornate building stands out. It has cast iron on the bottom and is decorated with fanciful brickwork on the rest of the floors. It was designed by Jarvis Morgan Slade, completed in 1875, and is, in official parlance, in the "Ruskinian High Victorian Gothic style."

8 Thomas Street
New York, NY 10007

3. Civic Center Synagogue

49 White St, New York, NY 10013

And now for a more modern specimen. This unlikely place of worship is covered in a swooping concrete shell and really stands out on White Street alongside the Victorian row houses. The multi-functional synagogue is meant to be flame-shaped. It was designed by William N Berger and completed in 1967.

49 White St
New York, NY 10013

4. One York Street

53 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013

Glitzy and glassy like many other new condo projects in NYC, One York Street Condos stands out, perched over a wider brick building. It also shines (literally) among the backdrop of the more classic buildings in the historic neighborhood. This condo castle was designed by starchitect Enrique Norten of TEN Arquitectos. It's complete with amenities a pool deck and gym.

53 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10013

5. The Cary Building

105-107 Chambers Street, New York, NY 10007

The Cary Building, perched on the corner of Chambers and Church, was constructed in 1857 by William H. Cary of the Cary, Howard, and Sanger dry goods firm. Despite being dwarfed by sky-high towers today, this cast iron building was once the tallest one on the block. The Italian Revival ornamented building is another structure that started out as commercial but is now residential. It was designated as a landmark in 1980 and despite some wear and tear, it's still worth a look.

105-107 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007

6. 122 Chambers Street

122 Chambers Street, New York, NY 10007

Also known as 52 Warren Street, 122 Chambers and all the other houses near it didn't appear on the city map until the late 1800s. Like many buldings around it, 122 Chambers is decked out in the elaborate Italian Renaissance Revival style, hence the ornamentation on the windows and the wrought iron. And also like its neighbors, if there was ever a commercial space in it, it mostly dealt with dry goods, And, again, like oh-so-many Tribeca buildings, 122 Chambers is currently a residential building.

122 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007

7. 443 Greenwich Street

443 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10013

This longtime book bindery was constructed in 1883 and designed by Charles C. Haight as a warehouse. The landmark has been home to several manufacturing companies and even a publishing house during the early 2000s. And now it's going to house... housing units, naturally. To be precise, 54 apartments and eight penthouses. Apart from the perks many condo owners will expect after the conversion, there will also be a ton of architectural charm remaining, thanks to the wrought-iron gates and a rare central courtyard.

443 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013

8. Hook and Ladder 8 (From Ghostbusters)

14 North Moore Street, New York, NY 10013

Yes, this is the one and only Hook and Ladder 8, the famous headquarters of Ghostbusters (1984). But before busting supernatural spooks, H&L 8 was over on Franklin Street. In 1904, after the five boroughs consolidated into New York City and the fire department was reorganized, the "Sinking Funds Commission" considered a new location. It was designed by the fire department's in-house architect, Alexander H. Stevens. He was the department's “Superintendent of Buildings.” He definitely had an eye for detail; the truck entrances are in a Baroque style and covered in brick and limestone framing. For decades #8 was distinguished for their constant bravery. In the early 1900s, the building was chopped in half to decrease the cost to the fire department. Today, firemen still get to work inside, and there's a constant stream of tourists taking pictures of the enthralling architecture, and, of course, Ghostbusters fans trying to get a glimpse of what they saw in the movies in real life.

14 North Moore Street
New York, NY 10013

9. Textile Building

66 Leonard St, New York, NY 10013

This turn-of-the-century building (1901) stands among several neo-Renaissance-style buildings in Tribeca. It's adorned with brick arches around the windows, and cartouche-like carvings at either end of its facade. Designed by Henry J Hardenburg, the building originally held textile showrooms and offices—hence its name. Today, it's filled with condos. Despite its current mundane usage, it's an awesome spot to go, crane your neck, and take in all the detail in the decor.

66 Leonard St
New York, NY 10013

10. American Thread Building

260 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

The American Thread Building was erected by the Wool Warehouse Company in 1896 and was originally known as the NY Wool Exchange. It reaches 11 stories, is decked out in a Renaissance Revival style, and was designed by William B Tubby. The building has a "tripartite" concept, which means it is divided into a base, middle, and crown. The different parts are distinguished by their composition; note how the two-floor base made mostly of limestone contrasts with the darker bricks of the middle part. The site wasn't dubbed the American Thread Building until Wool Warehouse and its supporting bank went under in 1898.

260 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013

11. 285 West Broadway

285 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013

Sure, Tribeca has a ton of appealing buildings, but the intricate carvings make 285 West Broadway a truly stunning building to go see. It was completed in 1898 by brothers Herman and Simon Rawitzer, who had grown wealthy from their wool and rags stock company. The architects at Brunner and Tryon designed the structure. Because of its original owners, 285 West Broadway was known as Rawitzer Building for a while. Today it's, of course, housing, as well as commercial space for several bars and restaurants.

285 W Broadway
New York, NY 10013

12. Tribeca Tower

105 Duane St, New York, NY 10007

Just in case all the turn-of-the-century buildings are getting a little old (get it?), here's a modern one to mix things up. Completed in 1991 and designed by SLCE, the Tribeca Tower stands at 52 floors and is the most statuesque building on Duane Street. It's also, notably, not among the ranks of condo buildings totally encased in glass, so that's nice. And unlike more contemporary buildings with completely smooth facades, Tribeca Tower has geometric shapes and columns of interest. (NB: Its height means it's definitely a neck-breaker. It was a struggle to get as many floors as possible in one picture.)

105 Duane St
New York, NY 10007

13. Powell Building

105 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013

This building's history is pretty sweet, literally—it was designed by Carrere & Hastings in 1892 for chocolatier Walter Baker. (Carrere & Hastings are the same guys behind the main branch of the New York Public Library on 42nd Street.) It's made in the favored Renaissance Revival style of the late 1800s with terra cotta and brick. It was enlarged with four additional floors in 1905 by a candy manufacturer and has since been converted to residential use. The varied window designs and other ornamentation make the Powell Building fun to look at. Though it is no longer a cubbyhole for confectionery companies, it's still a pretty great place to live in or visit.

105 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10013

14. Cosmopolitan Hotel

95 West Broadway, New York, NY 10007

The Cosmopolitan Hotelis apparently one of NYC's longest-operating hotels. Constructed in 1838 in a Gothic Revival style, it was known as the Girard House. It was expanded in 1869 and renamed to its current name. It was one of the most elaborate hotels of its day and had New Orleans-style balconies. It was also one of the first hotels to have telephones in guest rooms and elevators. During the height of its popularity, the Cosmopolitan Hotel sheltered miners during the Gold Rush as well as esteemed city politicians... and rumor has it Abe Lincoln himself shacked up there for a bit around the time of his Cooper Union speech. Today, it's a stomping ground for budget-conscious tourists who want to stay in a lively downtown neighborhood neighborhood and in a building with colorful history. Its simple Italianate style building isn't as ornate as other Italian Revival structures near it, but the contrasting colors and neat history make it just as if not more intriguing.

95 West Broadway
New York, NY 10007

15. 55 White Street

55 White Street, New York, NY 10013

This building is as pristine and white as the name of the street it's on. 55 White Street is literally a building away from the Civic Center Synagogue, yet the contrast in architectural styles could not be more marked. 55 White is perched on a small street along other beautiful structures with arched window frames. It was constructed in 1861 with the ever-popular cast iron facade and Corinthian columns of the mid-1800s. It fell into decay in the 1990s after a loft conversion and renovation went haywire. But this story has a happy ending: was restored in 2010 to its original splendor. It's worth making the trek to find it.

55 White Street
New York, NY 10013