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New Era Building (New York City)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

New Era Building
New Era Bldg 495 Broadway 1.jpg
New Era Building (center) in 2011
General information
Architectural styleArt Nouveau
Location495 Broadway
Manhattan, New York City, New York
Height116 feet (35 m)
Technical details
Floor count8
Detail of copper-front mansard roof and sixth-story iron ornamentation
Detail of copper-front mansard roof and sixth-story iron ornamentation

The New Era Building is an 1893 Art Nouveau commercial loft building at 495 Broadway, between Spring Street and Broome Street, in the SoHo section of Manhattan in New York City.


The eight-story brick and masonry building has been described as a "gem" and a gorgeous example of Art Nouveau architecture.[2] Eschewing the then-popular Beaux Arts style, this is one of the few and possibly the earliest Art Nouveau building in Manhattan still standing.[3] Four squat rounded Doric columns seem to support five stories with three vertical rows of large windows separated by brickwork and iron ornamentation, culminating in three large arches at the sixth floor. This is topped with a two-story copper fronted mansard roof, now coated with verdigris, reminiscent of Parisian architecture.[4][5] The 90,000-square-foot (8,400 m2) building is served by a freight elevator and two passenger elevators. Average floor size is 10,000 square feet (930 m2).[6] The building goes through the block west of Broadway so that it also fronts on Mercer Street, which is parallel to Broadway.

Sources differ as to the architect, developer, and year of construction. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, in its 1973 report on the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District, says the building, at 495 Broadway, was designed by Alfred Zucker for Augustus D. Juilliard and was completed in 1893. Several other sources shown below say the building was designed by Buchman & Deisler for Jeremiah C. Lyons, who had previously developed real estate in other areas of Manhattan, and was completed in 1897. However, many of these same sources mistakenly show the address as 491 Broadway. The Landmarks Preservation Commission says 491 Broadway, the somewhat thinner 12-story building adjacent to the south of the New Era Building, is the 1897 Buchman & Deisler building.


Although its lofts were originally intended for the New Era Printing Company,[7] the building was soon occupied by an office of the Butler Brothers company, an early mail-order business that had 100,000 customers at the time they moved in. Later, in 1927, they began franchising the Ben Franklin Stores.[8]

At the time this building opened, fashionable retail businesses were already moving further uptown. Soon the area was home to businesses such as manufacturers and waste paper dealers.[2]

On December 29, 1927, a fire in the building caused a million dollars worth of damage. It burned for two hours before being noticed and causing the partial collapse of eight floors[9] toward the rear, or Mercer Street side, of the building. The fire began among some crates in the company's basement shipping room. The collapse was caused when three unprotected hollow cast iron support columns 14-inch (36 cm) in diameter buckled because of excessive heat, bringing down the eight stories above. Fire-resistant insulation might have prevented the collapse.[10]

As of 2011, tenants included a clothing retailer, fashion consultants, a publisher, a golf and fitness club,[6] a retail drug store, and the Swiss Institute.

The Swiss Institute Contemporary Art New York occupied the third floor loft from 1994 until 2011.[11] In September 2011 the institute moved to 18 Wooster Street, nearby.


  1. ^ "New Era Building". Emporis.
  2. ^ a b Brockmann, Jorg; Harris, Bill (2011). Five Hundred Buildings of New York. Hachette Books. p. 568. ISBN 978-1-60376-266-3. Retrieved 2017-11-16.
  3. ^ Morrone, Francis; Iska, James (September 2009). Architectural Guidebook to New York City. Gibbs Smith. p. 68. ISBN 978-1-4236-1116-5.
  4. ^ Alejandro Bahamón; Agata Losantos (2008). New York: A Historical Atlas of Architecture. Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers. p. 20. ISBN 978-1-57912-786-2.
  5. ^ White, Norval; Willensky, Elliot & Leadon, Fran (2010). AIA Guide to New York City (5th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-19538-386-7.
  6. ^ a b Metro Manhattan Office Space, accessed July 22, 2011
  7. ^ Greene, Liza M. (2001). New York for New Yorkers: A Historical Treasury and Guide to the Buildings and Monuments of Manhattan. W.W. Norton. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-393-02006-9. Retrieved 2017-11-16.
  8. ^ Daytonian in Manhattan blog, accessed July 21, 2011
  9. ^ "70 FIREMEN ESCAPE TUMBLING DEBRIS; Sections of Eight Floors Fall as Companies Surround Building to Enter. ESTIMATE $1,000,000 LOSS Butler Brothers' Structure at 495 Broadway Burns Two Hours Before Smoke Is Seen" (PDF). The New York Times. 1927-12-30. Retrieved 2017-11-16.
  10. ^ "Killing Fires High in the Air", Popular Science Monthly, December 1928, p. 50
  11. ^ History and Mission, The Swiss Institute, accessed July 25, 2011

External links

This page was last edited on 2 January 2022, at 21:06
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