The beetling, discomfiting and windowless AT&T Long Lines Building looms over tiny Trimble Place looking north. The building is a telephone exchange or wire center building which contains three major 4ESS switches used for interexchange (long distance) telephony, two owned by AT&Tand one owned by Verizon. The building is said to have the largest blank wall in America, and is also thought to be able to survive two weeks of nuclear fallout.
The New York Times remarked that it “blended into its surroundings more gracefully” than any building nearby. There must have been some prime weed in the Times’ bathrooms at the time. This is the ugliest work of architecture in NYC not featuring Fedders or Friedrich air conditioners and concrete lawns.
Trimble Place, a very short, one-block lane in Tribeca, between Duane and Thomas just east of Church, is the only remnant of New York Hospital’s former downtown location. Now New York-Presbyterian, located in Washington Heights near the George Washington Bridge, NYH was chartered by King George III in 1771 and opened in 1791, after US independence had been won. The hospital pioneered the treatment, by surgeon Wright Post, of aneurysms and other arterial problems in its early days. Post’s work in vascular ailments was carried on by Valentine Mott.
Above: Dripps atlas section, 1867, showing the New York Hospital campus.
The new Trimble Place, 1883 map
NYH outgrew its original location by the early 1870s and then moved uptown, but one of its carriage lanes was left over and became a mapped public street in 1874. It was named for George Trimble, director of New York Hospital at the time, and an officer of the Public School Society and local merchant.
Looking south from Thomas Street. Trimble Place is short enough that is has no lamppost to call its own, but supports only northbound one-way traffic.
The back door of the State Insurance Fund building, fronted on Church Street, empties onto Trimble Place.
At Duane Street, Trimble Place meets some storefronts as the peak of the new #1 World Trade Center peeps over their rooves.
On the corner of Thomas and Trimble is the Vincent D. McDonnell Building, honoring, as the plaque says, McDonnell’s “unselfish and tireless efforts on behalf of the NYC Detectives’ Endowment Assn. Inc.”