120 Broadway, the Equitable Building, is one of those rare NYC buildings that occupy an entire block, between Broadway and Nasssau, Pine and Cedar Streets. It was designed by architect Peirce Anderson, working for Ernest Gorham and Associates, and built between 1913 and 1915; when constucted it was the largest office building in the world, housing the offices of Equitable Life Insurance. Its great bulk, 38 stories tall with no setbacks, hindered the amount of light that could fall on its narrow surrounding streets and prompted a zoning law that required builders to narrow structures on their upper floors to allow light to seep through.
Buildings over and nearly a century old require near constant upkeep and maintenance on their exteriors, and many buildings in the Financial District have more or less permanent scaffolding over their sidewalks, or coverings that remain for several years. Because of that, a rare “original” Bishop Crook streetlamp was obscured for several years.
The Bishop Crook on the north side of Pine Street between Broadway and Nassau Street is at least 6 decades old. It was classified by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission as a Type 24A-W, meaning that the crook part of the lamp was made of wrought iron with simplified scrollwork.
Only a handful of Type 24A-W lamps are still standing, among them nearby lamps on Reade Street and City Hall Park. It has kept the sodium vapor “bucket” luminaire it received in the 1980s.
This particular lamp has the shaft ornamentation near the top of the post that is missing from other Type 24A-W models.
In any case, it’s visible to the public for the first time in years, and has recently received a black paint job at its base.