Just outside the turnstiles in the concourse of the 14th Street station on the IND 8th Avenue line (A, C, E trains) there’s a handsomely lettered sign in the black and gold signage that marks the rest of the station, with the addition of a red arrow. It points to the Port Authority Building (111 8th Avenue) which is no longer occupied by the agency.
111 8th avenue is one of the few NYC buildings that take up an entire square block: between 8th and 9th Avenue and West 15th and 16th Streets. It’s an Art Moderne classic constructed in 1932 and designed by Lusby Simpson of Abbott, Merkt & Co. as the Port Authority Commerce Building. It was a multi-use building designed to be used as a trucking terminal and also to handle exhibitions and manufacturing.
At its peak in the 1930s the Port Authority serviced 8000 tons of goods in the building and as many as 650 trucks passed into the building daily. The building has 15 floors the size of football fields.
As less shipping took place on the Manhattan side of the Hudson River the building lessened in importance, but it did serve as Port Authority headquarters from 1947 to 1980. For about a decade beginning in 1998 Taconic Investment Partners owned the building and used it as a data center during the internet boom.
In 2010 the building was acquired by internet giant Google, which installed large white logos on the 8th and 9th Avenue sides. However, Art Deco details in gold finish at the building’s entrances have remained intact.