I was taken aback just a bit when getting off the A train at Canal Street recently. It happens to be one of those stops that exits into a building lobby or a concourse between buildings (as the B/D/F/M stops near Rockefeller center do). I found myself in the vast lobby belonging to what is presently called the Verizon Building at 32 6th Avenue at Walker, a large Art Deco tower.
The building began construction in 1918, long before 6th Avenue was extended south to accompany the IND Subway. It began as a New York telephone office facing on Walker Street, and was expanded vastly between 1930-1932 by the same architects that had assisted on its construction with lead architect Cyrus Eidlitz, Voorhies and Gmelin; the expansion gave it the Art Deco appointments seen today.
When at the top of the steps I was greeted by a large mosaic mural showing the world’s continents and oceans, with the slogan. “Telephone wires and radio unite to make neighbors of nations.”
The front desk is guarded amply, and I was afraid of being bumrushed if I started pointing the camera, so I’m relying on this shot of the rest of the lobby by Metropolis magazine. Eyes can be feasted on the still-existing Deco ornamentation as well as the ceiling murals, with the ceiling is decorated with allegorical figures of four continents, linked by golden telephone lines. Each mural was the work of Hildreth Meière, who also supplied murals to St. Bartholomew Church and Radio City Music Hall in midtown.
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