It’s amazing how you can work in an area for years and never notice something interesting in architecture or infrastructure. That’s the case here at 130 West 30th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. I have worked in the area repeatedly, at a type shop on 29th Street between 1988 and 1991, at Macy’s from 2000-2004, and other gigs such as a typesetter at the long-gone Center for the Media Arts after I finished my 18-month program at the trade school in 1991.
There are two picturesque terra cotta friezes above the two doorways, depicting a pair of charioteers hunting a deer, with stylized lions flanking the scene. The building is a 1928 loft constructed for a fur merchant, Salomon J. Manne, whose initials are also seen above the doorway. In 2004, the building was renamed for its architect, Cass Gilbert (1859-1934) when the loft was converted to condominiums.
This was among the last commissions for the great architect, whose previous works include the US Customs House at Bowling Green, the stations for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad in the Bronx that are sadly in ruins, and what many consider his masterwork, the Woolworth Building, the so-called Cathedral of Commerce, in 1913. Unfortunately, lobby access is severely limited and tour groups sell access for exorbitant prices. Gilbert also designed the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park and the New York Life Building at Madison Square.
Photo: Robert Mulero