I wonder if a cab driver, if asked to go to “New York Plaza.” would know where to take you. It’s an important route…no street sign has ever carried its name (to my recollection) yet four large Manhattan skyscrapers were located there for many years, #1 through 4 New York Plaza. All are on Water Street between Whitehall and Broad. The three buildings have since been re-addressed for the streets where they’re located.
I have something of an affinity for #4 New York Plaza, or #25 Water, as it is now known. It was built from 1968-1969, designed by architects Carson Lundin & Shaw, and is one of the Brutalist buildings that for me has some esthetic value. I didn’t realize it before but as Ephemeral New York points out, it appears to have been designed to resemble a punch card, which stored data on the room-size computers in use in 1968.
I also have some attraction to the building because my mother worked here. She was an employee of Manufacturers Hanover Trust, now JP Morgan Chase, which was the building’s main tenant. Before MHT moved here, they occupied offices at #75 Broad, just south of Beaver. My mother passed away in 1974, and to this day I do not know exactly what she did for MHT as one of the office jockeys, but I do know she worked partial hours as she arrived home around 3 PM every day. It was her mother, my grandmother Bridget, who got me cleaned and dressed every day for school, which was two blocks away: therefore I headed home for lunch and then back to school. In addition, the old man sometimes had a weekend schedule at Stuyvesant Town, so he’d be off Wednesday and Thursday and did the honors on those days. Occasionally the old man and I would head to Water Street to meet my mother for lunch; no doubt I was wide-eyed at all the hustle, bustle and tall buildings.
Funny how Brutalist downtown buildings spark memories of childhood.
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