60 Hudson Street


60 Hudson Street, New York

This fine photograph of New York Deco is by the architectural photographer Irving Underhill. It appeared recently in Shorpy.

Underhill was a successful New York photographer in the first half of the 20th century. You can see more of his handsome, well-crafted photographs at the Museum of the City of New York website.

The immense scale of the building against the tiny train reminds me of the 1927 film Metropolis. In fact, its director Fritz Lang was supposed to have had the inspiration for that film upon seeing the New York skyline from a ship. He wouldn’t have seen this building yet but he only missed it by a few years, it went up in 1931.

It turns out the old building is still standing and has a very modern purpose, it’s one of the main internet hubs in New York. Because of its earlier incarnation as the Western Union Telegraph Building it contained all the conduits and infrastructure to be adapted to internet cabling and switching. There’s an interesting short documentary about the building here:  Bundled, Buried & Behind Closed Doors