This 1917 terra cotta-clad structure, the tallest in the world for a decade, was the epitome of tall building technology for its time, but look ... it still has ... awnings! Much is made of the architect Case Gilbert's neo-Gothic "Cathedral of Commerce," but its the building really such a masterpiece? What else might another architect have done? This does not depart so far from the norm—would any building of this height on this site not be so canonized?
As a counterpoint in architect taste, the General Post Office at lower left (just beyond the cupola of City Hall) was magnificent when it was built in the 1870s, but considered an excrescence by the early twentieth century, in part for distracting from the supposed pristine verdure of City Hall Park. The Post Office got its comeuppance in 1939 when it was demolished—but would its destruction have generated protests in our own time?
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