195 Broadway

Last updated

195 Broadway
195 Bwy south sun jeh.jpg
Alternative namesAmerican Telephone & Telegraph Company Building, Western Union Building
General information
StatusCommercial Real Estate (Main Tenant: Thomson Reuters)
TypeCorporate headquarters
Architectural style Neoclassical
Address195-207 Broadway
Town or city Financial District, Manhattan, New York City, New York
Country United States
Coordinates 40°42′40″N74°00′33″W / 40.7111°N 74.0093°W / 40.7111; -74.0093 Coordinates: 40°42′40″N74°00′33″W / 40.7111°N 74.0093°W / 40.7111; -74.0093
Construction started1912
OwnerL&L Holding Company
Tip422 feet (129 m)
Roof398 feet (121 m)
Technical details
Floor count29
Design and construction
Architect William Welles Bosworth
DesignatedJuly 25, 2006
Reference no. LP-2194
[1] [2]

195 Broadway is a 29-story building on Broadway in the Financial District of the New York City borough of Manhattan. It was the longtime headquarters of American Telephone and Telegraph, as well as Western Union for a time. It occupies almost an entire block on one side of Broadway, running from Dey Street to Fulton Street. It also has the address 15 Dey Street, and is well known as the site of one end of the first transcontinental telephone call. The same building, using the "195 Broadway" address, was the New York end of the first intercity Picturephone call in 1927 [3] and of the first transatlantic telephone call, made to London, England, also in 1927. [4]

Broadway (Manhattan) Avenue in New York

Broadway is a road in the U.S. state of New York. Broadway runs from State Street at Bowling Green for 13 mi (21 km) through the borough of Manhattan and 2 mi (3.2 km) through the Bronx, exiting north from the city to run an additional 18 mi (29 km) through the municipalities of Yonkers, Hastings-On-Hudson, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington, and Tarrytown, and terminating north of Sleepy Hollow in Westchester County.

Financial District, Manhattan Neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City

The Financial District of Lower Manhattan, also known as FiDi, is a neighborhood located on the southern tip of Manhattan island in New York City. It is bounded by the West Side Highway on the west, Chambers Street and City Hall Park on the north, Brooklyn Bridge on the northeast, the East River to the southeast, and The Battery on the south.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.


195 Broadway is also known as the Telephone Building,Telegraph Building, or Western Union Building, due to its history. The building is still in use. The building includes an entrance to the Fulton Street station on the New York City Subway's IRT Lexington Avenue Line ( 4 and 5 trains).

New York City Subway Rapid transit system in New York City

The New York City Subway is a rapid transit system owned by the City of New York and leased to the New York City Transit Authority, a subsidiary agency of the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). Opened in 1904, the New York City Subway is one of the world's oldest public transit systems, one of the most-used, and the one with the most stations. The New York City Subway is the largest rapid transit system in the world by number of stations, with 472 stations in operation. Stations are located throughout the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.

The IRT Lexington Avenue Line is one of the lines of the A Division of the New York City Subway, stretching from Lower Manhattan north to 125th Street in East Harlem. The line is served by the 4, ​5, ​6, and <6> trains.

4 (New York City Subway service) New York City Subway service

The 4 Lexington Avenue Express is a rapid transit service in the A Division of the New York City Subway. Its route emblem, or "bullet", is colored forest green since it uses the IRT Lexington Avenue Line in Manhattan.

Planning and construction

195 Broadway, left center 0311New York City.JPG
195 Broadway, left center

From 1885 to 1910, AT&T was headquartered at 125 Milk Street in Boston. [5]

The building at 195 Broadway was constructed under the leadership of AT&T's president Theodore Newton Vail, who had taken the AT&T helm in 1907 and added the same title at Western Union in 1909 when that firm was purchased by AT&T. In 1912, Vail developed a two-phase plan for a 29-story headquarters building that would be constructed on Broadway on the block stretching from Dey Street to Fulton Street. The plan entailed constructing one wing on the Dey Street corner, followed by the second wing on the Fulton Street corner.

Theodore Newton Vail United States industrialist

Theodore Newton Vail was president of American Telephone & Telegraph between 1885 and 1889, and again from 1907 to 1919. Vail saw telephone service as a public utility and moved to consolidate telephone networks under the Bell system. In 1913 he oversaw the Kingsbury Commitment that led to a more open system for connection.

The Western Union Company is an American worldwide financial services and communications company. Its headquarters is in Denver, Colorado. Up until it discontinued the service in 2006, Western Union was globally the best-known American company in the business of exchanging telegrams.

Fulton Street (Manhattan) Street in Manhattan, New York

Fulton Street is a busy street located in Lower Manhattan in New York City. Located in the Financial District, a few blocks north of Wall Street, it runs from Church Street at the site of the World Trade Center to South Street, terminating in front of the South Street Seaport. The easternmost block is a pedestrian street. After the World Trade Center construction is completed, it will extend to West Street.

The first portion of the building, the Dey Street wing completed in 1916, was an L-shaped structure at the corner of Dey Street and Broadway with an extension reaching Fulton Street. [4]

William W. Bosworth, the architect who designed the John D. Rockefeller estate at Kykuit, was commissioned to create the Fulton Street wing of the building. Bosworth's designed featured layers of gray granite columns in Doric and Ionic styles, and a lobby that included 43 oversized Doric columns made of marble.

William W. Bosworth American architect

William Welles Bosworth was an American architect whose most famous designs include MIT's Cambridge campus, the AT&T Building in New York City, and the Theodore N. Vail mansion in Morristown, New Jersey (1916), now the Morristown Town Hall. Bosworth was also responsible to a large degree for the architectural expression of Kykuit, the famous Rockefeller family estate in Pocantico Hills, New York, working closely with the architects William Adams Delano and Chester H. Aldrich and the interior designer, Ogden Codman.

John D. Rockefeller American business magnate and philanthropist

John Davison Rockefeller Sr. was an American business magnate and philanthropist. He is widely considered the wealthiest American of all time, and the richest person in modern history.

Kykuit United States historic place

Kykuit, known also as the John D. Rockefeller Estate, is a 40-room historic house museum in Pocantico Hills, a hamlet in the town of Mount Pleasant, New York. The house was built for oil tycoon, capitalist, and Rockefeller family patriarch John D. Rockefeller. Conceived largely by his son, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and enriched by the art collection of the third-generation scion, Governor of New York, and Vice President of the United States, Nelson Rockefeller, it was home to four generations of the family. The house is a National Historic Landmark owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and tours are given by Historic Hudson Valley.


The most famous artwork commissioned for the building was a gilded bronze sculpture originally called Genius of Telegraphy , placed atop the pyramidal roof of the tower-like west end of the Fulton Street wing of the building in 1916. The artist Evelyn Beatrice Longman created a statue depicting a 24-foot-tall (7.3 m) winged male figure on top of a globe, wrapped by cables, clutching bolts of electricity in his left hand. [6] After a court-ordered divestiture of Western Union, the statue's official title was changed to Genius of Electricity by the time it was installed. The statue was renamed again to Spirit of Communication in the 1930s, but has been better known by its nickname, Golden Boy. [4] In 1984 when AT&T moved to 550 Madison Avenue, the statue was relocated to the foyer. In 1992 AT&T moved again, and the statue went to Basking Ridge, New Jersey, and in 2005 to Dallas, Texas.

Commemorative plaque 195 Broadway plaque by Matthew Bisanz.JPG
Commemorative plaque

One of sculptor Paul Manship's earliest public works was "The Four Elements," a set of four bronze reliefs that is on the lower facade of the building. [7]

Demise as headquarters

In 1978, AT&T commissioned a new building at 550 Madison Avenue and moved. This new AT&T Building was designed by Philip Johnson and quickly became an icon of the new Postmodern architectural style. The building was completed in 1984, the very year of the Bell System divestiture. It proved to be too large for the post-divestiture corporation and in 1993, AT&T leased the building to Sony, who owned it until 2013. [8]

Current tenants

The 1987 film Wall Street used the building's ground floor lobby as Charlie Sheen's character's office.

See also

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  1. "195 Broadway". Emporis. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  2. "AMERICAN TELEPHONE & TELEGRAPH COMPANY BUILDING" (PDF). Landmarks Preservation Commission. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  3. TV History Two-Way Television by Bell Laboratories at 195 Broadway
  4. 1 2 3 Gray, Christopher. "Streetscapes/AT&T Headquarters at 195 Broadway; A Bellwether Building Where History Was Made", The New York Times , April 23, 2000. Accessed October 13, 2008.
  5. Jarzmbek, Mark. "Designing MIT: Bosworth's New Tech", UPNE, 2004, p. 161. Accessed October 13, 2004, via Google Books.
  6. Teltsch, Kathleen. "LANDMARK STATUE BEING RESTORED", August 31, 1981. Accessed October 11, 2008.
  7. Morrone, Francis. "An Icon of the City Gets an Opening", The New York Sun , November 3, 2006. Accessed October 13, 2008. "Manship's earliest public work in the city is the set of four bronze reliefs, The Four Elements, adorning the lower façade of 195 Broadway, one of the city's most beautiful skyscrapers, between Fulton and Dey streets."
  8. 550 Madison Ave.
  9. HarperCollins Lands at 195 Broadway
  10. Omnicom grows in 195 Broadway, now at 260,000 square feet
  11. Contact - Omnicom Media Group