A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 28, 2004
Cathedral of Commerce (Woolworth Building)
Before there was a World Trade Center, there was a Cathedral of Commerce. This was the Woolworth Building - the world's tallest when built.

It is said that the Reverend S. Parkes Cadman dedicated the Woolworth Building as a "cathedral of commerce" at its official opening on April 23, 1913.


Wikipedia: Woolworth Building
The Woolworth Building, at 233 Broadway, Manhattan, New York City, designed by architect Cass Gilbert and completed in 1913, is an early US skyscraper. The original site for the building was purchased by F. W. Woolworth and his real estate agent Edward J. Hogan by April 15, 1910, from the Trenor Luther Park Estate and other owners for $1.65 million. By January 18, 1911, Woolworth and Hogan had acquired the final site for the project, totaling $4.5 million. More than a century after the start of its construction, it remains, at 241.4 meters (792 ft), one of the fifty tallest buildings in the United States as well as one of the twenty tallest buildings in New York City. It has been a National Historic Landmark since 1966, and a New York City landmark since 1983.

27 April 1913, New York (NY) Times, pg. SM12:
"I (Englishman Alan Francis -- ed.) shall never forget my first glimpse of your Woolworth Building. You pay small attention to it. Were it in London, London would be gaping at it for ten years to come: all Europe would be raving over it. How shall I describe its strong effect on me? Perhaps the phrase which best expresses it is that it appears to me to be a cathedral of commerce."

17 October 1922, Washington (DC) Post, pg. 16:
A most remarkable photograph is this low altitude aerial view of New York's great Gothic cathedral of commerce towering into the clouds. This view of the Woolworth building illustrates a contrast of engineering a half century ago and today

26 October 1924, New York (NY) Times, pg. E6:
A NEW WORLD CATHEDRAL.
When Cardinal MERCIER, coming up the bay some years ago, saw for the first time the Woolworth Building, it is said that he thought it to be a cathedral tower giving to all the other towers and tall buildings a spiritual summit. When he came ashore he saw that it was a mighty cathedral of commerce, towering hundreds of feet above the spires of Trinity and St. Paul's, that once dominated the lower end of the island.

YouTube
Who Coined the Phrase "Cathedral of Commerce" to Describe the Woolworth Building?
NYC Media
Uploaded on Jan 12, 2012
The New-York Historical Society and NYC Media, the official network of the City of New York, have partnered to produce a special series of one minute videos that feature the staff of the New York Historical Society as they answer some of the most captivating questions ever posed to them about the City's fascinating and unique history.

Who Coined the Phrase "Cathedral of Commerce" to Describe the Woolworth Building?
Credit is generally given to Samuel Parkes Cadman, a Brooklyn Congregational minister and the first great "radio pastor" (memorialized in Brooklyn's Cadman Plaza Park). However, Cadman was not the first person to use this phrase. A visiting Londoner named Alan Francis described the Woolworth Building as a "cathedral of commerce" several years before Cadman in a New York Times article.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBuildings/Housing/Parks • Sunday, November 28, 2004 • Permalink