Karrie Jacobs


October 18, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Has Accomplished At Least One Thing

Hostile Woolworth Building sign in its customary location, guarding the building’s Broadway entrance.

Above is the sign that used to stand at the Broadway entrance to the landmark Woolworth Building. I noticed it back in September when I attended an office warming party for architect Jim Biber who now works out of a creamy white minimalist space on the building’s 20th floor.  The party was great, but I thought the sign was obnoxious.  I find it sad that the ornate lobbies of lower Manhattan’s historic office towers have been lost to the public, pretty much since 9-11.

A few days ago, I ran into Biber at another party and he told me a story about leaving his office with some friends.  As they strolled out of the elevators and sauntered through the lobby,  he was pointing out  his favorite gargoyles.  “There’s Cass Gilbert…” he was saying when a guard yelled, “No unauthorized tours!”

Yesterday, I was walking down Broadway toward the new white hot center of the universe, Zuccotti Park and I noticed, as I passed the Woolworth Building, that the sign was gone.  Wow, I thought, maybe they’ve loosened up a little.  Maybe they’ve realized how wrong it is to keep the public out.  Then, while zig-zagging through the cacophonous jumble of  occupied Zuccotti Park, I discovered that the sign had been, um, liberated.  See below:

Hostile Woolworth Building sign in its new location in Zuccotti Park, somewhat out of focus.