For weeks I’ve been meaning to take a camera out on the Brooklyn Bridge and snap a couple shots of something I’ve noticed on my morning bridge runs: The Woolworth Building is gradually being eclipsed by Frank Gehry’s new Beekman Tower. Soon Woolworth’s gothic spire will be no longer visible from most spots on the Bridge, for the first time in its almost 100 years of existence.

See what I mean?


The eclipse effect gets worse as you approach:

DSC00648.jpgRight now the Beekman Tower is, I’m guessing, only about half as tall as it will eventually be. When completed, it will be the tallest building downtown, 76 stories encased in shimmery silver skin. One rendering looking west (note the dwarfed Woolworth):

2369_1_Beekman 1big.jpgAnd another looking south:

beekman.jpgIt’s been a while since anything this dramatic — building-wise, anyway — happened to the lower Manhattan skyline. I can’t help but feel a little sad for Woolworth, which has enjoyed renewed prominence in the downtown skyline since the Twin Towers, which overshadowed it for the last quarter of the last century, were destroyed.

Given that they roughly shared a birthdate (and were both enabled, probably, by the same advances in steel technology), I’ve always thought of Woolworth as the spiritual sibling of the Titanic.

If there’s any silver lining (er, sorry) to this story, it’s that once the new tower is completed, walkers crossing the Bridge toward Manhattan will reach a point, during the descent toward City Hall, at which Woolworth will spring out from behind the silver behemoth quite dramatically:

DSC00646.jpgMore on Woolworth, the “Cathedral of Commerce,” here and here. More on Beekman Tower in this glowing Times preview and in Curbed’s ongoing coverage.