Last spring I noted here that, from the Brooklyn side, the Woolworth Building would soon be eclipsed by Frank Gehry’s rapidly rising, aluminum-clad Beekman Tower. Then things got a little tense when the economy bottomed out and rumors were afloat that the building would be capped at roughly half its projected 76-story height. It would have looked like a late-breaking, tin-foiled addition to Southbridge Towers, a sad little monument to the recession. And as much as I worried that the original design looked like something ready-made for the next Spidey sequel, I cringed at the thought of a little Manhattan twin for that nasty tin-foil building on the DUMBO side of the Manhattan Bridge.

But soon enough, the cranes got higher and floors started piling up once again, and the other morning on my bridge run I noticed that Woolworth had officially vanished as far as Brooklyn is concerned — for the first time in almost a century.



Compare with this romantic 1927 image, a favorite of ours from the Czech painter T. F. Simon:


A small compensation, as I anticipated in my earlier post: For Bridge runners and other pedestrians heading to Manhattan (and maybe even for motorists), something surprising happens as you approach Pace University. Suddenly the grand old Woolworth pops out from behind the silver rocketship. I imagine this little game of peek-a-boo will be especially effective at night, when Woolworth looks its best.

Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the start of construction on Woolworth. It was completed in 1913. Check out this terrific Flickr set of the building going up, courtesy NYPL.