New York Architecture Images-Greenwich Village

Hemmerdinger Hall
New York University Main Building


Alfred Zucker


100 Washington Square






Built to replace NYU's original Main Building--Town, Davis & Dakin's Gothic Revival structure constructed in 1837--this light brick, stone and terra-cotta edifice housed the schools of commerce, law and pedagogy as well as the offices of the American Book Company. This combination of institutional and commercial tenants is apparent in the building's tripartite facade design. The presence of the University on the three top floors is marked by engaged Ionic columns capped by pediments. In 1927, due to the pressures of a growing post-war student body, NYU took over the entire building. Main Building became the home of NYU's Washington Square College until the University returned to Washington Square after giving up its second Bronx Campus in 1972. Zucker was a German born and trained architect. Ironically, nine other university buildings designed by Zucker were built in this formerly commercial area, as lofts and wholesale stores, only to be taken over later by NYU as its institutional functions increased.
NYU's Main Building. Built 1895; first seven floors originally housed the American Bank Note Co.

Building replaced NYU's Old Main, a gothic tower completed in 1835; the use of prison labor from Sing-Sing sparked the Stonecutter's Riot in 1834, the first labor riot in NYC. In the old building, Samuel Colt developed the revolver and Samuel Morse invented the telegraph; John William Draper in 1840 took one of the first photographs of a person on the roof. Walt Whitman taught poetry here, Winslow Homer painted here, and architects Alexander Jackson Davis and Richard Morris Hunt had offices here. Despite this incredible history, NYU tore down the building because it decided it could make more money with a new building whose ground floor could be rented to a bank