cunard3.jpg (18832 bytes) New York Architecture Images- Lower Manhattan



Benjamin Wistar Morris, architect; Carrere & Hastings, consulting architects


25 Broadway on Bowling Green.  




Renaissance Revival




Office Building



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When you enter the Cunard Building at 25 Broadway, you'll find it awash in things marine: starfish, seahorses, shells, sirens, an albatross, and the vessels of Columbus and others. All are celebrated in paintings, murals, and medallions.

The grandly presented theme underscores the power and reach of the Cunard Line when its new headquarters opened in 1919. It was a time when New York City also exercised great power and reach. The metropolis had become the largest city and busiest port in the world.

The Renaissance-inspired limestone exterior leads to a lavish vestibule and great hall where transatlantic voyages were booked. Legendary sea creatures still flourish and Cunard's steamship routes beckon on the walls.

Today we cross the oceans by jet, forcing Cunard to downsize and abandon 25 Broadway three decades back. In 1976 the United States Post Office leased the ornate first floor. This plebian use, fitted out in a workaday, unsympathetic manner, has at least kept the magnificent decorations on view and undamaged.


Built as a ticket office for the Cunard Passenger Ship Line, the grand interior of the Great Hall shows how the popular Beaux Art style was adapted to a new use. The architect collaborated with muralist Ezra Winter to produce a decorative program focused on shipping themes, set within a huge vaulted space that recalls Roman bath buildings. In contrast to the ceremonial Great Hall, the exterior is a simple Renaissance facade topped with a relatively undistinguished high-rise. The Great Hall was converted into a branch of the U.S. Postal Service in 1977.

Now a post office, the Cunard Line building (1919) is at 25 Broadway.  It was the Carpathia's parent company.  Cunard later merged with WSL with the former being the senior partner.

Originally Cunard Building (offices), 25 Broadway, SW cor. Morris St. 1917-1921. Benjamin Wistar Morris, architect; Carrere & Hastings, consulting architects. Great Hall: ceiling sculpture, C. Paul Jennewein; ceiling paintings, Ezra Winter; iron gates, Samuel Yellin. Interior: Conversion to post office, 1977, Handren Associates.

Accompanied by its neighbors "this Renaissance façade..surround Bowling Green with a high order of group architecture."

"What matters most at No. 25…is its great booking hall, with its elaborately decorated groined and conical vaults.  It was in this grand setting that passage on such liners as the Queen Mary and the two Queen Elizabeths was purchased."

Source: A.I.A Guide To New York City, 4th ed