New York Architecture Images-Soho



Voorhees, Gmelin & Walker


60 Hudson St  




Art Deco  


This brick ziggurat has decoration motifs influenced by contemporary European Expressionism. The massive building housed both Western Union offices and tele-wireless equipment. 
The entrance lobby is reminiscent of a hall church with the large windows, made of smaller, diamond-shaped pieces, above the entrances. The lobby walls are of orange brickwork and the ceiling is faced with glazed tiles. 


Office Building


The Western Union Building (1930; Voorhees, Gmelin & Walker), at 60 Hudson St., is a noteworthy building by architect Ralph Walker who also designed the New York telephone Building at 140 west St. just north of the World Trade Center. When it opened, the Western Union Building housed telephone, telegraph, and ticker machinery, as well as a messenger service and classrooms where Western Union messenger boys could continue high school. Nineteen tones of brick shade the facade from deep red brown at the bottom to bright salmon at the top. Walk through the lobby to West Broadway. Finished in brown brick, with recessed lighting and geometrically patterned brickwork and marble on the floor, the lobby gloriously exemplifies Art Deco materials and techniques.

“60 Hudson St., New York City, New York" *

The Premier Communications Hub on the East Coast

"60 Hudson Street, the former Western Union headquarters, provides the ultimate example of the desirability of carrier hotel space in top markets. This building is the nerve center for international communications and is known as the most important carrier hotel in the world. The lifeblood of the Information Economy pulses through this building’s sturdy infrastructure, with fiber optic cable packing the risers. 60 Hudson Street is the home of at least sixty-five telecom companies. The 943,000 square foot facility was built between 1928 and 1930 at a cost of $ 45,000,000 which equates to $ 428,000,000 in today’s market. It initially housed seventy million feet and thirty miles of conduit. This infrastructure has been greatly expanded today.

The building has a grand history as a cornerstone in the development of America’s communications infrastructure. It was
designed by Ralph Walker for the Western Union headquarters and is part of the New York Landmark Preservation Commission. The building is ninety-eight percent leased."

Here is a brief cross section of the larger tenants at 60 Hudson today:

Qwest, Broadwing,Global Crossing, General Telecom, Cablevision Lightpath, AT&T, Worldcom, TimeWarner Telecom, Gulfnet USA, Wiltel, Primus, GTE - Verizon, Viatel Global Communications, MFN, Cable & Wireless, Intermedia Corp, Teleglobe, VarTec.

Volume 16 • Issue 29 | December 16 - 22, 2003

Neighbors raise money for diesel lawsuit

By Albert Amateau

Neighbors Against NOISE last week issued a call to about 300 Tribeca residents for contributions to fund a lawsuit to force the city’s Dept. of Buildings to prohibit the storage of diesel fuel above ground level near subway entrances or schools.

The group has been demanding for more than a year that D.O.B. crack down on the former Western Union Building at 60 Hudson St. across the street from Buckle My Shoe, a pre-school. Telecommunications firms store what is believed to be thousands of gallons of diesel fuel for emergency use in their electronic switching facilities on the upper floors of 60 Hudson St.

Norman Siegel, attorney for the neighborhood group, demanded last month that Buildings enforce the law that prohibits any above-ground diesel storage within 1,000 feet of the nearest wall of a building occupied by a school or hospital or within 1,000 feet of an entrance or exit from a tunnel for motor vehicles, subway or railroad cars.

Sixty Hudson St. is midway between the Seventh Ave. subway stations at Franklin and Chambers Sts. NOISE (Noxious Odors Incessant Sounds and Emissions) says that both the school and the subway entrances are considerably less than 1,000 feet from the building. Siegel said last week that D.O.B. did not respond to his Nov. 17 letter and he indicated that he would file the lawsuit in January.

A D.O.B. spokesperson this week said the 1,000-foot rule was part of the fire code and applied only to wholesale bulk oil storage where petroleum products are offered for sale.

“To fund the lawsuit, we need to raise $50,000 to cover legal fees, research, expert testimony and other related costs,” said Tim Lannan, president of NOISE in a Dec. 9 e-mail letter to neighbors. “We have an e-mail list of over 300,” he said in a telephone interview later.

Lannan said that the amount of diesel fuel stored on some of the upper floors of 60 Hudson St. is in excess of the amount of fuel stored at 7 World Trade Center. After the Twin Towers collapsed Sept.11, 2001, a fire, which investigators believe was spread because of the diesel, led to the collapse of 7 W.T.C. in the afternoon.

At a Tribeca forum on diesel fuel storage last June, Buildings Commissioner Patricia Lancaster acknowledged that the department was negotiating with the owners of 60 Hudson St. about possible variances to legalize fuel storage on six floors in excess of code limits in return for installing fire safety equipment beyond what is required by law.

But NOISE and City Councilmember Alan Gerson both insist that variances to allow any violations in the building code are unacceptable.

“I met with Patricia Lancaster recently and repeated our request for some kind of public process regarding any variances,” said Gerson. The commissioner indicated that she has submitted the request for public consultation to department lawyers, Gerson said. “She claims it’s a complicated issue. I can’t see what’s complicated about it.”

Lancaster also told Gerson that the department has engaged Ove Arup & Partners, an international engineering consulting firm based in London, to study the issue of diesel storage variences. The Arup firm last July completed a study, “Building Regulations – Post Sept. 11” for the British government. Robin Forst, a member of Gerson’s deputy chief of staff said last week that Lancaster indicated that the department would not make a final decision on variances for diesel storage rules until Arup completes its study.