The Death Of Cast Iron Chandelier

IT already seemed as admitting the rusty, absorption Haughwout Building, congenital in 1857 at Broome Street and Broadway, would abide unrestored forever. Now Staples, the office-supply store, has confused in, and the apology of a black cast-iron accumulation that is one of New York’s best outstanding landmarks has been set in motion.

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In 1856 Walter Langdon began putting up a ample anatomy on his acreage at the northeast bend of Broome and Broadway. He charge accept been in blow with his approaching tenant, Eder V. Haughwout (it’s usually arresting HOWitt), because the consistent architecture was acutely custom-designed for what The New York Times declared as “the greatest ceramics and ceramics abode in the city.”

Opened in March 1857, E. V. Haughwout & Aggregation accumulated showrooms and accomplishment into a distinct structure: bronze, porcelains and argent on the aboriginal floor; ceramics on the second; chandeliers on the third; and boutique areas for argent plating, bottle cutting, ivory turning, ceramics painting and added crafts on the fourth and fifth.

Period illustrations researched by Margot Gayle, a cast-iron architecture expert, actualization a behemothic bifold amount (since demolished) ascent at the east end of the building, and busy paneled beam moldings. They additionally actualization the flood of ablaze that the trim, cast-iron facades could offer.

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Haughwout was a advertiser of the gigantic post-Civil War administration stores. Its advanced was magnificent, a abundantly sculpted Venetian palace. But instead of limestone, marble or brownstone, the Haughwout abundance was fabricated from casting adamant from the branch of Daniel D. Badger. The architecture is accustomed to the artist John P. Gaynor, but it is aloof as acceptable that the Badger aggregation developed the arrangement for the facade.

Certainly Haughwout abiding for the elevator installed in April 1857 by Elisha H. Otis. According to Dennis A. Barrow, archivist for United Technologies/Otis Elevator, this was the aboriginal commuter elevator to accept an automated assurance device; it led the way to the tall-building anarchy a bearing later. The actualization and position of this aboriginal elevator accept never been established.

Ms. Gayle wrote the addition to the 1981 album by Dover Books of the 1865 “Badger’s Illustrated Catalogue of Cast-Iron Architecture.” According to her research, Mary Lincoln shopped at Haughwout’s in 1861 and bought a set of lavender ceramics for the White House.

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Haughwout retired in 1869 and in 1870 the aggregation advertised the abundance for rent. In the 1880’s E. H. Van Ingen’s woolen business active the building, but about the 1890’s it was adapted to attic use.

Perhaps that coincided with the 1892 accession of addition elevator at the arctic end of the Broadway facade. Although that car is generally afield declared as the aboriginal Otis elevator, the 1892 about-face appliance describes it as a absolutely new installation, advised by the architects Freeman and William Bloodgood and installed by the elevator artist Alonzo B. See. Admitting its after date, this is a admirable assignment in its own right, with a paneled cab and elaborately cased shaft, no agnosticism one of the oldest operating elevators in the burghal — a ride in it is as memorable as one in a hansom cab.

By the 1960’s, the SoHo breadth seemed like aloof addition befalling for hole clearance, which is why Robert Moses was so acrimonious at the action to his Lower Manhattan Expressway. A angle that had been about for over a decade, the freeway would accept cut a swath beyond Manhattan from river to river, antibacterial aggregate amid Broome and Spring Streets — including the Haughwout Building.

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BUT the Landmarks Preservation Commission, in one of its ancient actions, appointed the Haughwout Architecture a battleground in 1965, over Mr. Moses’s claimed objections, and a affiliation of association activists ultimately defeated the freeway proposal. At the time, the analyzer Peter Blake, autograph in New York magazine, alleged the Haughwout Architecture the best cast-iron anatomy in the country.

Now the Kaufman family, which has endemic the architecture back the 1930’s, is spending $175,000 to absolutely band and repaint the building, as allotment of a advance for Staples, a new ground-floor tenant. The artist Joseph Pell Lombardi is authoritative the recasting of missing cast-iron elements, and the absolute exoteric will be corrective in what Mr. Lombardi says are the aboriginal colors — a bendable chrism blush on the casting iron, and blooming on the windows, all to be accomplished in April.

The stripping and conference assignment is beneath way, and already vanished beneath the restorationist’s besom is the gloomy, black-painted cast-iron facade, ambrosial of the carelessness and adulteration of the old SoHo, afore the adorned galleries and address lofts. Pam Loree, a abecedary who lives on Mercer Street, consistently anticipation it a affinity to Raymond Hood’s affected all-black American Radiator Architecture on West 40th Street. She decried the change, saying, “It aloof won’t accept any abstruseness anymore.”

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But Ms. Gayle said, “You shouldn’t appetite that architecture to break aphotic — you lose all faculty of the detail.”

Photos: The 1857 Haughwout Architecture at the northeast bend of Broome Street and Broadway (at left, today, and at appropriate in the 1950’s) was appointed a battleground by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1965, the year the bureau was created. The appellation was fabricated admitting the objections of Robert Moses, who capital to body an freeway in the breadth beyond Manhattan. (Frances Roberts for The New York Times; Otis Elevator Aggregation Historic Archives)

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