New York: Splendor at the Woolworth Building

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If you’ve ever walked by the Woolworth Building, you might have seen it: a sign announcing, quite clearly, that tourists are not allowed. Not allowed, that is, unless they are on a guided tour of the building. Special access to the famed lobby? Count me in.

During my morning with Woolworth Tours, I learned all about the building’s storied past. When construction finished in 1913, the Woolworth was the tallest building in the world at 792 feet. The Titanic was 800 feet long, so people were told to use that as a frame of reference for the building’s size (and, ironically, after the Titanic sunk, trials related to the sinking were held here). Dubbed the “Cathedral of Commerce,” the Woolworth was a symbol of New York – and American – prosperity.

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While filled with lots of fascinating features, the most eye-catching and awe-inspiring has to be the gilded lobby, covered in Byzantine mosaics. Just how luxurious is the space? The elevator doors are plated with Tiffany gold.

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^^ Don’t forget to look up! These little sculptures are found throughout the lobby – each depicts a person associated with the building.

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For anyone who is a history or architecture enthusiast, I would highly recommend a guided tour. My guide was incredibly knowledgeable about the building, and I feel like I learned so much from her (and had plenty of time along the way to ogle all the finery).

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