All the photos except for a couple of historical pictures are mine and are freely available, especially to educators.
I see this building almost daily from a distance in Brooklyn or from the Lower East Side.
Some of us haven't forgotten.
I remember sitting on the steep steps of the Federal Hall Memorial looking at this flag in the weeks that followed the September 11th Attacks wondering just how patriotic it really is to keep overseas tax shelters in a time of national emergency.
Trinity Church is the wealthiest church congregation in the USA. The people who attend regularly are not much different in income than any other church-goers in New York. The average incomes of regulars at Saint Thomas on Fifth Avenue or Saint Bartholomew's on Park Avenue or Saint Ignatius Loyola (RC) also on Park Avenue are certainly much higher than those of Trinity's congregants. What makes Trinity so rich is all the land that it owns, among the most valuable in the world. When the church was founded in 1696, William and Mary granted the church most of the west side of Manhattan and much of the land underneath the Financial District. The church remains one of the largest and wealthiest property owners in Manhattan funding most of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, and much of the rest of the Episcopal Church.
The reredos and altar are later additions from 1876 to 1877. Trinity was originally a very low church parish that forbade Upjohn from designing anything like an altar for the apse of the church (to his great frustration).
This is one of the last elaborate newspaper palaces left on Park Row across from City Hall. The New York World, The NY Tribune, the NY Times, and others all had big elaborate headquarters along Park Row.
The unprecedented height of the building caused a lot of widespread anxiety about future buildings of similar height blocking out light and air from the streets below. The 1916 zoning laws requiring buildings above a certain height to be setback from the street was a legacy of this building. Today this once tallest building looks like a midget compared to the buildings around it. Perhaps the anxieties of the early 20th century were not unfounded as the sky-high investment towers going up on Billionaire's Row on 57th street threaten to cast mile long shadows into Central Park and to put the entire southern quarter of the Park into perpetual twilight.
This building was under construction from 1861 to 1881 and cost $11 million to $12 million in 19th century dollars (so many billions now). The building was never really completed. It was supposed to be topped by a tall dome that was never built. Due to all the graft and so many people stealing the building's funds, it took longer and cost more money to build this comparatively small and modest building than to build the British Houses of Parliament in London, a far larger building.
This is the best of the surviving cast iron buildings made by Daniel Badger's Architectural Ironworks in Lower Manhattan. These cast iron buildings in Soho, Tribeca, and other parts of Lower Manhattan were precursors to the steel frame construction invented in Chicago in the 1890s. This one was modeled on the Sansovino Library in Venice by the designer John P. Gaynor, and once housed a very posh department store frequented by Mary Todd Lincoln.
The Haughwout Building also had the world's first successful passenger elevator built by Elijah Otis.