The Manhattan Essential presents: The New Exposition Building

TEMThe New Exposition Building

Those claiming our fair city has forsaken innovation before the bleakness of our times need only travel along Broadway, 5th Avenue, or 22nd Street–the busy sinew that ties our beloved Manhattan together–and cast their eyes upward. There they shall find a breathtaking renunciation.

Constructed for the 1896 New York Exposition Fair, this modern-day palace boasts twenty-three stories, advanced elevators, a forced-water fire suppression system and impenetrable foundations to hold safe its many inhabitants. Councilman Charles Taffy (may his wisdom persist!) paid for many of the improvements out of his own pocket; loathsome anarchists and the ever-envious agents of Philadelphia shall find no chinks in the New Exposition Building’s modern armor.

Its glittering flanks are guarded by nothing less than the divine: a total of six-hundred-and-fifty-four copper angels, each shaped by the artistes of Fohrmann Inc. in poses of unearthly beauty. Many of these cling to manfully to gigantic, glass globes set with electric lamps provided by the marvelous workshops of the New Edison Company. As the poet Ginn Wing-Holland wrote from Blackwell’s Lunatic Asylum: “The night sky itself envies the Teapot.”

In mentioning this incredible edifice’s charming nickname, we arrive at the most marvelous of its accouterments: the Exposition Elephant. No tawdry torchbearer or dull flagpole for this, our avatar of Flow Deco and the modern style, nothing less than a vast, rearing elephant shall serve. For upon the sixteenth floor stands that wise yet fierce lord of Lost Africa, his mighty bulk reaching well past the airship dock to trumpet the greatness of Manhattan to the vassal states and beyond.…