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. The gold foil that covers the Teapot’s incredible crown would feed Manhattan for two weeks, and its shining trunk can be seen clear past unfortunate Bronx on a clear morning.jeffersonsays_waxwell

The interior of the Teapot is no less impressive than the exterior. The visitor that steps within the vaulted doors must take care–women and gentler men have fainted clear away. Above the gleaming marble is a lobby that stretches five stories above the astonished head; cased in burnished metal, pneumatic elevators and ornate walkways, this space forms the City Sideways. All of the commerce of Mulberry Street, hundreds of feet in the air. Now that’s something to tell your grandchildren about!

Above all of this grandeur flows the blood that sustains this, our great city’s gilded heart. All seventeen of the largest financial firms call the New Exposition Building home, as do a number of prestigious lawyers, shipping magnates and industrial boards. These good citizens provide for the bread that nourishes our stomachs, the truncheon that protects and corrects with equal vigor, and the concrete that shields our very step from the horrors that lie beneath the City of the Isle.

Thankfully, these paragons of capitalistic virtue do so from the comfort of the New Exposition Building–the true heart of Manhattan!

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