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40 Wall Street

40 Wall Street

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40 Wall Street is a 70-story skyscraper
A skyscraper is a tall, continuously habitable building of many stories, often designed for office and commercial use. There is no official definition or height above which a building may be classified as a skyscraper...

 in New York City. Originally known as the Bank of Manhattan Trust building, and also known as Manhattan Company Building, it was later known by its street address when its founding tenant merged to form the Chase Manhattan Bank
Chase Manhattan Bank
JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., doing business as Chase, is a national bank that constitutes the consumer and commercial banking subsidiary of financial services firm JPMorgan Chase. The bank was known as Chase Manhattan Bank until it merged with J.P. Morgan & Co. in 2000...

 and today is known as the Trump Building.
The building, between Nassau Street
Nassau Street (Manhattan)
Nassau Street is a street in the Financial District of the New York City borough of Manhattan, located near Pace University and New York City Hall. It starts at Wall Street and runs north to Frankfort Street at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, lying one block east of Broadway and east of Park Row...

 and William Street
William Street (Manhattan)
William Street is a city street in the Financial District of lower Manhattan in New York City in the United States of America. It runs generally southwest to northeast, crossing Wall Street and terminating at Broad Street and Spruce Street, respectively. Between Beaver Street and Broad Street,...

 in Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

, New York City, was completed in 1930 after only 11 months of construction.


The building was designed by H. Craig Severance
H. Craig Severance
H. Craig Severance was an American architect who designed a number of well-known buildings in New York City, including the Coca-Cola Building, Nelson Tower and most prominently, 40 Wall Street....

, along with Yasuo Matsui (associate architect), and Shreve & Lamb (consulting architects). Edward F. Caldwell & Co.
Edward F. Caldwell & Co.
Edward F. Caldwell & Co., of New York City, was one of the premier designers and manufacturers of electric light fixtures and decorative metalwork from the late 19th to the mid-20th centuries. Founded in 1895 by Edward F. Caldwell and Victor F...

 designed the lighting. Der Scutt
Der Scutt
Der Scutt was the architect and designer of major buildings throughout New York City and the United States....

 of Der Scutt Architect designed the lobby and entrance renovation. Its pinnacle reaches 927 feet (282.5 m) and was very briefly the tallest building in the world, soon surpassed by the Chrysler Building
Chrysler Building
The Chrysler Building is an Art Deco style skyscraper in New York City, located on the east side of Manhattan in the Turtle Bay area at the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Standing at , it was the world's tallest building for 11 months before it was surpassed by the Empire State...

 finished that same year.

Race to be the world's tallest building

Construction of the Bank of Manhattan Building at 40 Wall Street began in 1928, with a planned height of 840 feet (256 m), making it 135 feet (41 m) taller than the nearby Woolworth Building
Woolworth Building
The Woolworth Building is one of the oldest skyscrapers in New York City. More than a century after the start of its construction, it remains, at 57 stories, one of the fifty tallest buildings in the United States as well as one of the twenty tallest buildings in New York City...

, completed in 1913. More importantly, the plans were designed to be two feet taller than the Chrysler Building
Chrysler Building
The Chrysler Building is an Art Deco style skyscraper in New York City, located on the east side of Manhattan in the Turtle Bay area at the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Standing at , it was the world's tallest building for 11 months before it was surpassed by the Empire State...

, which was in an ostensible competition to be the world’s tallest building. In order to stay ahead of the race, the architects of 40 Wall Street changed their originally announced height of 840 feet (256 m), or 68 stories, to 927 feet (282.5 m), or 71 stories, making their building, upon completion in May 1930, the tallest in the world. However, this triumph turned out to be short-lived.

Uptown at 405 Lexington Avenue, the Chrysler Building developers were in the works to top 40 Wall Street. By October 1929, tycoon Walter Chrysler
Walter Chrysler
Walter Percy Chrysler was an American machinist, railroad mechanic and manager, automotive industry executive, Freemason, and founder of the Chrysler Corporation.- Railroad career :...

 used his secret weapon to win the race to the top; a 125-foot (38 m) stainless steel spire was clandestinely assembled in the Chrysler Building's crown and hoisted into place, bringing it to a height of 77 stories, or 1048 feet (319.4 m). Once completed on May 28, 1930, the Chrysler Building surpassed 40 Wall Street as the tallest building on the earth, fulfilling tycoon Walter Chrysler's dream.

Upset by Chrysler’s victory, Shreve & Lamb, consulting architects of 40 Wall Street, wrote a newspaper article claiming that their building was actually the tallest, since it contained the world's highest usable floor. They pointed out that the observation deck in the Bank of Manhattan Building was nearly 100 feet (30.5 m) above the top floor in the Chrysler Building, whose surpassing spire was strictly ornamental and essentially inaccessible. These quibbles were put to rest when the Empire State Building was completed eleven months later in 1931, becoming the world’s tallest building at 1250 feet (381 m) in both of those categories.

Plane crash

On the evening of May 20, 1946, a United States Army Air Forces
United States Army Air Forces
The United States Army Air Forces was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force....

 C-45 Beechcraft
Beechcraft Model 18
The Beechcraft Model 18, or "Twin Beech", as it is better known, is a 6-11 seat, twin-engine, low-wing, conventional-gear aircraft that was manufactured by the Beech Aircraft Corporation of Wichita, Kansas...

 airplane crashed into the north side of the building. The twin-engined plane was heading for Newark Airport
Newark Liberty International Airport
Newark Liberty International Airport , first named Newark Metropolitan Airport and later Newark International Airport, is an international airport within the city limits of both Newark and Elizabeth, New Jersey, United States...

 on a flight originating at Lake Charles Army Air Field
Chennault Air Force Base
Chennault Air Force Base was a United States Air Force Strategic Air Command base located near Lake Charles, Louisiana. It was closed in 1963.-Origins:...

 in Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

. It struck the 58th floor of the building at about 8:10 PM, creating a 20 by 10 feet (3 m) hole in the masonry, and killing all five aboard the plane, including a WAC officer. Fog and low visibility were identified as the main causes of the crash. At the time of the accident, LaGuardia Field
LaGuardia Airport
LaGuardia Airport is an airport located in the northern part of Queens County on Long Island in the City of New York. The airport is located on the waterfront of Flushing Bay and Bowery Bay, and borders the neighborhoods of Astoria, Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst. The airport was originally...

 reported a heavy fog that reduced the ceiling to 500 feet (152.4 m), obscuring the view of the ground for the pilot at the building's 58th story level. Parts of the aircraft and pieces of brick and mortar from the building fell into the street below, but there were no reported injuries of any of the estimated 2,000 workers in the building, nor anyone on the street.

This crash at 40 Wall Street was only the second of its kind in New York City's history, the first being when an Army B-25
B-25 Mitchell
The North American B-25 Mitchell was an American twin-engined medium bomber manufactured by North American Aviation. It was used by many Allied air forces, in every theater of World War II, as well as many other air forces after the war ended, and saw service across four decades.The B-25 was named...

 bomber struck the 78th floor
B-25 Empire State Building crash
The B-25 Empire State Building crash was a 1945 aircraft accident in which a B-25 Mitchell piloted in thick fog crashed into the Empire State Building...

 of the Empire State Building
Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is a 102-story landmark skyscraper and American cultural icon in New York City at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. It has a roof height of 1,250 feet , and with its antenna spire included, it stands a total of 1,454 ft high. Its name is derived...

 in July of the year before. The cause of that crash was also fog and poor visibility.

The 1946 incident was the last time an airplane accidentally struck a skyscraper in New York City until October 11, 2006, when a small plane carrying New York Yankees
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are a professional baseball team based in the The Bronx, New York. They compete in Major League Baseball in the American League's East Division...

 pitcher Cory Lidle
Cory Lidle
Cory Fulton Lidle was an Americanright-handed baseball pitcher who spent nine seasons in the major leagues with seven different teams. His twin brother Kevin Lidle also played baseball, as a catcher for several minor league teams...

 slammed into a 50-story condo building
2006 New York City plane crash
The 2006 New York City plane crash occurred on October 11, 2006, when a Cirrus SR20 general aviation, fixed-wing, single-engine light aircraft crashed into the Belaire Apartments in New York City at about 2:42 p.m. local time...

 on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

Decline and revival

In 1982, Joseph J. and Ralph E. Bernstein purchased 40 Wall Street and were later found to be acting on behalf of Ferdinand E. Marcos, the late President of the Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

. When Marcos was removed from power and his assets in the United States were frozen, the building was placed in limbo.

In 1995, after years of neglect, 40 Wall Street was bought by Donald Trump
Donald Trump
Donald John Trump, Sr. is an American business magnate, television personality and author. He is the chairman and president of The Trump Organization and the founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts. Trump's extravagant lifestyle, outspoken manner and role on the NBC reality show The Apprentice have...

 and later renamed The Trump Building. He planned to convert the upper half of it to residential space, leaving the bottom half as commercial space. However, the cost of converting it to residential space proved to be too high, and it remains 100% commercial space. He tried to sell the building in 2003, expecting offers in excess of $300 million. Such offers did not materialize, and Trump retains control of the building. In the ninth episode of the fourth season of The Apprentice
The Apprentice (U.S. season 4)
The Apprentice 4 is the fourth season of The Apprentice, with Donald Trump as the executive producer and host. The show was aired on Thursday nights at 9 p.m...

, Trump claimed he only paid $1 million for the building, but that it was actually worth $400 million. This episode aired 17 November 2005. On CNBC's The Billionaire Inside, Trump again claimed he paid $1 million for the building, but stated the value as $600 million, a $200 million increase from two years earlier. The episode aired 17 October 2007 on CNBC.
It is also stated that the building was bought for $1 million, in the book Donald Trump - Strategies For Real Estate written by George H. Ross (his legal advisor). In 1996, however, Trump took out a mortgage for $10 million on the property.

In 1998, the building was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. The tower is the tallest mid-block building in New York City.

External links