Most Phallic Building contest

Most Phallic Building contest

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The World's Most Phallic Building contest was a contest held in 2003 by Cabinet magazine to find the building which most resembled a human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

A phallus is an erect penis, a penis-shaped object such as a dildo, or a mimetic image of an erect penis. Any object that symbolically resembles a penis may also be referred to as a phallus; however, such objects are more often referred to as being phallic...

. The contest originated when writer Jonathan Ames
Jonathan Ames
Jonathan Ames is an American author who has written a number of novels and comic memoirs. He was a columnist for the New York Press for several years, and became known for self-deprecating tales of his sexual misadventures. He also has a long-time envy of boxing, appearing occasionally in the ring...

 drew the ire of Slate
Slate (magazine)
Slate is a US-based English language online current affairs and culture magazine created in 1996 by former New Republic editor Michael Kinsley, initially under the ownership of Microsoft as part of MSN. On 21 December 2004 it was purchased by the Washington Post Company...

readers by claiming, in a diary that was later published in his book I Love You More Than You Know, that the Williamsburg Bank Building
Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower
The Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower at 1 Hanson Place is the second tallest building in the borough of Brooklyn, New York City and a familiar Brooklyn landmark....

 in Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

, New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, was the world's most phallic. This led Cabinet magazine to initiate a search of its own to find which building was truly the "world's most phallic". Cities and readers subsequently poured in their views and staked their claims to the magazine's editors.

After months of entries and discussion, the Ypsilanti Water Tower
Ypsilanti Water Tower
The Ypsilanti Water Tower is a historic water tower in Ypsilanti, Michigan, United States.The tower was designed by William R. Coats and constructed as part of an elaborate city waterworks project that began in 1889. Located on the highest point in Ypsilanti, the tower was completed in 1890 at a...

 in Ypsilanti, Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

, was announced as the winner, although the winner of a readers' poll was the Florida State Capitol
Florida State Capitol
The Florida State Capitol, in Tallahassee, Florida, USA, is the state capitol of the U.S. state of Florida. The building is an architecturally and historically significant building, having been listed on the National Register of Historic Places....

 building in Tallahassee. Another notable nominee was the Torre Agbar
Torre Agbar
The Torre Agbar is a 38-storey tower located between Avinguda Diagonal and Carrer Badajoz, near Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes, which marks the gateway to the new technological district of Barcelona, Spain. It was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel in association with the Spanish firm B720...

 (Agbar Tower) in Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...


Cabinet noted that the Ypsilanti Water Tower, called "the brick dick" by locals, "is clearly the world's most phallic." The tower was designed by William R. Coats and constructed as part of an elaborate city waterworks project. Located on the highest point in Ypsilanti, erection began in 1889 and was completed in 1890, at a cost of $
Dollar sign
The dollar or peso sign is a symbol primarily used to indicate the various peso and dollar units of currency around the world.- Origin :...

21,435.63. Made of Joliet limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

, the tower is 147 feet tall, has an 85 foot base and holds 250,000 gallons when full. Hoping to protect themselves from injury, the builders made at least four crosses in the stonework, one over the west door, an elaborate but difficult to find Greek Cross on the east side and two inside the water tower
Water tower
A water tower or elevated water tower is a large elevated drinking water storage container constructed to hold a water supply at a height sufficient to pressurize a water distribution system....