Brooklyn Structure: That is probably the oldest workplace constructing in NYC
Editor’s Note: This post was originally run in 2010 and has been updated. You can read the previous post here.
This Greek Revival-style building at 5-7 Front Street in Fulton Landing is believed to be the oldest office building in all of New York City. Although the exact date of construction is unknown, from 1834 it was the headquarters of the Long Island Insurance Company (LIIC), which sold fire insurance.
Front Street, now Old Fulton Street, was the commercial center of the area, similar to the streets and buildings near South Street Seaport across the river.
In the boom years of the 19th century, fire insurance for goods and ships would have been a necessary and successful business. The LIIC was in this building until it was purchased by the Long Island Safe Deposit Company in 1867.
The building has had a restaurant on the ground floor for at least 40 years. (Gran Electrica, currently.) And it’s a very pretty building too, with granite pillars and lintels framing three doors and two windows on the first floor.
Upstairs are the closely spaced windows in Flemish masonry, the head and stretcher frame (short and long ends of the brick) alternate, which indicates an earlier federal architecture.
The later, very eye-catching, cast iron building of the Long Island Safe Deposit Company next door at 1 Front Street can visually overwhelm this little gem, which is still one of the most beautiful buildings in the historic district of Fulton Ferry.
[Photos by Susan De Vries]
Email [email protected] with additional comments, questions, or tips. Follow Brownstoner on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook.