|About Us | Contact Us | LOGIN|
Job Site Photo Gallary
211 Pearl Street, New York
Demolition work exploded in 1830’s New York with one historian describing lower Manhattan during the period as “one massive construction zone”. With the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 sparking an economic boom, New York would be transformed from a small port town into the world-class city that it is today.
The narrow streets of downtown New York were widened and old commercial buildings were replaced with granite and brick Greek revival “store and lofts”; an architecture that communicated a powerful and uniquely American message - that democracy is the foundation of economic growth and prosperity. Early demolition contractors, employing dynamite, hand tools, and backbone were instrumental in clearing the way for the city’s growth.
History is now revisiting this same street, just a few blocks away from Ground Zero, where preservationists and a city developer worked out a compromise over the fate of 211 Pearl Street, an 1832 Greek revival warehouse built by the soap manufacturer William Colgate and located at the hub of the nation’s early 19th century mercantile district.
The historic façade of the building was preserved with the interior five floors removed to make way for a fifty story residential development that is part of the mayor’s plan to revitalize lower Manhattan after the September 11th attacks. The 25’ x 100’ warehouse shared a party wall with another building of the same year, requiring the demolition contractor, Big Apple Wrecking and Construction of the Bronx, to surgically dismantled the building’s interior over the course of a five-week period.
More of the building, however, is being salvaged than preservationists expected, thanks to M. Fine Lumber Co. of Brooklyn, which has purchased the buildings four hundred 4” x 12” structural lumber and timbers. Much of the old growth timbers used in New York from this period were hauled by horse cart on a straight road from Maine to New York. The wood has been made available to New York carpenters and designers who are turning the white pine beams into tables, designer lamps, street tree guards and architectural detail for a restaurant. A local fashion jewelry designer is also crafting forged jewelry from the buildings smallest salvageable component – 1830’s Type B nails. And in the latest spin on the building, pieces of the building will be part of the set design for the new Madonna and Brittney Spears video that is being shot in Queens this month.
M. Fine Lumber, founded in 1933, purchases demolition wood from around the country and services big city contractors looking for old timbers for low cost shoring, concrete forming or sewer sheeting and supplies architects, designers, flooring and furniture manufacturers, and the relatively new ‘Green Building” trade.
Although an estimated three trillion board feet of lumber and timbers have been sawn in the U.S. since 1900, only a fraction of the vast “structural forest” still in use reaches the reclaimed lumber market each year as a result of decommissioned buildings. But this stable, tightly grained demolition wood has grown into a uniquely valued commodity. As Louis Fine explains, “reclaimed lumber is some of the finest wood around, but for future generations it’s also the environmentally correct thing to do. In seventy years, we’ve probably saved a forest half the size of Brooklyn.” And in the case of 211 Pearl Street, they’ve also saved a piece of New York history.
To have your project featured, contact Herb Duane at email@example.com