liberty tower

Liberty Tower
55 Liberty Street, Manhattan

"A residential Gothic skyscraper" - The New York Times, July 11,1979

In 1919, ten years after Liberty Tower had been built, it was bought by the Sinclair Oil Company. On the 29th floor, Harry Sinclair, head of the Sinclair Oil Company, created his private offices with a boardroom, dining room, sitting room and reception room. The floor looks out over Lower Manhattan and has views of both rivers.

Finished out with floor to ceiling walnut paneling, grain painted steel trim, pressed glass doors with gold lettering,  hanging globe light fixtures and brass hardware in a new-Gothic design, it is an earlier definition of an executive office suite which wanted to be maintained. Joseph Pell Lombardi adapted it, without changing its character, to be his apartment.

The furnishings are gathered up early twentieth century tables and chairs found throughout the building. The former kitchen remained where it had been and the vice president’s offices became bedrooms. The principal missing ingredient was a central room to connect the living room (former board room), dining room, library (former sitting room) and entrance gallery. Whatever existed in this central location had been removed at the time of Sinclair’s Oil’s departure in 1945. Because of the complexity of the space, a circle was the most suitable shape, above which a plaster dome was installed. Green and white terrazzo in a checkerboard pattern was used for flooring.

With the interiors now almost a century old, this Manhattan aerie speaks of an earlier time. The best compliment so far was from a guest who whispered somewhat loudly to her companion that “it looks like a rundown men’s club!”

Liberty Tower, Joseph Pennell (1857-1926)
Liberty Tower, 1910 Underhill (Author's collection)
Liberty Tower
Living Room Looking East
Living Room Looking West
Living Room
Dining Room
Floor Plan, 29th Floor