Day: September 19th, 2007

Hens and gators

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007 | All Things, NYC History

Tonight, a gathering of the work crew — past and present — at English pub-themed watering hole, Pound and Pence, where Wednesdays is “Hen night.” Translation: 2-for-1 drinks for the ladies.

The bar operates on the first two floors of Liberty Tower, where in the 1920s future president Franklin D. Roosevelt had an office during his tenure as vice president of the Fidelity and Deposit Insurance Company of Maryland. The sublevel is now home to a wine store and a Starbucks — one of three within a one block radius of the office.

This unique-looking Neo-Gothic skyscraper was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966, and in 1979, it became of one of the earliest conversion projects in Lower Manhattan when architect Joseph Pell Lombardi bought the building and converted it into luxury apartments. Still pricy  luxury apartments.

The 33-story tower, based on a Henry Ives Cobb design, was completed in 1910. In 1919, it was purchased by the Sinclair Oil Company for use as their headquarters. Harry Sinclair, head of the company, had his private office suite built on the 29th floor with its views of the East and Hudson rivers. It was from those offices that in 1922, Sinclair bribed Interior Secretary Albert Fall to secretly lease the U.S. naval petroleum reserve in Wyoming to his oil company without competitive bidding, in what became known as the Teapot Dome Scandal.

The white terracotta-clad limestone building – unique for its time — is most notable for its fanciful ornamentation: birds, lions, this alligator (which flanks the Pound and Pence entrance) and a dozen roof gremlins, including one “who looks like a demonic Santa’s elf.”

Pound and Pence gator

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