Editor’s Note: This post originally ran in 2010 and has been updated. You can read the previous post here.
This Greek Revival style building at 5-7 Front Street at Fulton Landing is believed to be the oldest office building in all of New York City. While the exact date of construction is unknown, from 1834, it was headquarters for the Long Island Insurance Company (LIIC), which sold fire insurance.
Front Street, and what is now Old Fulton Street, was the commercial center of this area, similar to the streets and buildings near the South Street Seaport, across the river.
Fire insurance on goods and ships would have been a necessary and successful business to be in during the boom years of the 19th century. The LIIC was located in this building until it was bought by the Long Island Safe Deposit Company in 1867.
The building has had a restaurant of some kind or another on the ground floor for at least the last 40 years. (Gran Electrica, currently.) And it is a very handsome building, too, with granite piers and lintels framing three doorways and two windows on the ground floor.
Upstairs, the closely set windows are placed within Flemish bond brickwork, which alternates headers and stretchers (short and long ends of the brick), which is indicative of earlier Federal architecture.
The later, very showy, cast-iron faced Long Island Safe Deposit Company building next door at 1 Front Street can visually overwhelm this little gem, which still remains one of the finest buildings in the Fulton Ferry Historic District.
[Photos by Susan De Vries]
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