Editor’s note: An updated version of this post can be viewed here.
The BOTD is a no-frills look at interesting structures of all types and from all neighborhoods. There will be old, new, important, forgotten, public, private, good and bad. Whatever strikes our fancy. We hope you enjoy.
Address: 7 Front Street, at Fulton Landing
Name: Originally the Long Island Insurance Company, now Pub One
Neighborhood: Fulton Ferry/DUMBO
Year Built: 1835
Architectural Style: Greek Revival
Why chosen: This is believed to be the oldest office building in all of New York City. From 1835, it was headquarters for the Long Island Insurance Company, 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 been a restaurant of some kind or another, on the ground floor, for at least the last 40 years. And it is a very handsome building, too, with granite on the ground floor, and three doorways and two windows. 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 can visually overwhelm this little gem, which still remains one of the finest buildings in the Fulton Ferry historic district.