MORRIS STREET AT GREENWICH STREET

Cunard Building
1917-21
Benjamin Wistar Morris with Carrere & Hastings

The intersection of Morris and Greenwich Streets perhaps best embodies the economic and technological forces that reshaped Little Syria, and Lower Manhattan in general, over the course of the 20th century. On the southeast corner stands the rear facade of the massive Cunard Building, one of the first major skyscrapers to be built under the 1916 zoning resolution, which established certain limits on building bulk and massing in order to avoid the complete “canyonization” of Lower Manhattan. Across the street from the Cunard Building lies the giant trench that is the exit to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, a monument to mid-century automobile-based urban planning. It is here that Greenwich Street forks off into Trinity Place, notable as the location where one of Manhattan’s earliest elevated rail lines split into two lines running northwards along Sixth and Ninth Avenues, respectively. A historic mast-arm lamppost remains at the north side of Morris Street, in the section of median that will shortly become the southern part of an expanded, redesigned Elizabeth Berger Plaza. Famed photographer Berenice Abbott photographed Morris Street at Greenwich Street in the 1930’s, capturing the last remaining tenement building juxtaposed with the towering Cunard Building. The Cunard Building is a NYC Individual Landmark and listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places.

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