Looking out over the New York skyline you can’t help but notice this building in the financial district. While at first glance it might seem much the same as every other office block, an unremarkable piece of architecture, closer inspection shows it is anything but. A WW1 fighter plane and a penny candy shop are just two of the surprising features that make this such an unexpected attraction.
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The 26-story office tower sits in the very middle of New York’s financial district. It was built in 1970 by the William Kaufman Organization and has become one of the most recognizable buildings of Wall Street. Containing around 546,803 square feet of usable office space, it doesn’t just look the part, it functions too. The lobby on the ground floor is a warm and welcoming area, following Kaufman's vision of spaces like this becoming an area where workers and the larger community can to relax, mix, and mingle. It has many different elements and intrigues such as streams, honey locust trees, foot bridges, and, most impressively, a wood-framed, turn of the century style candy store.
The Kaufman Organization is well known for the quirky touch they give their construction projects. They pride themselves in providing something that will stand out and bring a smile to the face of those who see it for the first time. The building was built to be something unique, something special for the people in nearby offices and condos to gaze upon.
While the luxurious lobby invites people in from the streets, it’s on the roof where the jewel of the buildings crown glistens in the sun. Poised as if ready to take off at any second and flanked by landing lights, is a 1916 Sopwith Camel, a perfect replica of the WW1 plane. It may not be the real thing, still many people like to come here to stare at it and create fanciful stories of its origin and how it came to be perched on this roof. It's certainly a lot more interesting than the usual industrial air conditioning units found on the New York other roofs . Such eccentricity has become somewhat of a calling card for the Kaufman Organization; over at 767 Third Avenue another Kaufman building houses the world's largest chess board atop its roof.
It’s not all offbeat and whimsical features though, 77 Water Street does provide a few more traditional attractions as well, such as the decorative displays in the lobby. It’s also home to a variety of art installations.
Whether you’re a local or a visitor, if you climb up high enough to enjoy a look at the New York skyline, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for this interesting addition to the city’s landscape.