I stumbled across the stereograph above, which the NYPL has mislabeled as 1890. The Singer Building (visible) was completed in 1908, the Woolworth Building (in the caption) in 1913, and the Equitable Building (visible) in 1915, so: no. The most interesting thing in the shot is the white building in the foreground. It’s the AT&T headquarters or, more precisely, about 60 percent of the AT&T headquarters. Here’s a view of the building in 1956 (courtesy of New York Architecture), as foundations (foreground) were being built for the new 222 Broadway:
In 1956 (and now) the building fills the Broadway block front from Fulton Street (on the right, between the building and St. Paul’s Chapel) south to Dey Street. In 1916 (or so) it does not. Here’s another old view (circa 1917) that makes it clear:
Immediately south of St. Paul’s, at the corner of Dey and Broadway, is a small commercial building that may have once housed a mad hatter. There’s a taller (big enough to have made it into The Structure of Skyscrapers) building -the Mail and Express Building – wrapped around that, with non-adjacent Broadway and Fulton Street facades, and then south of that is the chunk of AT&T.
What happened was the result of corporate changes. American Telephone & Telegraph was, by the early 1900s, the result of the merger of a lot of small communications companies into one conglomerate. In 1909, AT&T bought Western Union, which was the nation’s largest telegraph company and once the second-most important communications entity, behind only the post office. Western Union’s headquarters was on the south half of the block I’m discussing, completed in 1875 as one of the earliest skyscrapers and then heavily modified and slightly expanded in 1892. So AT&T, in moving the corporate headquarters to the old Western Union site, first demolished the Western Union Buidling and then set about buying its neighbors, which took another ten years or so.
I like the third picture above: you’ve got the little mid-1800s building at 205 Broadway with the Mail and Express Building wrapped around it on two sides and then the AT&T Building wrapped around Mail and Express. This is about as cozy as skyscrapers ever get.