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Another Personal Connection

The picture above shows the construction of the masonry curtain wall at 15 Broad Street in 1927. The building opened the next year as the Equitable Trust Company. It’s not particularly remarkable architecturally or structurally, although it’s known for wrapping around the much shorter J. P. Morgan building at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets. It was converted to condos about 15 years ago and is therefore going to be with us for the foreseeable future.

The photo isn’t detailed enough to show how the wall was built. It’s solid masonry, supported on the frame by the simple detail of having the back-up wythes of brick sit on the floor slabs directly above the spandrel beams. The veneer is supported from the back-up by headers, and there are loose lintels over each window. That last item is how I am familiar with the building. In the summer of 1989, as part of repairs being performed for the second cycle of New York’s facade inspection law (we’re currently in the ninth cycle), I inspected every lintel in the building. I no longer remember the exact number of lintels, but there are more than 800 of them. There was a lot of going up and down on hung scaffolding. 

The summer of 1989 is also when the movie “Batman” was released, reviving what had become a gradually-failing franchise for DC Comics. I still wore a suit to the office in those days, but the hot weather had me wearing jeans and tee shirts on the scaffold; for the last few weeks of the inspection I was wearing a series of black tee-shirts with the Batman’s logo mid-chest. I had hopes that someone would see the yellow logo against the black through a window while sitting at his desk, triggering a “Batman sighted downtown” item in the news, but as far as I know it didn’t happen.