William & Anita Newman Vertical Campus



Bull's Head Market (Grafton, John, New
York
in the Nineteenth Century: 317
Engravings from "Harper's Weekly"
and Other Contemporary Sources New
York: Dower Publication Inc, 1980, pg
206.
East 24th street - East 25th street between Lexington and third avenue Perris, 1854
(From the Baruch College Archives)


The future site of the Newman Vertical Campus was originally part of Rose Hill Farm, encompassing 25 blocks prior to the Revolutionary War, and was purchased in 1790 by General Horatio Gates. The area remained mostly undeveloped and was made up primarily of open fields. In the first part of the 19th century the Bull's Head Market relocated into the neighborhood of the Free Academy and the area became known as Bull's Head Village - the site of the city's main cattle markets and slaughterhouses. By the middle of the 19th century the site of the future Newman Vertical Campus had been developed. There were a number of stables and a coal yard on the block, as well as a number of businesses other than livestock, including a grocery, a boot and shoe store, an eating house, a variety store, and a barber shop. Among the residents of the block were a lawyer, a pianomaker, a stonecutter, a milliner, a steamboat inspector, an importer, a carpenter, a blacksmith, a driver, a coachman, a drover, a stable hand, and a horse dealer. (Miscellaneous archival site B files, pg 13, Baruch College Archives)


NYT, October 1, 1898 pg. 11
NYT, June 9, 1912, pg x16

In the second half of the 19th century, the firm of Fiss Doerr & Carroll built two auction marts and a seven story stable and took over another stable on 24th Street. The first auction mart built in 1907 was unique, covering 13,000 square feet.

In the New York Times article the author cited the Architects' and Builders' Magazine which stated that Horgan & Slattery, the designers had decided to abandon all former conventions in its design . The six story stable next door featured a roof paved with hard brick in order to bring the horses up to exercise them. At the time it was the highest horse-exercising space in New York City.


The company was the last great horse enterprise in New York City, proclaiming themselves to be the largest horse supplier in the world. The automobile would all but kill horse trading, but for a relatively brief period of time horses shared New York City with cars and trains. It was not uncommon for horses to be spooked by these new innovations. One such case happened in 1898 when horses belonging to some of the Rough Riders, back from the war in Cuba, were brought to 24th Street to be sold at auction. The New York Times article described what happened next:


NYT July 6, 1919, pg. 33
NYT May 23, 1925 , pg 13.
NYT November 15, 1920, pg 21.

NYT February 26, 1928, pg. 159

James D. Carroll, the proprietor of the horse business knew that it was only a matter of time before the demise of his business. After his death in 1912, his will stipulated that the business be liquidated, which happened almost immediately after his passing. For a time the main horse mart was still used for large auctions but the premiere attraction became the boxing fights staged by the Pioneer Sporting Club. The horse mart became a leading boxing venue in New York with its 3,500 seats rarely empty. In 1928 the site was sold to the R&T Garage Company, which installed two intermediate floors for parking and removed the balcony and ornate ceiling.

The smaller horse mart was bought by Kauffman Saddlery which moved there in 1920 from Division Street. Kauffman was already well established and had existed for almost half a century, but it was during its location on 24th Street that they became truly renowned, helping to make that street "the equine epicenter" of New York.


Among the many famous people to grace the store with their business was New York governor and presidential candidate Alfred Smith, who bought a pony for his grandson and then drove it in his limousine to Kauffman's to be outfitted. (Leslie, Maitland "Kauffman Marks Century as Saddlery," The New York Times, April 29, 1975, pg 70.)

Recording Session at RCA
1956
Elvis Photos © Alfred Wertheimer
All rights reserved
Recording Session at RCA
1956
Elvis Photos © Alfred Wertheimer
All rights reserved
Recording Session at RCA
1956
Elvis Photos © Alfred Wertheimer
All rights reserved

The seven floor stable next to the horse mart became a recording studio in 1955 when RCA-Victor Records moved their offices there from Rockefeller Center. A few months later, a young, still relatively unknown singer named Elvis Presley visited the studio and recorded some of his first songs that would make him known worldwide. Alfred Wertheimer, a photographer who followed Elvis described the last time that they had recorded in that studio.


Baruch College Undergraduate Student Handbook 1983/1984, pg 48
(From the Baruch College Archives)

Baruch gained independence from City College in 1968 and was soon one of the most popular of the CUNY colleges. However, since its inception, the college suffered from inadequate facilities and insufficient space. Very soon after independence, it acquired the former seven story stable and former recording studio for its use as a library, office space and classes. To try and alleviate the crowding, Baruch began to rely on leased properties, which eventually made up almost forty percent of its space, spread out from 18th to 26th Streets, a distance of almost a third of a mile. The gymnasium and pool space was far below the size requirements for college athletics, forcing some events to take place in the 25th Street Armory.

Master Plan, 41
(From the Baruch College Archives)


(Rollover image -> back view of building)

Master Plan, 32-33
(From the Baruch College Archives)


A long term solution had to be found and the Baruch College Master Plan of 1986 addressed the situation. The plan envisioned a campus consisting of two parts. The south campus made up of buildings from 22nd to 23rd Street already part of Baruch and including the 17 Lexington Avenue building. The new north campus would be located between 24th and 26th Streets, east of Lexington and would include a building on 25th street for the new library, computer centers and student administration offices, denoted as site A; and a much larger site opposite on 24th Street called site B - which would become the Newman Vertical Campus. This plan would finally consolidate the campus.

View from Interior of the Vertical Campus
Master Plan, 36
(From the Baruch College Archives)

The Newman Vertical Campus, the most ambitious part of the project, was going to be a state of the art building taking up almost the entire block from Lexington Avenue to Third Avenue.

Old Campus Overview ca. 1986
Master Plan, 4
(From the Baruch College Archives)

Lexington Avenue between 24th and 25th Street, ca. 1986
Master Plan, 38
(From the Baruch College Archives)

The plan called for the completion of the campus by 1992, but before it could be accomplished funds had to be raised and the rest of the property had to be acquired. Site A required the acquisition of only one building but on site B, Baruch would have to acquire other properties which included three low rise retail units, two garages, a vacant lot and two single room occupancy hotels with a total of 157 units. The plan took fifteen years before it became a reality.

The Gramercy Hotel
The Ticker, September 17, 1997, pg. 1

Much of the land was acquired by 1994 but not everyone wanted to leave. The most vocal opponents were the twenty or so remaining residents of two single room occupancy hotels - The Gramercy Hotel on the corner of Lexington and 24th Street and the Amsterdam Hotel. The Pulitzer prize winning journalist and author Murray Kempton lived in the Gramercy Hotel in the 1970's when he was down on his luck and forced to seek a cheap shelter for himself calling it "...an artifact of that lost time when the near-indigent New Yorker could take for granted his convenient access to a premise where he could lay down his head in peace." He related his experiences:


Groundbreaking Ceremony Invitation
1997
(From the Baruch College Archives)
Groundbreaking
1997
(From the Baruch College Archives)
Groundbreaking
1997
(From the Baruch College Archives)

Groundbreaking Ceremony
1997


(From the Baruch College Archives)
First Clump of Dirt from 1997
the Groundbreaking Ceremony
(From the Baruch College Archives)

Finally on June 24, 1997, more than a decade after its planning and after ten buildings that stood on the site were destroyed, ground was broken for the Vertical Campus.

Construction of Vertical Campus
ca. 1997
(From the Baruch College Archives)
Construction of Vertical Campus
ca. 1997
(From the Baruch College Archives)

Approximately 65,000 cubic feet (about 140,000 tons) of bedrock had to be chopped out before construction could begin. With up to 30 feet of bedrock to be excavated at and a price of $25,000 for every linear inch it was a laborious and costly task. (Dunlap, David W. "A 17 Level Vertical Campus, It is to Cost 270 Million,"The New York Times, November 29, 1998, pg, re1).

(Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC,
New Academic Complex The City University of New
York/Baruch College, pg 5)
(Kohn, Pederson Fox Associates, P.C
Baruch Academic Complex Design, pg 12)

(Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC, Kohn, Pederson Fox Associates, P.C. Baruch Academic Complex
Design, Pg. 13
(Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC,
New Academic Complex The City University of New
York/Baruch College, pg 4)

(Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC,
New Academic Complex The City University of New
York/Baruch College, pg 4)

The completed Newman Vertical Campus opened on August 27, 2001, welcoming the incoming class of '05. Seven years after its opening the Vertical Campus has become a fixture in the Flatiron District and turns the heads of many a tourist and potential student who visit the area.