The Equitable Building

The Equitable Building in lower Manhattan at 120 Broadway sits between Pine and Cedar Streets, a few blocks north of Wall Street, and is one of the giants in the Canyon of Heroes. Completed in 1915, it was once the largest office building in the world, with its dual 538 feet towers hosting 40 stories of office space. It is 100 years old and happens to be a building and location I think about often.

In 2005, I had a chance to work in that building as a summer intern between my 2L and 3L year of law school. It was a valuable experience, especially in that it taught me what I did not want to do after graduation. And so it was ironic that when I did graduate the following year, my first job out of law school was with a law firm headquartered in the Equitable Building.

Starting in September 2006, I had my first office on Wall Street, both literally and figuratively, given that I was working on capital markets transactions and was two blocks from Wall Street. I had an office on the 32nd floor with a view, that if I craned my neck to the west enough, looked down on the hole that was once the World Trade Center. Back then, almost ten years ago, lower Manhattan was a mess of construction and a world away from what the Fulton Street/WTC area has now become.

I took the subway downtown from GCT each morning on my way to the office, and while it would have been more convenient to take the 4/5 train all the way to Wall St. and come up to ground level directly into the lobby of the Equitable Building, I often chose instead to take the local 6 train down to the end of the line at Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall. From there, I would walk the remainder of the way south on Broadway, cutting through City Hall Park and my favorite fountain in all of the city (the one with the gas-lit lamps). Passing the red cube at 140 Broadway and the grunginess of Zucotti Park to my west (before the renovation), I would enter the Equitable Building and be whisked away upwards, another shark in a suit.

It feels like it was just yesterday that the 6 train was part of my commute. I miss it, but also feel glad I am no longer subject to the whims and delays of public transportation. But back then, I loved New York. It was my city and I was one of its inhabitants, a history in the making. As I sit here today as the father of four in a suburban Salt Lake City home, I can say I love New York in a different way than I used to, where I admire it from a distance but feel at home in its grasp. And while I was there, I lived history. The Equitable Building will always be a part of me.

 

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