Architect Cyrus Lazelle Warner Eidlitz was born on July 27, 1853, in New York, New York. His father, Prague-born architect Leopold Eidlitz, was an influential theorist who became a founding member of the American Institute of Architects External in 1857. Educated in New York and Europe, the younger Eidlitz is known for designing numerous public buildings, including Chicago’s Dearborn Station and the Buffalo Public Library. Cyrus Eidlitz’s work, like that of his father, was especially influenced by Gothic and Romanesque revival styles of the second half of the nineteenth century.
In 1904, Cyrus Eidlitz collaborated with Alexander McKenzie on the New York Times Building—a steel-framed skyscraper with Beaux-Arts facade and Gothic accents created for New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs. Located at the intersection of 7th Avenue, Broadway, and 42nd Street, the building filled a triangle at the base of Longacre Square, soon renamed Times Square in honor of the building. When it opened the Times Building was the second tallest in Manhattan, and soon became the cornerstone of a growing Broadway theater district. By the 1930s, dozens of theaters, including the Ziegfeld Theater, competed for audiences in and around Times Square.
At the urging of Arthur Ochs, Eidlitz and McKenzie connected the Times Building underground to the 42nd Street subway station. As early as 1904, New Yorkers were riding the subway from City Hall in lower Manhattan to 145th Street in just twenty-six minutes.
Within a decade, the newspaper outgrew the Times Building and moved to larger quarters. After it was sold in 1961, the original ornate facade was replaced by shear walls of concrete and marble. Today, the well-known tower at One Times Square is rarely used by tenants, but instead is covered in large and elaborate electronic billboards that almost overwhelm the familiar news ticker, a descendent of the first scrolling text bar installed in lights around the building in 1928. Even so, the tower remains a focal point of Times Square, where since 1907 crowds have gathered every December 31 to watch the lighted ball on its roof drop as they welcome in the new year.
- Search Today in History on architect to read about Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and others. Search on skyscraper to learn about other tall buildings such as the Empire State Building, also in New York City.
- Search the Gottscho-Schleisner Collection on Times Square to view additional photographs.
- The Life of a City: Early Films of New York, 1898 to 1906 contains forty-five early films of the city. One records the view from the top of the newly erected Times Building, while another film documents excavation of the Macy Building foundation. Find out What Happened on 23rd Street, New York City one fine day in 1901.
- For a wide variety of features related to New York City, including the filming of the 1906 The Skyscrapers of New York, search Today in History on New York.