When opened in 1972, 55 Water Street was the largest privately owned office building in the world; today, only the Pentagon, the World Trade Center and Sears Tower surpass it in rentable area. The building's massive bulk is an outgrowth of a 1959 urban renewal plan. The City proposed purchasing the blocks surrounding Water Street and demapping smaller cross streets to create a superblock large enough to accommodate a new home for the New York Stock Exchange. When the project collapsed, individual developers were offered the superblock site at 55 Water Street in return for providing a number of public amenities, including a plaza and the renovation of an adjacent park. The unusually large lot of 3.7 acres (162,000 ft2) spawned a complex that includes a 56-story tower and a 15-story annex. With floorplates of 60,000 ft2 in the tower and 30,000 ft2 in the annex, base floors are twice as big as the World Trade Center's. 55 Water also features an exercise room, rooftop deck, underground parking, storage lockers, workshop and common boardroom. This massive 56 storey building was the largest office building in the world when completed. It contains 278 800 square metres of office space. The building has vertical striping of windows on its upper floors, and horizontal striping on its lower floors.
A wide variety of cultural, shopping and dining options are available to the office tenants at 55 Water Street, you can get to Penn Station by the Subway Access, take the Downtown 2 or 3 trains (of the 1-2-3, the red line) from 34th Street-Penn Station to Wall Street. You'll exit the subway on William Street, between Wall Street.
Surrounded by a cadre of corporate icons, the 55 Water Street office is as accessible to the metropolitan area transit network as it is to Lower Manhattan's varied mix of commerce, culture and recreation. Plans call for a nearby Second Avenue subway station, a new Whitehall Ferry Terminal, a proposed Guggenheim Museum cultural complex, the implementation of the East River Waterfront Plan, and the proposed redevelopment of Water Street as an engaging commercial boulevard, connecting businesses which occupy the towers above to the exciting residential, retail and cultural developments taking shape all around Water Street.
• The biggest and tallest building on the East River downtown waterfront.
• The development is built on a superblock created from four joint city blocks -- an arrangement made in co-operation with the Office of Lower Manhattan Development, which expected provision of public amenities in return.
• The plaza was originally designed as a part of a series of high-level public spaces along East River, to be connected with walkways running above the street level.
• To the north of the tower is a 15-storey wing with a sloping facade and terraces facing the river and, in front of it, an elevated plaza on top of a parking garage, reachable by a high escalator ride.
• The facade of the tower slab uses variably vertical and horizontal striping for decoration, the grid pattern of the lower facade changing to vertical striping for the upper three-fourths.
• When it opened in 1972 55 Water was the largest office building in the world.
• The building is of basic International Style, contrasting with the neighbouring Two New York Plaza of the same era.
• Largest building in New York by floor area; the only building in the country with a larger floor area is the Sears Tower in Chicago