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New York Daily Photo: Gang Wars
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Friday, 17 August 2007

Gang Wars

Between 1823 (with the formation of the New York Gas Light Company), and 1877 there were six competing gas companies in NYC - at times employees literally battling for customers in the streets - leading to the term "gas house gangs." Add to this brew Edison's invention of the electric light bulb in 1879 and the creation of Equitable Gas, backed by Rockefeller. The competing gas companies were forced to remarket and promote gas for other purposes. In 1884 came the inevitable merger of the six companies forming the Consolidated Gas Company of New York. Offices were established at 4 Irving Place (where the current offices and tower are located) at the home of the Manhattan Gas Light Company in an Italianate brownstone. Acquisitions of various electric companies were made including the New York Edison Company. In 1936, the name was changed to the Consolidated Edison Company. ConEd is the product of acquisitions and mergers of more than 170 companies. The office buildings of ConEd are a assemblage of structures built at different times, starting with a 12 story building designed by Henry Hardenbergh in 1910 at 15th and Irving, culminating in the 26 story building (seen in the photo) designed by Warren and Wetmore, known for their Beaux Arts work such as Grand Central. The limestone clad building is quite prominent in the night skyline of NYC with its numerous illuminated features: a 3-story tower with Doric colonnade, four clock faces and a 38 foot bronze lantern. This is one of a handful of iconic Manhattan buildings which can be seen from many vantage points along with the Met Life Tower, the New York Life Tower, the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, the Zeckendorf Towers ... Please learn your illuminated buildings - there will be a quiz :)


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