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New York Daily Photo: The Watchtower
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Tuesday, 28 August 2007

The Watchtower

The Watchtower sign on the Brooklyn waterfront is a site nearly every New Yorker knows has seen - it's visible from many vantage points. And most of us know that this is headquarters for the Jehovah's Witnesses and their publication - Watchtower Magazine. The term Watchtower is a shortened version of the official name of the corporate entity in use by the religious organization and publishing division: The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. The offices at 25 Columbia Street (where the sign is located) is not only the New York bethel, but world headquarters. The corporate entity is one of the 40 largest companies in NYC with annual revenues of nearly 1 billion dollars. New Yorkers have also heard over the years that the religious organization owns much property in Brooklyn Heights - the subject of much controversy and covered in many articles over the years. As it turns out, this is true - they have been in the neighborhood since 1909 and own 18 properties there. They also own 12 properties in nearby Dumbo - click here for a posting on Dumbo and links to several others. In 2004, they started divesting and selling off properties (they are selling 6 of the 18) including the Standish Arms Hotel on Columbia Heights and 360 Furman St., a former Bible shipping facility (sold for $205 million) and being developed into luxury condos, One Brooklyn Bridge Park. The printing business has been consolidated to their Walkill, NY facility. Click here for a photo tour through the properties showing their printing facilities, residences (members live in a number of corporate owned buildings), the laundry building, etc. The religious beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses are quite a unique departure from mainstream Christianity. Only 144,000 will be chosen for immortal life. The wicked will be destroyed; the rest of mankind will live in earthly paradise during the Millennium ...


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