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NYTimes: Moving Stories

New Yorkers move. Often. Each neighborhood, street and building we live in says something about us. The New York Times is no different. Like many New Yorkers, its first digs were humble. On September 18, 1851 it began publishing at 113 Nassau Street between Ann and Beekman Streets in the Financial District. Known then as The New York Daily Times, it occupied an unfinished fifth floor loft. The gaslight fixtures had not been installed, so editors and reporters worked by candlelight. Since the windows hadn’t been installed either, the breeze blew out the candles.

The New York Times didn’t stay there long. In 1854, it moved one block and rented 138 Nassau Street at Beekman Street. Only four years later, it moved another block to 41 Park Row at Spruce Street, where it built The New York Times Building, the first specifically constructed to house a newspaper in New York. The five-story stone building was designed by Thomas R. Jackson, a prolific if unsung architect known for purpose built projects, in the Romanesque Revival style.

In the 1870’s The Tribune built a taller building. In 1888, the Times responded. George B. Post, a celebrated architect-engineer known for pushing the boundaries of design for commercial projects with new requirements, was commissioned to design a grander – and of course taller – Romanesque building. Thirteen stories, with Maine granite and Indiana limestone arches, were constructed around the core of the original building. In 1896, Adolph Ochs bought the paper and hired Robert Maynicke to remove the original mansard roof and add three additional stories. The building, owned by Pace University since 1951, is the oldest survivor of what was once “Newspaper Row.”

In 1905, The New York Times departed Printing House Square to move to Midtown. It arrived at what had been known as Long Acre Square, a neighborhood of rooming houses, small factories and questionable entertainment. This lent a cachet (which has waxed and waned over the years) to the newly renamed Times Square to rival that of Herald Square, its competitor’s location a short walk south on Broadway.

This was not the Times last move. Since 1904 The Times has occupied three major midtown locations, including The Times Tower at 1 Times Square, the Times Annex, and its current home at the New Times Tower at 620 Eighth Avenue, as well as its virtual location that adds on 350 more stories each day.

— Carol Cofone