One of the most well-known skyscrapers in the Unites States is New York City’s Chrysler Building. This 77-story example of art deco styling was built between 1928 and 1930 and was the world’s tallest building for a few years. It was recently sold for a little more than $150 million, which is said to be a bargain since its future is uncertain. My favorite art deco high-rise is Vancouver, Canada’s Marine Building. It used to welcome visitors, but the last time I was there all the info about it had been removed. I was surprise during our time in Rochester, New York, to find that it too has a downtown art deco structure. It’s called the Times Square Building (TSB), and it’s topped by huge and unusual wings, making it look rather strange today. I don’t know why it’s not called the Wings of Progress Building, but I did discover that it was built at the same time as the Chrysler Building. However, at 13-storys TSB’s not nearly as tall. Some sources of information say that it has 14 levels. I didn’t count them.
The Chrysler Building’s unforgettable spire was put together the day before the stock market crash in 1929 according to the brochure that was handed to me by the man at the Times Square Building’s entry desk. Lacking the Chrysler Building’s awesome size and beauty despite its many art deco details, The Times Square Building’s cornerstone was laid on the same day as the Chrysler spire was begun. TSB’s architect, Ralph Walker, was highly respected at this time and very active. According to the brochure, Frank Lloyd Wright called Walker “The only other honest architect in America.” The TSB’s first tenant, the Genesee Valley Trust Bank, went out of business in 1955. The bank’s 38 ton vault is still in the basement. Today TSB at 45 Exchange Blvd. contains commercial ventures and T’s Times Square Cafe, which wasn’t opened when Ruth and I were there.
One of TSB’s more intriguing features is a time capsule that’s to be opened on the 100th anniversary of its first day of construction in 2029. I was also fascinated by the fact that an active nest of Peregrine Falcons has lived on its roof under the Wings of Progress since 2008.
Is it worth a trip to Rochester just to see this art deco building? No. So add the George Eastman home and complex to make it a completely worthwhile trip.