IRT Powerhouse

The IRT Powerhouse (Interborough Rapid Transit Powerhouse) is a former power station of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company. Built in 1904, the "thoroughly classical colossus of a building"[1] fills the entire block between 58th to 59th Street, and from 11th to 12th Avenues in Riverside South, Manhattan.[2] Since the building became unnecessary to the subway system in the 1950s,[2] Consolidated Edison has used the space to supply the New York City steam system.[3]

IRT Powerhouse
The smokestack of the IRT Powerhouse
Floral detail

The powerhouse is an elaborately detailed Renaissance Revival building.[2] The architect was Stanford White of McKim, Mead & White.[4] The building's magnificence and ornate details reflect the ideas of the City Beautiful movement.[2] It has been described as "a classical temple that paid homage to modern industry.[5] According to the Municipal Art Society, many of the building's original details are intact, although in March 2009, the Consolidated Edison Company removed the last of its original smokestacks. However, one smokestack built in 1967 remains.[2][6] The building originally had six smokestacks, designed to echo the smokestacks on the great steamships at the nearby Hudson River piers.[1]

In 2015 the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission prioritized the powerhouse for designation as a city landmark. There was almost no opposition, except from two representatives of Consolidated Edison.[7] On December 5, 2017, the IRT Powerhouse became a New York City Landmark.[8]


  1. ^ a b Glueck, Grace (April 18, 1997). "Appreciating the Palaces of a Sumptuous Past". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-02-28.
  2. ^ a b c d e Baldock, Melissa (March 19, 2009). "IRT Powerhouse: Hoping Third Time's A Charm for Landmarking". Municipal Arts Society of New York.
  3. ^ Taking in the Subway's Old Powerhouse The Mindful Walker, August 10th, 2009
  4. ^ Lowe, David (1999). Stanford White's New York. Watson-Guptill. p. 194.
  5. ^ Hood, Clifton (2004). 722 Miles: The Building of the Subways and How They Transformed New York. JHU Press. p. 94. ISBN 978-0-8018-8054-4.
  6. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (May 11, 2009). "After 2 Years, a Meeting on Village Landmarks". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-02-28.
  7. ^ Bindelglass, Evan (November 6, 2015). "Public Strongly Supports Landmarking The Former IRT Powerhouse On The Far West Side". New York Yimby.
  8. ^ Warerkar, Tanay (December 5, 2017). "Stanford White's Beaux Arts IRT powerhouse is now a NYC landmark". Curbed NY. Retrieved 2017-12-17.

External linksEdit

  Media related to IRT Main Powerhouse at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 40°46′19″N 73°59′32″W / 40.77194°N 73.99222°W / 40.77194; -73.99222