new york giralda

Just like an article from the Ripley's Believe it or not!

Table of Contents

History

Believe it or not, more than 100 years ago, there was a replica of the Giralda in New York. This interpretation of our own was impressive in size almost 200m(656ft) tall.

With a body made of concrete and brick coating to resemble a bit more the Giralda. Adding just a little more history connections between US and Spain. Long ago, boats departed from Seville towards New York, from a pier that’s called, New York Pier. Passengers departed seeing how our Giralda disappears in the distance, only to be greeted by another one in the Big Apple. Sadly the latter is gone.

This New York Giralda tower was part of the second building that harbor the Madison Square Garden. The multipurpose building used for boxing combats, political conventions or concerts.

jfk giralda tower
Madison Square Garden Tower

This behemoth of tower was built in 1890 by architects Charles Mckim (1848-1909), William Rutherford Mead (1846-1928) and Stanford White (1853-1906). After such enterprise they became very popular and gain prestige. Inaugurated in the summer of 1890. The tower was an interpretation of Seville’s Giralda Tower only a bit  taller, about 200 meters in total or 656 feet and more robust. Crowning the tower was a statue of a Gilding Diana.

new york giralda
Madison Square Garden Tower

For this sculpture the model used was Mrs. Evelyn Nesbit, now here is where things get a little more sassy. Mrs. Nesbit was the wife of a millionaire tycoon linked to the railway, Mr. Harry Thaw. According to the newspapers and if gossips have any credibility, Mrs. Nesbit was having an affaire with architect White, whom was famous for being a playboy living a lavish life(insert Great Gatsby music) which brought him plenty of mishaps and prematurely ending his life.

Tragic Events

The night of June 25th 1906, Mr. White was enjoying a romantic dinner with his wife at the restaurant atop the tower, unbeknownst to what was about to happen. Later named the “crime of the century”. Mr. White was shot three times in the head by the offended husband Mr. Thaw, in front of hundreds of witnesses. Later, the man was excused for mental alienation. Let’s not forget that he was offended, upset, wealthy and had good team of lawyers.

The tower survived him few more years, until 1925 when it was demolished due to lack of payments. The demolition itself originated a wave of protest and the public opinion became more sensible to the idea of preserving singular buildings, even though they were not so old.

Today

gilding diana Seville
Gilding Diana (Seville)

Now back to the sculpture, it’s the only remaining physical element that survived the demolition of that tower and luckily is located in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Also there is a replica in the Metropolitan Museum of New York.

gilding diana jfk
Original Sculpture, New York circa 1890 (No King Kong around)

 On October 2019 a project to replicate Gilding Diana finally came alive, and since last year, a replica of Gilding Diana serves as a homage to that one that crowned the New York Tower 100 years ago. When you visit Seville, you’ll find her in the only place suitable, the New York Pier.

giralda tower placentines
Original Giralda Tower (Seville)

On a final personal note, can’t avoid to think of the New York Knicks having the Giralda as their logo, but that’s just me.

 

For more tours and info visit our Tours page!

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2 Comments

  1. Ana Milena

    Thank you for sharing that information with us. I had no idea about it!!

    • STCo.

      Thank you for your appreciation Mrs. Ana Milena I will keep posting interesting articles related to Andalucía and Spain in general.

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