Photo by: Ralph Selitzer, DCAS
Manhattan Criminal Courthouse
100 Centre Street
New York, NY 10013
Date Built: 1938-1941
Architect: Wiley Corbett and Charles B. Meyers
The Criminal Courts Building is located on the block surrounded by Centre, Leonard,
Baxter and White Streets. It currently houses the Criminal and Supreme Courts, the
District Attorney, Legal Aid, offices for the Police Department, Department of Correction,
and Department of Probation.
The Criminal Courthouse was designed by Wiley Corbett and Charles B. Meyers. Construction
began in 1938 and was completed in 1941, at a cost of $14 million. The site, formerly
known as Collect Pond, had been the location of the old 1894 Criminal Courthouse
and the old Tombs prison.
The seventeen-story Art Deco courthouse has a steel frame and a granite and limestone
facade. The building is composed of four towers in front, with a jail behind. The
taller center tower is stepped, like a ziggurat. The windows and spandrel form vertical
bands alternating with the stone piers. The imposing entrance consists of two huge,
freestanding granite columns. A wing designed by the Gruzen Partnership was added
One of the original designers, Harvey Wiley Corbett (1873-1954), was one of the
architects who planned Rockefeller Center. He also designed the Art Deco style North
Building of Metropolitan Life. Charles B. Meyers (1875-1958) designed the Family
Courthouse at 135-43 East 22nd Street, the unusual Art Deco/Byzantine style Main
Building of Yeshiva University, and the former Municipal Health Building nearby
at 125 Worth Street. He won a gold medal for his New York State building at the
1915 Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco.
On the inside, a hanging clock marks the center of the two-story high marble lobby.
There are Art Deco lighting fixtures and metal doors and two grand staircases with
ornamental railings. The simple courtrooms have wood wainscoting and Art Deco lighting
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