The Astor House was an imposing building that stood out from its surroundings. Many images show it looming over the intersection far higher than its six stories, perhaps to emphasize the hotel’s significance in life on Broadway.
The capacity of Broadway to accommodate an amount of travel so vast, arises from the fact that vehicles can turn out of each other’s way, that their movements are regulated by police, stationed at all important points, and that none of them are entitled to occupy any particular portion of the street. . . [or have] the right to compel others to keep out of the way.
– Documents of the Assembly of the State of New York 105, March 20, 1861
What an edifice! How grand, imposing, and how massive! Built ‘not for a day but for all time,’ its huge front of ever-enduring granite presents a striking contrast with the frail structures of brick and mortar which surround it.
– William Bobo, Glimpses of New York City, 1852