Stephen Hatch designed this building in 1894 for James A. Roosevelt and Robert Barnwell Roosevelt. It was home to the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, famous for its early advances in filmmaking technology and one of the first American film studios. Brick piers supporting a track were installed on the building roof, allowing Biograph’s early film cameras to follow the sun and optimize natural light for filming. The company also developed the Biograph projector while here, allowing the film industry to shift from solitary viewers to a group audience. This projector was the beginning of the commercial motion-picture industry. 841 is an iron and steel–framed building with a roman brick facade. The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission cited the building as an example of the “high-rise commercial development that occurred south of Union Square during the late 19th century using innovative new technology such as elevators, electricity, and metal framing.”

For more information on the history of these and other buildings South of Union Square, click here.

See all Architecture of South of Union Square photos here.

Photos by Dylan Chandler