It's the building on the right. Image from

The US Custom House at 2nd and Chestnut Sts., most commonly known as the giant building where you got your passport, is currently undergoing serious exterior restoration. It was constructed between 1932 and 1934 and was a product of the New Deal job-creating WPA program (Works Progress Administration). Designed by local firm Ritter & Shay, it sits on a base that fits in well with its historical surroundings, but its stunning art deco tower clearly illustrates when it was actually built.

View from the west, near the Ritz 5

From the President himself!

The $25M restoration is being done by Grunley Construction Company, and is still on pace to be completed about a year from now. Along with the masonry restoration you’d expect, Grunley will also be improving the HVAC system, replacing and repairing windows, increasing the building’s energy efficiency, and adding a green roof. Just as the original construction was paid for with New Deal dollars, this renovation is being paid for with stimulus dollars. Federal money for job creation never goes out of style! Figuring for inflation, the restoration will cost a little less than half of what it cost to build the Custom House in the first place.

Important note: Despite what anyone might tell you, this is not where Dana Barrett lived. It’s not where Gozer was summoned. It wasn’t even designed by Ivo Shandor. You’re thinking of 55 Central Park West. Sorry.

Who you gonna call?