Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, July 23, 2021

Take a stroll down to Manhattan’s Pearl Street, stop at Number 211, and squint hard at the brick exterior. You’ll see the brick pattern deliberately arranged to display three big triangle symbols.

Beyond that? Some historical speculation, but nothing concrete:

City tax records show the onetime warehouse was built for William Colgate — the civic-minded, deeply Christian soap entrepreneur who founded what is now Colgate Palmolive Co. and helped establish the American Bible Society. A spokesman says Colgate Palmolive has no record that the company, then headquartered elsewhere in Manhattan, used the Pearl Street building. But Colgate prized it enough to make special note of it in his will, [volunteer historian Alan] Solomon said.

To Solomon and some historians, Colgate’s ties to the building fueled a theory that the brickwork pattern had some Christian resonance.

The triangle has traditionally been used to represent the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity. And some scholars, while stressing the need for more research, thought the Pearl Street symbol evoked esotericism — efforts to delve for divine meaning in numbers, geometry, nature and elsewhere. The symbol was even the subject of a presentation at an academic conference on esotericism in Amsterdam in 2005.

There may be a much more mundane explanation for the symbols, like 19th-Century utility pipes. But it’s much more fun to pull for a Freemason connection!

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 07/23/2007 10:07:54 PM
Category: History, New Yorkin'
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