Manhattan: Financial District/
East side of Broadway between Cedar St. and Pine St.
The sheer volume of the 1915 headquarters building for the Equitable Insurance Company convinced the city that it needed a better zoning law. That 1916 law allowed buildings to build to the top of their allotted air space, but only with setbacks or steps that allowed sunlight to more easily reach the street and surrounding buildings. What began as a legal requirement formed a staple of Art Deco skyscraper design.