Monday, September 22, 2008
Noticed this building on 20th Street on Fifth Avenue last week and naturally had to puzzle over the meaning of "MBC." This red-brick edifice, something of an anomaly among its white limestone neighbors, was the headquarters of the "Methodist Book Concern" from its completion in 1890 until the offices moved to Nashville in 1939. According to the New York Times, this was a "vital hub of Methodism, whose press room, composing room and bindery turned out thousands of books, tracts and periodicals for nearly half a century. It even has a time capsule under the cornerstone (1888) containing copies of the religious weeklies of that time. Not visible from the street are 11 skylights on the top floor, installed to illuminate the printers' composing tables. The building underwent a $6 million renovation in 2001.