It Looked Familiar: Triangulation

The caption on the top line adds the confusion of DC Comics starting to use real place names: if this part of a Batman comic is taking place in New York, what is Gotham City? In any case, in the main frame here there ae two reasonably-well known buildings: the building on the far left with the elongated-checkerboard facade is the office building at 26 Federal Plaza in lower Manhattan, now known as the Jacob L. Javitz Federal Building after a former New York senator. The drawing even shows the odd change in facade style at the top of the building.

The brown building to its right, with a pointy top, is not drawn quite right, but it’s recognizable: that’s the federal court house at 40 Centre Street, more or less across Foley Square from 26 Federal Plaza, and now known as the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse after the former Supreme Court Justice. The actual building has a hip roof rather than the gable shown here.

If we have two points on a map, we should be able to figure out what direction we’re looking. “B” represents 26 Federal Plaza, “A” represents the courthouse:

In the drawing, the courthouse is on the right, the office building is closer to us, and the angle compresses the slightly-more-than-a-block distance between them. So we’re looking at a line of sight close to parallel to the line connecting the two buildings. We are looking southeast from somewhere in Tribeca; given the fact that we’re at about the 20th floor elevation, we may be in one of the new luxury high-rise residential buildings there: a good place for a comic-book villain or hero to live. But the view is wrong in the drawing, as we should be seeing the open space of the Brooklyn Bridge approach and the bridge off in the distance.

Scroll to Top