The Equitable, 730 17th Street, smack in the center of downtown. Unlike some American architecture of this period (late 19th C.) that inspired the Bauhaus designers and other modernists with its no-nonsense lines, the Equitable is largely nonsense. Hoping to be a solid authoritarian bank building at its base and a frilly neo-RomanoRenaissance something or other above, the design teeters between brands of fakery but somehow pulls it off.

The lobby is garish yet impressive. Quite different, and better, than the sizable-panel motif (marble, aluminum, stone, plexiglass ...) that dominates the lobbies of late 20th Century office buildings, much of the Equitable's ground floor is meticulously tiled. The upper floors have an elegant noir feel with burgundy tiled halls and mood lighting -- perhaps the classiest hallways in the entire downtown area and certainly the most likely to appear in any movie involving flappers, grifters or Andy Garcia. The Equitable is an old star that certainly deserves a look, if you're in the neighborhood.