The Equitable Life Insurance Building was the tallest in the world for 14 years, until it was overtaken by the Home Insurance Building in Chicago. However, that building, in turn, lost its title to the New York World Building in 1890, which at 309 feet was over twice the size of the Home Insurance Building. In the foreground in the 1905 photo above is New York City Hall, and the World Building is directly across Park Row, which was also known as Newspaper Row because of the number of newspapers that were headquartered there. The World Building was, obviously, owned by the New York World, the newspaper owned by Joseph Pulitzer (for whom the Pulitzer Prize is named). It is also argued by some that the World Series was named after the newspaper.
This photo, which appears to have been taken the same day as the one above from approximately the same spot, shows City Hall Park with the "Newspaper Row" buildings in the background. From left to right, they are the New York World Building, New York Tribune Building, New York Times Building, and the Potter Building, which was built on the site of the World's former headquarters.
Now, the last question is, what became of this early pioneer of skyscraper architecture?
It was demolished in 1955 to expand the approaches to the Brooklyn Bridge. It would have been in the right hand side of this photo, which was taken February 2012.