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New York Life Building

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Identification

New York Life Building
New York Life Insurance Company Building
115516

Map

Structure in General

skyscraper
existing [completed]
steel
applied masonry
neo-gothic

Usages

commercial office

Facts

  • New York Life's desire for a monumental headquarters building allowed Gilbert to finally achieve his wish of creating a skyscraper clad in stone.
  • The structure's pyramidal tower makes the building a distinctive contribution to the Madison Square neighborhood and the New York City skyline.
  • The 40-story tower (thirty-four stories plus the six-story crown) for the New York Life Insurance Company, one of the "big three" insurance companies, was designed by noted architect Cass Gilbert in 1926 and constructed in 1927-28.
  • The building is Gilbert's third and final version of the neo-Gothic skyscraper in New York City, following the successful use of the style for 90 West Street in 1907 and later for the 1913 Woolworth Building (both designated New York City Landmarks).
  • With the New York Life Insurance Company design, Gilbert melded the neo-Gothic embellishments of his earlier buildings with the cubic geometries of 1920s skyscrapers, making this building a significant transition from the historical revival-style skyscrapers of the 1900s to the Art Deco towers of the late 1920s.
  • The New York Life Building, the most prominent insurance company building constructed between World War I and the Great Depression, was also the last signature home office building constructed for an insurance company in New York City.
  • The building is clad in white limestone and occupies the whole block. The tower is set well back from the base, and is capped at 187.5 m with an octagonal golden spire.

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More Information

Location

45-55 Madison Avenue
364-378 Park Avenue South, 24-50 East 27th Street, 31-51 East 26th Street
51 Madison Avenue to Park Avenue, East 26th to East 27th Streets
10010
Midtown South
Manhattan
New York City
New York
U.S.A.

Technical Data

615.16 ft
615.16 ft
615.16 ft
40
1926
1928

Involved Companies

Cass Gilbert

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Features & Amenities

  • City landmark
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