New York Life Building
|Location||51 Madison Avenue, Manhattan, New York City, New York|
|Area||2.5 acres (1.0 ha)|
|Architectural style||Gothic Revival|
|NRHP reference #||78001876|
|Added to NRHP||June 2, 1978|
|Designated NHL||June 2, 1978 |
|Designated NYCL||October 2, 2000|
Designed in 1926 by Cass Gilbert, who also designed the landmark Woolworth Building, the massive building rises forty stories to its pyramidal gilded roof while occupying the full block between 26th Street, 27th Street, Madison Avenue and Park Avenue South, a rarity in Manhattan. The New York Life Building stands 615 feet (187 m) tall and contains 40 floors. Inspired by Salisbury Cathedral, it was the last significant Gilbert skyscraper in Manhattan.
From 1837–1889, the site was occupied by the Union Depot of the New York and Harlem and the New York and New Haven Railroads, a concert garden, and P.T. Barnums Hippodrome. Until 1925, the site housed the first Madison Square Garden (1879), and the second one Madison Square Garden (1890) designed by architect Stanford White of the firm McKim, Mead & White.
The building was completed in 1928 after two years of construction at the cost of $21 million. It combines streamlined Gothic details and distinctly Moderne massing. The gold pyramid at the top consists of 25,000 gold-leaf tiles. The building was designated an official New York City landmark by the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2000, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic Landmark, designated in 1972. In 1995, after the pyramid was restored with new tiles and lit, the building received a Merit Citation Award from the New York Landmarks Conservancy.
The New York Life Insurance Company still maintains its headquarters in the building. It has leased extra office space through Cushman and Wakefield since 2004. Currently, it is tied with four other buildings, 750 7th Avenue, 919 Third Avenue, Tower 49, and The Epic in its position as the 118th tallest building in New York
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