Helmsley Building

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Helmsley Building
Helmsley 47 partsun jeh.jpg
Former namesNew York General Building
New York Central Building
General information
Architectural styleBeaux-Arts
Address230 Park Avenue
Town or cityManhattan, New York City, New York
CountryUnited States
Coordinates40°45′16″N 73°58′33″W / 40.75444°N 73.97583°W / 40.75444; -73.97583Coordinates: 40°45′16″N 73°58′33″W / 40.75444°N 73.97583°W / 40.75444; -73.97583
Construction started1927
OwnerRXR Realty
Height565 feet (172 m)
Technical details
Floor count35
Design and construction
Architecture firmWarren and Wetmore
DeveloperNew York Central Railroad Company
Designated31 March 1987
Reference no.LP-1297

The Helmsley Building is a 35-story building located at 230 Park Avenue between East 45th and East 46th Streets in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, which was built in 1929 as the New York Central Building, and was designed by Warren & Wetmore, the architects of Grand Central Terminal, in the Beaux-Arts style. Before the completion of the Pan Am Building—now the MetLife Building—this building stood out over one of the city's most prestigious avenues as the tallest structure in the great "Terminal City" complex around Grand Central.[2][3] The building was designated a New York City Landmark in 1987.[4]

Traffic exits and enters the Park Avenue Viaduct through the building, through two portals, one for uptown traffic and one for downtown. They connect to Park Avenue proper at East 46th Street.


Tower top, from the south side
Clock and sculptures over the entrance


The building is a slab-sided skyscraper between East 45th and East 46th Street, with a distinctive design that includes a means of transporting Park Avenue from street level to the divided aerial highway that passes through the building, and then around Grand Central Terminal to 42nd Street, and then back to street level. The top of the building is pyramidal, and capped by an ornate cupola.[4]


The lobby stretches between 45th and 46th Streets, with a passageway on either side. The interior is designed to evoke New York Central's "prowess". This is evidenced in the walls, which are made of marble, as well as the detailing of the bronze that "includes extensive use of the railroad’s initials". The elevators contain doors painted "Chinese red", and the interiors of the cabs have "red walls, wood moldings, gift domes, and painted cloudscapes".[4]


New York Central Building[edit]

Before the electrification of the New York Central Railroad in 1903–1913, the neighborhood north of Grand Central Terminal was occupied by open-air railway yards and tracks used by steam locomotives. The electrification and subsequent covering of the yards enabled the continuation of Park Avenue to the north and the construction of new buildings with foundations inside the rail yards in what became the Terminal City development. The New York Central Building was one of the new structures within Terminal City.[2]

In 1913, New York Central unveiled a concept for a visual termination point in the city. The original plan was to have this structure be over the railroad's Grand Central Terminal, which contained a simple limestone facade on its northern elevation.[5] However, it was later built just across the street to the north. New York Central built their 34-story headquarters at 230 Park Avenue in 1929.[5]

On September 10, 1931, capo di tutti capi Salvatore Maranzano was murdered in his ninth-floor office here by hitmen sent by Lucky Luciano and Vito Genovese, ambitious underlings whom Maranzano had hired Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll to kill.[6]

New York General Building[edit]

Uptown traffic exits the Park Avenue Viaduct through the eastern portal of the Helmsley Building during "Summer Streets", when 7 miles of New York City streets are closed to vehicular traffic.

When New York Central sold the building, General Tire & Rubber Company renamed the building the New York General Building. The building was easily renamed as the "C" and "T" in Central were chiseled into "G" and "E" respectively.

The Helmsley Building[edit]

When General Tire & Rubber Company sold the building to Helmsley-Spear, Leona Helmsley renamed the building The Helmsley Building, which is its current name. The deal in which the ownership of this 2,300,000 sq ft (210,000 m2) building, which was owned by the Helmsley-Spear Management until August 1998, changed hands stipulated that the building would not be renamed again. The building was purchased by Max Capital for $253 million, but in 2006 was sold again to Istithmar, an investment firm owned by the royal family of Dubai, for $705 million. It was later sold to Goldman Sachs in 2007 for over $1 billion.[7]

In May 2015, the building was sold for $1.2 billion to property firm RXR Realty.[8]


In popular culture[edit]

  • One of the promotional posters for the 2008 film The Dark Knight shows the building with an explosion the shape of the Batman emblem on its upper floors.
  • The building is shown as one of the skyscrapers still standing in the movie A.I. Artificial Intelligence.
  • It was also used as one of the New York City filming locations for the non-narrative film Baraka.
  • An interior boardroom was used in The Godfather, as the location of an important meeting between New York's Five Families, to show their influence in society. Railroad murals can be seen behind the actors. However, the exterior used for the shot was the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Building at 33 Liberty Street.
  • In Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, the Helmsley Building is described as the Taggart Transcontinental Railroad Building, the office of the protagonist of the novel, Dagny Taggart.


  1. ^ "230 Park Avenue". Emporis. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "The Helmsley Building". Retrieved May 17, 2006.
  3. ^ White, Norval & Willensky, Elliot; AIA Guide to New York City, 4th Edition; New York Chapter, American Institute of Architects; Crown Publishers/Random House. 2000. ISBN 0-8129-3106-8; ISBN 0-8129-3107-6. p.277.
  4. ^ a b c Dolkart, Matthew A. MO & Postal, Matthew A.: Guide to New York City Landmarks; Third Edition: The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission; John Wiley & Sons, Inc; 2004. ISBN 0-471-36900-4. P.118.
  5. ^ a b "Park Avenue, Interrupted". The New York Times. December 21, 2014. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  6. ^ "4th Avenue: New York Songlines". Retrieved May 17, 2006.
  7. ^ Emporis: 230 Park Avenue
  8. ^ Herbert Lash (May 5, 2015). "New York's Helmsley Building sold for $1.2 billion to RXR Reality". Reuters. Retrieved May 7, 2015.
  9. ^ Cullen, Terence (December 22, 2016). "Wendy Williams' PR Firm Inks 43K-SF Deal at Helmsley Building". Commercial Observer. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  10. ^ Top-Tier Safety School Takes 10K-Plus Feet
  11. ^ Intellectual Property Law Firm Desmarais Expands at Helmsley Building
  12. ^ Samtani, Hiten (July 29, 2013). "Publisher Reed Elsevier to take 71,000 square feet at Invesco's Helmsley Building". The Real Deal. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  13. ^ a b c Monday’s 230 Park Racks Up Marquee Tenants: Encyclopædia Britannica, Stanley Tools, New York City
  14. ^ HSH Nordbank AG New York Office
  15. ^ Monday Fills Last Full Tower-Floor Space at 230 Park
  16. ^ Country’s Biggest Landlord Picks 230 Park for NYC HQ
  17. ^ Six Flags’ Roller-Coaster Views: 10-Year Lease in Monday’s 230 Park
  18. ^ Four tenants sign at Helmsley Building

External links[edit]