New York Life Building

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New York Life Building
New York Life Insurance Building.jpg
New York Life Building is located in New York City
New York Life Building
New York Life Building is located in New York
New York Life Building
New York Life Building is located in the United States
New York Life Building
Location51 Madison Avenue, Manhattan, New York City, New York
Coordinates40°44′34″N 73°59′8″W / 40.74278°N 73.98556°W / 40.74278; -73.98556Coordinates: 40°44′34″N 73°59′8″W / 40.74278°N 73.98556°W / 40.74278; -73.98556
Area2.5 acres (1.0 ha)
ArchitectCass Gilbert[2]
Architectural styleGothic Revival[3]
NRHP reference #78001876[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJune 2, 1978[1]
Designated NHLJune 2, 1978 [4]
Designated NYCLOctober 2, 2000

The New York Life Building, located at 51 Madison Avenue, Manhattan, New York City, across from Madison Square Park, is the headquarters of the New York Life Insurance Company.[5]


The building's roof from the north

Designed in 1926 by Cass Gilbert,[6] 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.[7] Inspired by Salisbury Cathedral,[8] 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.[9] 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.[8] It combines streamlined Gothic details and distinctly Moderne massing. The gold pyramid at the top consists of 25,000 gold-leaf tiles.[8] 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.[3][4][10] 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.[11]

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.[12] 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

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ White, Norval & Willensky, Elliot (2000). AIA Guide to New York City (4th ed.). New York: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 978-0-8129-3107-5., p. 200
  3. ^ a b ""New York Life Building", February 1977, by George R. Adams (National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination)" (pdf). National Park Service. February 1977.
  4. ^ a b "New York Life Building". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. September 16, 2007. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011.
  5. ^ "NY Life Insurance Company Building". A View on Cities. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  6. ^ "New York Life Building". Vertical Access. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  7. ^ "New York Life Building". Retrieved July 12, 2008.
  8. ^ a b c Event Horizon: Mad. Sq. Art.: Antony Gormley installation guide, published by the Madison Square Park Conservancy (2010)
  9. ^ New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission; Dolkart, Andrew S.; Postal, Matthew A. (2009). Postal, Matthew A. (ed.). Guide to New York City Landmarks (4th ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-28963-1. p. 75.
  10. ^ "New York Life Building--Accompanying 5 photos, exterior and interior, from 1976, by George R. Adams. (National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination)" (pdf). National Park Service. February 1977.
  11. ^ Mendelsohn, Joyce (1998), Touring the Flatiron: Walks in Four Historic Neighborhoods, New York: New York Landmarks Conservancy, ISBN 0-964-7061-2-1, OCLC 40227695
  12. ^ Siwolop, Sana "Big Spaces Are Opening Up In Madison Square Park Area" The New York Times (March 24, 2004)


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