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ddny
February 9th, 2003, 02:41 PM
Architect: Pietro Belluschi, Walter Gropius, and Emery Roth & Sons

Year: 1963

Style: Brutalist

Description: Metlife was probably the posterchild of the Brutalist architecture movement in the 1960s and 1970s. Formerly the PanAm airlines building, the elongated octagonal shape was meant to represent the shape of an airplanes wing. The building’s roof used to support helicopter landings, until an accident closed roof landings for good. The building is probably the most depised in NYC. Although in my opinion...there are many other buildings I would rather have demolished than the MetLife building...

http://www.thecityreview.com/panam.html

http://www.nycsnapshots.com/images/architecture/metlife/main/metlife_main3.jpg

http://www.nycsnapshots.com/images/architecture/metlife/main/metlife_main1.jpg

http://www.nycsnapshots.com/images/architecture/metlife/main/metlife_main2.jpg

http://www.nycsnapshots.com/images/architecture/metlife/main/metlife_main4.jpg

JerzDevl2000
February 9th, 2003, 03:39 PM
Great pictures. I have to admit, I like this building a bit more since the facade was cleaned, *but it's still up on my list of buildings to be altered/demolished in the city. The Whitney, GM building, 55 water, and that tacky apartment tower next to the Ansonia would be above on the list, though.

I guess what bugs me the most about this building is the view down Park Ave. that it ruined. Helmsley was a nice transition between Park Ave. above and below Grand Central. Pan Am sealed it off like Hoover Dam did to the Colorado (quite impressive to drive over!). Anyone else feel this way?

Evan
February 9th, 2003, 04:49 PM
Why is the Metlife building so despised by New Yorkers? *It's certainly an interesting building.

NoyokA
February 9th, 2003, 04:58 PM
This is among my favorite modernist buildings, I do not see how it is brutalist. The windows are precast concrete, but individually detailed to those of Seagram. Maybe its the concrete to steel. But also white is pure, so again. Overall the Metlife is an excellent modernist building.

Gulcrapek
February 9th, 2003, 05:01 PM
I like

TLOZ Link5
February 9th, 2003, 07:31 PM
Quote: from Evan on 3:49 pm on Feb. 9, 2003
Why is the Metlife building so despised by New Yorkers? *It's certainly an interesting building.


It is an interesting building, but a lot of people hate(d) it because it overshadows the Helmsley Building, which was meant to be a visual capstone to Park Avenue from both directions. *They also claim that it's a cheap rip-off of the Pirelli Building in Milan, yet that claim isn't completely unjustified.

Agglomeration
February 9th, 2003, 09:30 PM
The biggest flaw with the Metlife Building isn't so much its shape or appearance as its location. It would be much more appreciated if it was stacked somewhere else other than the spot on top of Grand Central Terminal. I still like the way they spray-cleaned it though. And with 2.7 million sq ft of office space, the Metlife's not terrible as an office tower. *

DougGold
February 10th, 2003, 03:13 AM
What I've always liked about NYC skyscrapers is how so many of them are instantly recognizable icons. Pound for pound, we have more icons than any other city. The Metlife building is one of 'em. Even though it's just a giant thug of a building, I love it for that.

Fabb
February 10th, 2003, 03:18 AM
It's an inflated version of the Pirelli Building.
That's interesting, because many skyscraper fans often wish bigger versions of existing buildings were made.

In this case, they got it.
And that works.

amigo32
February 10th, 2003, 03:46 AM
You are 100% correct Fabb!

I also agree with you DougGold about recognizable icons, *once you establish them, a city should keep them.

(Unfotunately, that wasn't the fate of the Singer Building).

(Edited by amigo32 at 3:13 am on Feb. 10, 2003)

NYatKNIGHT
February 10th, 2003, 11:31 AM
We've been back and forth numerous times about this building - it's definitely a polarizing subject. Count me among those who don't like this building, especially its location and its unfriendliness at street level, although the new cleaning definitely improved its appearance.

JerzDevl2000
February 10th, 2003, 03:13 PM
NYatKnight - My thoughts exactly. I wish I was big enough to pick up from above, and turn it 90 degrees to that it was wide looking down 46th St but thin looking down Park Ave....

Bob
July 24th, 2004, 10:02 AM
I don't understand why so many people hate this building. (But then again, I don't understand why people bought Yugos or Pacers)

The Pan Am (oops -- "Met Life") is a terrific building! For years prior to its recent cleaning, I said to myself and to others, "Just think how great it would look if it were cleaned!" Now, the results are in and this mega-building looks brand new, just as I remember it as a kid in the early 1960s.

There are so many things about this building I like. Its looming -- in your face -- presence over so many lesser structures. The simple and subtle design. Its radical concept of a roof-top helipad. The fact that you can look straight down Park Avenue for miles and see it.

It's big. It's bold. Its design has held up. It's great!

TonyO
July 24th, 2004, 11:03 AM
The city needs bland buildings to make others look better. I never knew there was a helicopter accident on top of the building.

http://www.timeoutny.com/features/408/408.jinx.html

krulltime
July 24th, 2004, 11:37 AM
Interesting article tonyo. I think that helicopters (except Emergency ones..like Hospitals or Police) should not be allowed to the top of buildings. I dont want NYC to become like a Sao Paulo, Brazil. They can get into many accidents and they are too noisy.

You want to do business in the city take a train or a taxi to your building.

Jeffreyny
July 25th, 2004, 11:55 AM
I never knew this building was compared to the Pirelli Building in Milan.
I can see the resemblance but Metlife is winner, handsdown in my opinion.

Zoe
July 25th, 2004, 03:40 PM
Helicopter pads on buildings were much more in fashion years ago. I just saw an old Clint Eastwood movie this weekend about an Arizona cop that comes to NYC to hunt a fugitive (Coogan's Bluff). The final shot of the movie is him taking off from the Pan Am building helicopter pad and it shows a slow rise and circle around the building. I think the movie was from 1968.

BigMac
July 25th, 2004, 03:47 PM
I like the building itself, putting aside for a moment that it does obstruct the view down Park Avenue. Until recently I hadn't recognized it as being an elongated octagon, but that's exactly what it is. Also, the exterior cleaning worked wonders for its appearance.

ManhattanKnight
July 25th, 2004, 04:38 PM
I never knew there was a helicopter accident on top of the building.

http://www.timeoutny.com/features/408/408.jinx.html

I remember the accident and the sad fate of 2 pedestrians at the corner of Madison and 43rd when part of one of the rotors landed there. The NTSB report: http://amelia.db.erau.edu/reports/ntsb/aar/AAR77-09.pdf Isn't this just about the same corner where another pedestrian was stoned to death a couple of years ago?

Archit_K
July 26th, 2004, 12:25 AM
It seems like almost all the old buildings in NYC like the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, 40th Wall Street and Pan Am had so encounter with an airplane.

BrooklynRider
July 26th, 2004, 03:22 PM
Isn't this just about the same corner where another pedestrian was stoned to death a couple of years ago?

The person was stoned on 42nd Street in front of the Chrysler building. It wasn't to the death, but it was the intention. The lady recovered (somewhat).

TLOZ Link5
July 30th, 2004, 04:20 PM
Stoned? I'd never heard of this.

ZippyTheChimp
July 30th, 2004, 04:27 PM
Not stoned in the Biblical sense. A deranged man attacked a woman with a rock or brick.

TLOZ Link5
July 30th, 2004, 04:44 PM
Not stoned in the Biblical sense. A deranged man attacked a woman with a rock or brick.

Oh, I remember that. That was in '98, right?

TonyO
December 10th, 2004, 10:03 AM
WSJ
December 9, 2004

The Incredible Hulk: THE PAN AM BUILDING

By Meredith D. Clausen

(MIT Press, 476 pages, $45)

Few buildings have been as universally reviled as New York City's Pan Am building (or MetLife building, as it's now officially called). Completed in 1963, two blocks wide and 59 stories high, it sits just behind Grand Central Terminal like "a garage door pulled down on Park Avenue," as one critic put it, or "a great scaleless, hulking, omnipresent colossus," in the words of another.

The building virtually destroyed the reputation of its principal designer, Walter Gropius, and made the career of Ada Louise Huxtable, whose brilliant articles on the project compelled the New York Times to appoint her as its first full-time architectural critic. It was also the last gasp, and final parody, of the International Style, which a few years before had produced the generally admired Seagram and Union Carbide buildings nearby.

Meredith Clausen, an architectural historian at the University of Washington, has produced a history of the Pan Am building that is a model for its genre. She has a crisp, clean prose style and keeps her tale fluid and fast-moving, tracing the interplay of politics, money and personalities that produced an outcome embarrassing to almost everyone involved. She is deeply informed on every aspect of the story, from the real-estate market to the building's mechanical designs. While she does not like the aesthetic result -- who could? -- her book is not a hunt for villains. She assumes that those responsible were decent people mostly doing their best. She seeks to illuminate why they made the choices they did.

The New York Central Railroad, struggling in the 1950s, entered into an arrangement with a prominent local developer, Erwin Wolfson, to replace Grand Central Terminal with a major office building. Planning was well under way when it was interrupted by a "Save Grand Central" campaign spearheaded by Architectural Forum, the trade magazine, and the New York Times.

The terminal, completed in its present form in 1913, is indeed a splendid structure. Besides the lovely Beaux Arts vaulted terminal, the multitiered underground transportation hub is an engineering marvel in its own right. The development plan would have preserved the hub but reduced the terminal to a one-story basement in the office tower. One proposal envisioned an 80-story building, taller than the Empire State, with five million square feet of rentable space, more than twice that in any existing office structure. New York Central eventually compromised with its critics by adopting a less ambitious plan -- four million square feet, later reduced to 2.6 million -- worked out by Wolfson and his favorite architect, Richard Roth.

Roth, who had cut his teeth designing naval bases, bluntly stated that his job was "not to create masterpieces." He had pioneered the New York "wedding cake" or "ziggurat" buildings, with their horizontal strip windows emphasizing their blocky squattiness. (Walk up Park Avenue above 45th Street: The buildings that look like military barracks are Roth productions.) Commercial developers loved them: Roth understood office mechanicals and traffic flows; his strip windows offered great flexibility in space layouts; and his buildings were produced on time and on budget.

The central problem was that the Grand Central project was not a big-company signature piece, like the Seagram building, but an entrepreneurial venture. Wolfson was putting up scads of his own money with no guarantee of success. But he was also a man of refined tastes and decided to mollify the critics by partnering Roth with a big-name architect, which is how Gropius got involved. Gropius was a key figure in the Bauhaus movement, the source of the International Style of modernist architecture that rejected traditional decorative designs in favor of stark, "industrial" lines.

There is much speculation over why Gropius took on the assignment. He was 75 at the time, had spent many years at Harvard and had few buildings to his credit. Perhaps he could not resist the chance to crown his career with a building on such a scale. To assist him -- Gropius couldn't draw -- he brought in another world-class architect, Pietro Belluschi, the dean of the school of architecture at MIT.

The bulk of "The Pan Am Building" traces the plot threads by which such a monumental project was knit together: its financing, its technical and structural challenges (train schedules could not be interrupted during construction), its evolving form. Gropius kept much closer control over the design than either Wolfson or Roth had expected. Although he was forced to make concessions to stay within budget, the final shape and the placement of the building athwart Park Avenue is pretty much to his specification. He seems to have gone to his grave puzzled and angered by the storm of criticism it stirred up. Many of his biographies pass over the episode in silence.

Whatever its aesthetic deficiencies, the Pan Am building was a financial success. It opened its doors with 98% occupancy and was later sold off to MetLife at a huge profit. The dire predictions that the influx of office workers would result in a fatal traffic thrombosis somehow never came true.

The core concerns in Ms. Clausen's book are the age-old ones that economists group under the rubric of "externalities." Zoning laws and similar measures try to balance the public's interest in livable civic spaces and the logic of the market. But they are coarse-grained instruments. The redevelopment of the World Trade Center site, as Ms. Clausen notes, raises all the questions that were so bitterly debated 40 years ago uptown. One hopes that she will write the account of how they are resolved.

---

Mr. Morris is the author of "The Cost of Good Intentions: New York City and the Liberal Experiment, 1960-1975," among other books.

Bob
December 10th, 2004, 05:49 PM
This is a great building. Purists may not like its location, but it makes a unique imposing statement and is quite attractive. The recent cleaning makes it look brand-new! Incredible Hulk, indeed!

JonY
December 10th, 2004, 06:15 PM
http://www.skyscraperphotos.com/cit/dny02/d/igny298.jpg_http://www.skyscraperphotos.com/cit/dny04/b/igny428.jpg

_____http://www.skyscraperphotos.com/cit/dny03/a/igny306.jpg_http://www.skyscraperphotos.com/cit/dny03/a/igny311.jpg

NewYorkYankee
December 10th, 2004, 08:29 PM
I like it.

thomasjfletcher
December 13th, 2004, 01:50 PM
much maligned but really quite cool---

http://www.nyc-architecture.com/MID/Panam_ex.jpg

http://www.nyc-architecture.com/MID/nyc28.jpg

http://www.nyc-architecture.com/MID/030-metlife.jpg

http://www.nyc-architecture.com/MID/MID030.htm

TLOZ Link5
December 13th, 2004, 02:13 PM
Love that first picture, with the Pan Am cornice logo still there. Shagadelic.

thomasjfletcher
December 13th, 2004, 02:22 PM
Yeah baby!

kz1000ps
December 13th, 2004, 09:15 PM
Just a what if question.....What would you guys think if this building were reclad, whether it's done up all in glass or a retro stone design sometime in the not-so-distant future? This seems rather plausible since it's so reviled, but my question to that would be whether this would do anything to open up the vista up or down Park Ave. Thoughts?

TLOZ Link5
December 14th, 2004, 12:22 AM
It's waaaaaaaayyy too massive for an all-glass recladding. Think of the glare on Park Avenue South! And stone would make it look even more hulking and clumsy.

If this building HAD to have been built, I agree with The City Review's belief that it should have gone on the western edge of [OLD] Penn Station, turned on its axis to go north-to-south. It would have been an interesting capstone to 34th Street, preserved the iconic splendor of the Helmsley Building, and quite possibly saved New York's other great terminal.

TLOZ Link5
December 14th, 2004, 12:23 AM
And so long as we're talking about recladdings, the fugly Lenox Hill Hospital building on Park Avenue is undergoing just that. Instead of fugly pink concrete, it's getting a much nicer whitish-gray granite, green glass and aluminum facade.

Alonzo-ny
December 15th, 2004, 02:42 PM
its cool coz its a big bad mother simple as that

Alonzo-ny
December 15th, 2004, 02:43 PM
its cool coz its a big bad mother simple as that

TonyO
February 16th, 2005, 02:04 PM
Globest.com

MetLife Puts 200 Park on the Market

By Barbara Jarvie
Last updated: February 16, 2005 11:08am

NEW YORK CITY-When announcing its proposed $11.5 billion acquisition of Citigroup’s Traveler’s Life and Annuity last month, MetLife said it could finance the cash portion of the transaction through a combination of cash on hand, debt, mandatory convertible securities and selected asset sales. One of those assets it is exploring the option of selling is its headquarters site here at 200 Park Ave. and 1 Madison Ave.


According to sources, the duo could fetch in the neighborhood of $2.5 billion. Cushman & Wakefield is marketing the landmark Grand Central Station-area site, while CB Richard Ellis is marketing 1 Madison. Neither firm could comment on the hiring. A MetLife spokesperson says the company is “gauging interest” and notes the company does not have to sell the properties to complete the Traveler’s deal, which would make MetLife the largest individual life insurer in North America based on sales.


Leasing at the 2.8 million 200 Park Ave. has been handled by CBRE. Last year Dreyfus inked a 310,000 early lease renewal and signed on for another 40,000 sf, which is also home to Barclays Bank, Mitsui and CBRE. Retail tenants include Café Centro, Fleet Bank, Godiva and New York Sports Club. CBRE found tenants for space vacated by law firm Clifford Chance, which planned to move its headquarters to Lower Manhattan. Two international law firms--Hunton & Williams and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher--inked deals totaling 185,000 sf for the remaining office space that was previously occupied by Clifford Chance. Bovis Lend Lease also signed a 15-year lease is for the entire ninth floor of the building, which totals more than 75,000 sf.



Other MetLife sales of late include BlackRock Inc.’s acquisition of Metlife’s SSRM Holdings, the holding company of Boston-based State Street Research & Management Co. and SSR Realty Advisors Inc. That deal included approximately $6 million in real estate Heyman Properties closed on the purchase of the 712,000-sf White Plains Plaza office complex in a deal valued at approximately $60 million. Also last year, the firm sold Chicago’s Sears Tower for $840 million. And Beacon Capital Partners purchased 501 Boylston St. in Boston for about $130 million in late 2002.

TLOZ Link5
February 16th, 2005, 07:57 PM
I'm certain that we can expect the cornice logo to be removed.

NoyokA
February 16th, 2005, 08:28 PM
I'm certain that we can expect the cornice logo to be removed.

I hadn't even thought about that. But since its so identifiable it probably wont come down unless another will immediately be put in place.

ZippyTheChimp
February 17th, 2005, 11:55 AM
It may take some time, but I think the logo will come down. The building was much more symbolic of Pan Am during the time of their ownership than Met Life.

http://www.timmonet.co.uk/assets/images/ppanb.jpg

1963: Pan Am Building completed.
1981: Pan am sold building to Met Life, but retained offices.
1991: Pan Am World Airways ceased operations.
1992: Pan Am logo removed.
1993, Jan 13: Met Life logo officially lit.

Pan American was the icon of commercial aviation.
http://www.panam.com/newhist1.asp

Gulcrapek
February 23rd, 2005, 09:19 PM
When it was PanAm, by Kiss+Zwigard Architects:

http://www.kiss-zwigard.com/images/PanAm.jpg

http://www.kiss-zwigard.com/portfolio_comm.htm

TonyO
March 30th, 2005, 02:59 PM
Daily News
Mar 30, 1:49 PM EST

MetLife to sell its first skyscraper HQ

NEW YORK (AP) -- The original MetLife office building, an ornate architectural confection and Manhattan landmark for nearly a century, has been sold for nearly $1 billion to a real estate company which plans to convert its distinctive tower into condominiums, the insurance company said Wednesday.

The purchase by SL Green Realty Corp. includes the North Tower and an adjoining 1.2 million square-foot South Building. The price was $918 million, MetLife said.

Completed in 1909 as the first headquarters of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., the 41-story tower at No. 1 Madison Square was one of Gotham's early skyscrapers. Restored to rental offices after a period of use for storing files, it still dominates the area at night with its lighted gold crown and sides bathed in multicolored lights.

SL Green plans to turn the tower into residential condos, the announcement said. The adjoining building is 95 percent occupied by Credit Suisse First Boston, an investment bank that will provide $805 million in financing for the sale.

The Madison Square edifice is not to be confused with the other Met Life building, a slab-sided 60 story monolith straddling Park Avenue above Grand Central Terminal. Originally the PanAm Building, it was Manhattan's largest office complex when erected in 1963 and was acquired by MetLife in 1981.

NoyokA
March 30th, 2005, 03:39 PM
Tid-bit from the Post:

Bids expected to touch or top $1.7 billion were due last night for the mega Met Life Building at 200 Park Ave. Cushman & Wakefield's quartet of Richard Baxter, Ron Cohen, Scott Latham and Jon Caplan were handling that assignment.

I can understand $1.7 billion for the Met Life on Park but almost a billion for the original HQ in midtown south off Madison Square is exorbitant, Verizon's midtown HQ sold for less and is double the space.

TonyO
March 30th, 2005, 03:42 PM
True, and they are going to make condos out of it. That's like buying a condo in 55 Water St. - its just not a residential building.

JMGarcia
March 30th, 2005, 05:26 PM
The MetLife campanile on Madison Sq. will make excellent condos. The floor plates are really too small for offices in this day and age. The attached low-rise section occupied by Credit Suisse wouldn't make very good condos IMO.

The building is too deep to configure into apartments IMO. Too much space would be too far from a window.

antinimby
March 31st, 2005, 01:25 AM
I'm more worried about the lighting.
Will they continue to light up the building once they convert to residential?
Do I need to worry?
The city's skyline is already very dark as compared to these other up and coming cities.

NewYorkYankee
March 31st, 2005, 02:55 PM
I agree that the skyline is pretty dark.

Alonzo-ny
April 1st, 2005, 07:51 AM
What do you want, a lazer show every night or something? Both times I was in new york i was amazed by the color of the skyline. ESB, Chrysler metlife tower and others was pretty colorful from my memory!

antinimby
April 1st, 2005, 10:15 AM
They are nice but those buildings are the few that we have.
I don't want us to lose one more.
BTW, check out Hong Kong's skyline if you want to see :eek: something amazing.

JMGarcia
April 1st, 2005, 11:36 AM
Hong Kong's skyline is a bit tacky at night IMO. There's some great architecture but much if it looks like it was lit by 5 year olds.

BrooklynRider
April 1st, 2005, 11:50 AM
NYC at night is pretty spectacular. The glaring omission from the skyline at night is 40 Wall Street, which Mr. Trump is apparently to cheap to illuminate.

antinimby
April 1st, 2005, 12:01 PM
Oh no! He didn't?!!! :confused: :mad:
That's exactly what I was worried about with the old Metlife, once it goes residential, the light goes out.

TonyO
April 1st, 2005, 02:26 PM
Crain's
4/1/05

In one of the largest building sale transactions in New York City
history, Tishman Speyer Properties is paying what real estate sources
estimate to be $1.7 billion to buy the MetLife Building at 200 Park Ave. The
2.8 million-square-foot building, which connects to Grand Central
Terminal, will join Tishman's skyscraper portfolio, which features the
Chrysler Building, the New York Times building and Rockefeller Center.



The sale drew interest from some of the city's most well-financed
buyers-- from publicly traded real estate investment trust SL Green Realty
Corp. to private landlord Joseph Moinian. World Trade Center backer
Lloyd Goldman was one of the last bidders to pull out of the deal. Sources
say that Tishman Speyer, Macklowe Properties and Reckson Associates
remained in the bidding through Thursday. Cushman & Wakefield brokers
represented MetLife in the sale.



Earlier this week, MetLife sold its smaller and older headquarters at 1
Madison Ave. for roughly $918 million. But few buildings have fetched
as much as the MetLife tower at 200 Park Ave. In 2001, the entire World
Trade Center complex sold for $3.2 billion. In 2003, Macklowe bought
the General Motors building for $1.4 billion.

ube
April 2nd, 2005, 02:59 AM
I pass by the old Metlife building on my way to school almost everyday, and always notice the bridge thing (I don't know what it's called) that connects it to the other building currently occupied by Credit Suisse.

I wonder if they'll keep it up there now?

It would be neat for someone who works at Credit Suisse if they buy a condo there. They could just walk to work without even leaving the building :)

MagnumPI
April 2nd, 2005, 11:14 AM
MetLife Sells Second Tower in a Week

By ANTHONY RAMIREZ (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=ANTHONY RAMIREZ&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=ANTHONY RAMIREZ&inline=nyt-per)
http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/misc/spacer.gif
Published: April 2, 2005



http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/dropcap/t.gifhe MetLife Building, a signature skyscraper on the Manhattan skyline and the glittering gateway to Park Avenue above Grand Central Terminal, has been sold for a record $1.72 billion, it was announced yesterday.

It was the second major real estate deal this week for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, which announced on Wednesday that its landmark property, 1 Madison Avenue, would be sold for $918 million for a condominium project.
Of the two skyscrapers, the one at 200 Park Avenue - known for much of its history as the Pan Am Building - is the more famous. With 2.8 million square feet, it was once the largest commercial office building in the world.

In countless television shows and films, from "The Jeffersons" to "Godzilla," the panorama shot of Park Avenue begins with the 58-story tower.

The principal buyer is Tishman Speyer Properties, which also owns the Chrysler Building and Rockefeller Center. It heads a joint venture that includes the New York City Employees' Retirement System and the Teachers' Retirement System. The deal is scheduled to close in early May.

The previous record for the sale of a skyscraper in the United States was in 2003 when the developer Harry Macklowe paid $1.4 billion for the General Motors Building on Fifth Avenue between 58th and 59th Streets.

MetLife said it would keep its boardroom and headquarters there, and that the familiar MetLife logo would stay.

In a telephone interview, Rob Speyer, 35, a Tishman Speyer senior managing director, sounded almost giddy about the deal. "Think about it," he said. "It's the opportunity of a lifetime. To buy one of New York City's iconic properties is an opportunity we just leapt at."

Steven Wechsler, 55, also a Tishman Speyer senior managing director, said in the same telephone interview that he was especially thrilled because he once lived on Park Avenue. "In New York City, the greatest place in the world, to walk by the assets that we now have is really, really a thrill," he said.

For MetLife's part, the transaction capped a thrilling week in another sense: the sale of two real estate assets for more than $2.6 billion.

In the Park Avenue deal, "we'll probably clear about $750 million," said John Calagna, a MetLife spokesman, in a cellphone interview. "Sorry to shout. I'm actually in Grand Central just below the MetLife Building right now."

The latest sale is unlike the Madison Avenue deal, in which the new buyer plans to convert much of the building to apartments. Tishman Speyer said the Park Avenue property would remain an office building.

In January, MetLife said it would buy Citigroup's life insurance business in a deal valued at $11.5 billion, its largest acquisition. "We said then that we would consider funding that transaction by selling real estate assets," Mr. Calagna said.

"So now we get to take advantage of a robust real estate market and our name stays on," he said, referring to the MetLife logo.

The last time the building was sold was in 1981, when the troubled Pan American Airways sold it to the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company for $400 million. But the Pan Am logo remained for more than a decade.

The building once had a helipad that was the site of one of New York City's deadliest aviation accidents.

On May 16, 1977, a New York Airways helicopter idling at the helipad suddenly toppled and its rotor blade sheared off. It sliced four people to death and then fell over the parapet 59 stories below and a block away on Madison Avenue, killing a pedestrian during the evening rush.

Art DeCoCK
April 15th, 2005, 07:48 AM
I read long time ago that newyorkers hate this buildng. why is that so?

macreator
April 15th, 2005, 10:03 AM
Well, it is a great big monument to Brutalism. With many New Yorkers not very fond of the style it is no wonder the building has never been too popular. Personally I like the building and how it can be seen up from 14th street on Park Avenue South and down from high up on Park Avenue in the 90's. Having an office on either of the long sides of the building gives you a protected view north or south which must be great.

cryptobionic
April 16th, 2005, 11:37 AM
I've loved this chunky iconic building since I was a kid. Even it's bold placement; an almost perfect backdrop. Props to the decision to clean it, now she looks good enough to date. Thanks to all for all the smile-inducing images, especially the vintage b+w one, Thomas. (I couldn't resist stealing it.)

Art DeCoCK
April 16th, 2005, 06:49 PM
I know that it blocks the view on a little tower behind it. what was its name again?

Gulcrapek
April 16th, 2005, 09:57 PM
Not so little, the Helmsley Building.

andyschest
May 23rd, 2006, 07:45 PM
I never knew this building was compared to the Pirelli Building in Milan.
I can see the resemblance but Metlife is winner, handsdown in my opinion.

http://www.nicebuildings.com/portland008.jpg

We've got a building in London (Portland House, above) which has been compared to the Pirelli Building but I actually think it looks more like MetLife. I notice from this thread it was being sold for redevelopment. What's the current situation? I'm coming over to see it in July and I'm hoping it won't be surrounded by scaffolding or anything like that.

mgp
May 24th, 2006, 05:05 PM
We've got a building in London (Portland House, above) which has been compared to the Pirelli Building but I actually think it looks more like MetLife. I notice from this thread it was being sold for redevelopment. What's the current situation? I'm coming over to see it in July and I'm hoping it won't be surrounded by scaffolding or anything like that.

Wow, that building does have a striking resemblance to the Metlife/PanAm Building.

As for the redevelopment; I may be misunderstanding the questions, but here goes. Two "Metlife Buildings' were sold in the past year; 1 Madison Ave (MetLife Tower), and 200 Park Ave. (the former Pan Am Building).

1 Madison was purchased by SL Green (I think), and the clock tower portion is reportedly going to be converted to condos by Ian Schrager and co.

200 Park, which I believe you are talking about, was purchased by Tishman Speyer Properties, and will remain an office building, with (as far as I know) little redevelopment.

kliq6
May 24th, 2006, 05:37 PM
Yes Tishman Speyer is keeping 200 Park all office and converting the top floor, now a private club into another office floor

ablarc
May 25th, 2006, 12:37 AM
Interesting article tonyo. I think that helicopters (except Emergency ones..like Hospitals or Police) should not be allowed to the top of buildings. I dont want NYC to become like a Sao Paulo, Brazil. They can get into many accidents and they are too noisy.
True enough, but that ride was as thrilling as it gets. Looped 'round the Chrysler Building maybe two hundred feet distant, eye level to the crown.

andyschest
May 29th, 2006, 10:27 AM
200 Park, which I believe you are talking about, was purchased by Tishman Speyer Properties, and will remain an office building, with (as far as I know) little redevelopment.

Yes Tishman Speyer is keeping 200 Park all office and converting the top floor, now a private club into another office floor
Thanks. Hopefully this is just internal work and won't affect my viewing.

stache
May 29th, 2006, 04:26 PM
From a postcard -

BigMac
October 21st, 2007, 12:59 AM
pete.biggs on Flickr
August 18, 2007

Larger Size (http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1171/942786461_a65845352d_o.jpg)

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1171/942786461_94dc1c7629.jpg

BrooklynRider
October 21st, 2007, 11:12 PM
That's a great shot!

Matysiak
November 15th, 2007, 08:20 PM
I love this building as much as chrysler,empire or citicorp because this is also symbol of new york city,if somebody see only this building,then it`s enough to know what place is this and I mean people which haven`t been in nyc.You can find buildings like trump tower in other places but you can`t find another like this one which is adding inimitable climate and landscape.So it`s enough of losting symbols (twin towers) of this greatest city in the world and please don`t put this gem on "demolishion list".http://wirednewyork.com/forum/C:%5CDocuments%20and%20Settings%5Cdon.DON-INE3AX7V34Y%5CMoje%20dokumenty%5CMoje%20obrazy%5Cf oty%5CNew%20York%5Ceminilia%5Cmet%20life

USSManhattan
November 15th, 2007, 11:15 PM
Matysiak,

I don't think you'll have to worry about MetLife meeting with the wrecking ball anytime soon. It's popular for office space last I heard, being one of the biggest buildings in the city. A building that big isn't going to be wantonly torn down, especially in a place the scale of New York.

Tectonic
November 16th, 2007, 12:28 AM
How about a reclad. This is one of the most hated buildings in the city, by New Yorkers.

ramvid01
November 16th, 2007, 12:34 AM
^^ I don't relaly think its hated by that many New Yorkers and it was recently cleaned so I don't think that it would reclad anytime soon.

Not that recladding would make it radically different or better than it is. (I like it as it is)

Alonzo-ny
November 16th, 2007, 12:44 AM
Good as is, brutal baby!

lofter1
November 16th, 2007, 12:56 AM
Me shudders to think what they'd do to it in a re-clad :eek:

Tectonic
November 16th, 2007, 01:04 AM
LOL I don't really care for it one way or the other. It being hated was something I read last year I think and I was kinda surprised. Then again, the twin towers were 'hated' too, at first.

lofter1
November 16th, 2007, 01:42 AM
I'm not a huge fan of it -- yet all that rough concrete does have considerable power.

I think I'd like it more if it weren't at the foot of Park avenue -- or atop GCT.

But the idea of that big articulated mass with all its shadows covered in sleek glass ala the Verizon Building (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=198338&postcount=211) really scares me.

Matysiak
November 16th, 2007, 09:32 AM
Yes,I would be worry more about new constructing unoriginal banal glass buildings without any style and architecture art invention which can to spoil skyline of manhattan .If it`s going about pan am building you can love this or hate but you can`t be unconcerned (indifferent) oposite to neuter architecture.

kz1000ps
November 16th, 2007, 01:35 PM
^ lol, what he said :D

MidtownGuy
November 16th, 2007, 10:09 PM
Looks great since it was cleaned. The massiveness of this building as it looms over you is incredible.

ablarc
November 17th, 2007, 02:20 PM
A good grey presence.

I don't think it harms Park Avenue one bit.

And I think it actually enhances the ornate Helmsley Building by providing a big, bland backdrop.

Does the same thing for the statuary on the south front of Grand Central.

Contextual? You bet.

TREPYE
November 17th, 2007, 04:07 PM
Enhances the Hemsley? Do you have some sort of x-ray vision that allows you to see the Hemsley from the south side?? And how exactly is it that something that this bland and bulky (Even if its "clean":rolleyes:) put into visual enrichments such as GCS, Hemsley, Lincoln building, Chrysler, etc is still considered contextual?? Its actually a stark and lamentful contrast, an aesthetic obstructionist in what was once a beautiful assembly of architectural masterpieces.

Boy, NYC developers have done a real nice job in lowering peoples standards....

Alonzo-ny
November 17th, 2007, 04:14 PM
And I think it actually enhances the ornate Helmsley Building by providing a big, bland backdrop.

Does the same thing for the statuary on the south front of Grand Central.



Did you read or not?

ZippyTheChimp
November 17th, 2007, 04:34 PM
Do you have some sort of x-ray vision that allows you to see the Hemsley from the south side??Not to take an overall position on this, but is an unobstructed view from all directions a requirement?

Seems hard to pull off in a dense city.

TREPYE
November 17th, 2007, 04:37 PM
Yes. So how is it that when something is blocked it is enhanced?

ablarc
November 17th, 2007, 04:38 PM
Enhances the Hemsley? Do you have some sort of x-ray vision that allows you to see the Hemsley from the south side??....
I said that?

Simmer down and read what I said.

ZippyTheChimp
November 17th, 2007, 04:43 PM
Yes. So how is it that when something is blocked it is enhanced?That's not what I said either.

TREPYE
November 17th, 2007, 04:48 PM
First of all I was being facetious with the X-ray comment, lets not get sensitive. And second of all, all I was asking is how is it that something that so fugly blocks a really nice structure considered an enhancement as you describe it.


And I think it actually enhances the ornate Helmsley Building by providing a big, bland backdrop.


To me when I look down from the north of park ave it disturbs me to see that gargantuan bulk pile of concrete over something that is so ornament and graceful. And from the south how nice it would have been to see GCS backdropped by the Hemsley. But I guess its an eye of the beholder type thing.

And Zip....I was refering to Alonzo's comment not yours.

Alonzo-ny
November 17th, 2007, 05:05 PM
its not blocked from the north.

Fabrizio
November 17th, 2007, 05:15 PM
It's in the wrong place but it is one of the most beautiful skyscrapers in the world.

Bring back the helicopters and original lobby decor.

Let's meet at the ground-floor Zum-Zum for a bratwurst and hot potato salad with some Swedish stewardesses.

(and the occasional Italian pilot).

A reclad?

I will pretend I did not hear that.

I toast to her beautiful skin.

----

All together now:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnkjyFCXfnU&feature=related


---

ablarc
November 17th, 2007, 05:25 PM
Enhances the Hemsley? ... how exactly is it that something that this bland and bulky ... put into visual enrichments such as GCS, Hemsley, Lincoln building, Chrysler, etc is still considered contextual?? Its actually a stark and lamentful contrast ...


... all I was asking is how is it that something that so fugly blocks a really nice structure considered an enhancement as you describe it.
This was once a fairly humdrum view:

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/oldstatebos/oldstatebos.jpg

The big bland box they built simultaneously dwarfs and aggrandizes the little jewel at its feet. To me, that's interesting; this view gives me a little thrill each time I glimpse it. In my mind, it's one of Boston's set-pieces.

The view down Park Avenue strikes me the same way. In a city I generally prefer closure to sky.


To me when I look down from the north of park ave it disturbs me to see that gargantuan bulk pile of concrete over something that is so ornament and graceful...
OK, folks react differently to some things.


But I guess its an eye of the beholder type thing.
That's right. This one is.

ablarc
November 17th, 2007, 05:33 PM
It's in the wrong place but it is one of the most beautiful skyscrapers in the world.
Paul Newman in a three-piece suit.


Bring back the helicopters and original lobby decor.
They took the decorator kitsch back out. But the Lippold and the Albers are gone for good.


Let's meet at the ground-floor Zum-Zum for a bratwurst...
Did you ever try their wienerbrot? Or the warm potato salad?


A reclad?

I will pretend I did not hear that.
Hardly a building in the city where it would be less appropriate.

Fabrizio
November 17th, 2007, 05:37 PM
What ever happened to Zum-Zum? It was soooo exotic.

(warm patato salad: it was the vinegar that did the trick.)

ablarc
November 17th, 2007, 05:48 PM
What ever happened to Zum-Zum? It was soooo exotic.

(warm patato salad: it was the vinegar that did the trick.)
Zum Zum was all over town, and even spread to a few other cities. Then they all disappeared; can't imagine why. Best fast food ever. That bratwurst was my favorite too, with the sauteed onions on a caraway roll. And the decor was oh-so Bauhaus-meets-butcher-shop. The hanging wursts were made of wax; health department said they had to be. The smell was right, however.

All the building's other food places and bars also belonged to Restaurant Associates: the ueber-Roman Trattoria and Charlie Brown's, where "executives" got sloshed before they caught their trains, and all the secretaries went to connect with the "executives." The house specialty was infidelity.

Some Hungarian cooked up all those differently-themed restaurants. The Brasserie and Four Seasons in the Seagram Building were also his.

MidtownGuy
November 17th, 2007, 07:51 PM
Ya'll make me wistful for an era I never experienced.

ablarc
November 17th, 2007, 10:50 PM
^ Everybody wants to turn back the clock.

Tectonic
November 18th, 2007, 05:05 PM
Saw this yesterday, I assume its for the renovations around the base?

http://img142.imageshack.us/img142/2883/dsc05183pw2.th.jpg (http://img142.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dsc05183pw2.jpg)

Alonzo-ny
November 18th, 2007, 06:32 PM
I just love the sheer mass of this bad boy, standing on Vanderbilt and looking up is just stunning.

ablarc
November 18th, 2007, 11:32 PM
And how exactly is it that something that this bland and bulky (Even if its "clean":rolleyes:) put into visual enrichments such as GCS, Hemsley, Lincoln building, Chrysler, etc is still considered contextual?? Its actually a stark and lamentful contrast, an aesthetic obstructionist in what was once a beautiful assembly of architectural masterpieces.


it disturbs me to see that gargantuan bulk pile of concrete over something that is so ornament and graceful. And from the south how nice it would have been to see GCS backdropped by the Hemsley.
Here ya go: http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?p=199271#post199271

Wish I'd noticed this before. Would have saved me some words.

brianac
April 11th, 2008, 06:30 PM
April 11, 2008, 5:12 pm

Pan Am Disappears in the Fog

By David W. Dunlap (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/author/ddunlap/)

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/04/11/nyregion/11fog.cityroom_large.jpg
Photograph by David W. Dunlap/The New York Times

The lavishly ornamented New York Central Building of 1929, by Warren & Wetmore, lost its place in the early 1960s as the Beaux-Arts pinnacle of Park Avenue with the construction of the gigantic Pan Am Building. “Its enormous mass sitting astride Grand Central Terminal completely blocked out the New York Central tower from the south and was a huge, boring backdrop for it from the north,” Paul Goldberger wrote in 1978, when he was architecture critic of The New York Times. (After the older build was renamed Helmsley and before the newer building was renamed MetLife.)

Nostalgic New Yorkers entertained the fantasy back then that that the brash interloper might somehow disappear one day. In yesterday’s fog, they just about got their wish.

Copyright 2008 Tne New York Times.

BrooklynLove
April 12th, 2008, 12:16 AM
i used to work in the 50s on the north side of the building - several times i found myself inside a cloud

TREPYE
April 12th, 2008, 09:37 PM
“Its enormous mass sitting astride Grand Central Terminal completely blocked out the New York Central tower from the south and was a huge, boring backdrop for it from the north,” Paul Goldberger wrote in 1978, when he was architecture critic of The New York Times.

Nostalgic New Yorkers entertained the fantasy back then that that the brash interloper might somehow disappear one day. In yesterday’s fog, they just about got their wish.


:-/ Yeah....Almost.

See all you Pan Am/Metife apologists.....I knew I wasn't crazy. ;):p

Kalitechne
April 12th, 2008, 11:01 PM
Yes, if only New York were made up solely of buildings like the Helmsley Buiding. Then, we could all live in a taller version of Paris, and oh, how grand that would be! Give me a break with this trendy architectural political correctness....the Pan Am/Metlife building makes Park Avenue, and its bold contrast with Grand Central and the Helmsley Building is a quintessential image of New York (the old with the new). Though, it seems the New York Times is more inclined to abandon New York's rich heritage and embrace designs, both old and new, whose origins lie in Europe.

I will never fully understand why many have a visceral hatred for buildings from the 1960s and 1970s. It was during these years that New York became a true metropolis with the addition of these massive and innovative buildings. Is it too close to the present to appreciate? Here's a thought: design which serves function. And doesn't size matter?

ZippyTheChimp
April 12th, 2008, 11:18 PM
I only disagree with this:


...from the 1960s and 1970s. It was during these years that New York became a true metropolis with the addition of these massive and innovative buildings.Long before that.

Kalitechne
April 12th, 2008, 11:25 PM
The concentration of buildings was not nearly the same before the sixties. Think of Sixth Ave., Park Ave., or Lower Manhattan. Before the 1960s skyscrapers were the exception to the rule; dispersed here and there. I think population size should also be taken into account.

ZippyTheChimp
April 12th, 2008, 11:37 PM
NYC was a metropolis before the 20th century. Skyscrapers are not necessary to define a metropolis.

Kalitechne
April 12th, 2008, 11:46 PM
NYC was a metropolis before the 20th century. Skyscrapers are not necessary to define a metropolis.

Actually, in the modern sense of the word, it does. Jerusalem was probably considered a metropolis once, but does that really matter today?

ZippyTheChimp
April 13th, 2008, 12:01 AM
What are you talking about?

That has nothing to do with the point at which NYC became regarded as a (what you call) a true metropolis.

You say the 1960s. What was it before that?

Kalitechne
April 13th, 2008, 12:11 AM
What are you talking about?

That has nothing to do with the point at which NYC became regarded as a (what you call) a true metropolis.

You say the 1960s. What was it before that?

A big port city with a few iconic landmarks. Would you have considered New Delhi a metropolis in the 1960s?

BrooklynLove
April 13th, 2008, 12:18 AM
i used to work in the 50s on the north side of the building - several times i found myself inside a cloud

to clarify - by 50s i meant 50+ floor.

ZippyTheChimp
April 13th, 2008, 12:21 AM
A big port city with a few iconic landmarks.This is where I get off.

Luca
April 14th, 2008, 03:51 AM
Yes, if only New York were made up solely of buildings like the Helmsley Buiding. Then, we could all live in a taller version of Paris, and oh, how grand that would be!

Before making ignorant statements, I suggest some research. You can find some fantastic pictures of NYC on this very site as it appeared before the 1950s/1960s. Plenty of lender, beautiful skyscrapers embedded on a solid matrix of graceful multi-story buildings and brownstones. :rolleyes:


Give me a break with this trendy architectural political correctness....

Trendy, right now, is exactly what soulless modernism is. Nothing trendy about “the Helmsley”. :confused:


…the New York Times is more inclined to abandon New York's rich heritage and embrace designs, both old and new, whose origins lie in Europe.

Yeah, Mies and company were form the Midwest… duh!! :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:


I will never fully understand why many have a visceral hatred for buildings from the 1960s and 1970s.

They’re ugly as sin. There; now you fully understand. :)


…the 1960s and 1970s. It was during these years that
New York became a true metropolis

I won’t even begin to argue with that. Either you believe it, in which case you’re just unfathomably ignorant, or you’re being jejeune. Which is it?

paul_houle
April 15th, 2010, 12:12 PM
http://images.ny-pictures.com/photo2/m/36946_m.jpg (http://ny-pictures.com/nyc/photo/picture/36946/image_metlife_shrouded_fog)

Picture of MetLife Building (http://ny-pictures.com/nyc/photo/topic/6915/MetLife_Building) thanks to loop_oh (http://ny-pictures.com/nyc/photo/photographer/604259/loop_oh) and New York Pictures (http://ny-pictures.com/nyc/photo/)

scumonkey
January 24th, 2012, 11:28 PM
http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb276/scumonkey/IMGP1931webbed.jpg

http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb276/scumonkey/IMGP1924webbed.jpg

http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb276/scumonkey/IMGP1920webbed.jpg

arcman210
January 24th, 2012, 11:43 PM
Beautiful. I know and accept the fact that I'm in the minority, but I very much admire this building.

scumonkey
January 25th, 2012, 12:03 AM
I'm right there in that minority with you ;)

Merry
January 25th, 2012, 06:38 AM
I've always had a fondness for this building too, especially with the old Panam sign in photos from the 1970s and 1980s.

Great pics of the base, SM :).

I'd never actually seen the base before (yeah, I know :rolleyes:). Am I right in assuming something more substantial than those columns is supporting the main structure?

Fabrizio
January 25th, 2012, 08:26 AM
Park Ave would have been better off without it... but still, this building one of the greats: it's real architecture, it's intellectual... and there are so many nods to classicism.

It is at home among the pre_WW2 towers. The stuff going up at the Trade Center is flashy and vacuous by comparison.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v33/ronaldo/Panam_ex.jpg

Merry
January 25th, 2012, 08:35 AM
Agreed about its location. But it's up there with the Pirelli Tower in Milan.

Fabrizio
January 25th, 2012, 08:48 AM
Pirelli


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v33/ronaldo/46260927.jpg

Merry
January 25th, 2012, 09:01 AM
^ Yes, I agree with your revised assessment, Fab.

And does this mean you also agree with me about Pirelli? ;) Or would it not conform to your "at home among the pre_WW2 towers" assessment?

Fabrizio
January 25th, 2012, 09:25 AM
The Pirelli is right for Milan, it looks like good 1960's Italian design. It is very delicate. IMHO it would not work sitting where the MetLife does. But it does have a lot of design details in common with the MetLife.

Pietro Bellusci worked on the MetLife.... Gio Ponti & Nervi on the Pirelli... Pirelli also used Marcel Breur on it's other office buildings. All of these guys were contemporaries and their work has a Brutalist similarity.

Pirelli / Breuer (in Connecticut)... this is absolutely sublime (here too a connection to the MetLife):

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v33/ronaldo/Breuer-Pirelli.jpg

^ This building BTW is now owned by Ikea. They have torn down a part of it for parking.

Ed007Toronto
January 25th, 2012, 03:35 PM
Met Life is one of my fave New York buildings.