View Full Version : New York Life Building - 51 Madison Avenue - by Cass Gilbert

May 25th, 2003, 05:33 PM
Architect: Cass Gilbert
Year: 1928
Style: Neo-Gothic
Description: The last neo-gothic skyscraper by Gilbert Cass, who also designed the neo-gothic 90 West Street and Woolworth buildings. See below for more details.









Lightning Homer
May 25th, 2003, 05:46 PM
Welcome to Gotham City !
I luuuuuuuuuuuuuuve that kind of stuff ! ! !

May 25th, 2003, 06:51 PM
Excellent. Funny how Gotham evokes Gothic to some.

TLOZ Link5
May 25th, 2003, 10:59 PM
Say it with me, guys.

"New York Life...the company you keep."

I love those commercials.

May 26th, 2003, 02:45 AM
What's incredible is that it was designated landmark so recently, in 2000.

May 26th, 2003, 10:55 PM
I have a love affair with that building. It defines New York to me much as the Empire State and Chrysler buildings do...

It's amazing such a monument is and always has been associated with a mere life insurance company...

May 27th, 2003, 12:43 AM
Then some idiot allowed this happen.

http://photos.galatali.com/skyscrapers/tugrul/2002-09-03/New%20York%20Life%20Building%20and%20Merchandise%2 0Mart%20Building%20%28from%2014th%20floor%20of%20t he%20International%20Toy%20Center%29.jpg;OP=IMAGE; ROTATE=0;WIDTH=640

Look at the low rises on the other half of that block. Met Life North could have swallowed that faux pas much better than the far more delicate New York Life...

Out of curiousity, does anyone know why the Merchandise Mart (http://www.skyscrapers.com/re/en/wm/bu/115522/) looks like its only occupied on one side (the half facing the park has obvious signs of office space, but the other half looks opaque)?

May 27th, 2003, 10:15 AM
That is one of the worst black boxes in the city.

May 27th, 2003, 10:30 AM
Why ?
I love it, it's so delicate...

May 27th, 2003, 04:06 PM
IMO the Mart is not a bad building by itself, just its placement is inappropriate.

May 27th, 2003, 04:12 PM
We should be allowed to use this argument of the placement only once in a year.

Just Rich
May 27th, 2003, 04:28 PM

I would guess that the opaque half is where the elevators and services
are located.

I like this building right where it is.

TLOZ Link5
May 27th, 2003, 05:32 PM
Ugh, I despise it. *I know I'm going to sound like a NIMBY, but the Merchandise Mart totally compromises the--dare I say it--character of the neighborhood.

(Edited by TLOZ Link5 at 9:22 pm on May 28, 2003)

May 27th, 2003, 06:53 PM
i like the merchandise mart and its location does not bother me. There are plenty of good views still available of NY Life from its other sides. Having such a beautiful gothic old looking spired building right next to a black box makes new york even more impressive. It says, "hey yeah we built all these old towers 60-70 years ago but we still need to build more more more." The placement of 60 wall so close to 40 wall does not bother me either, theres plenty of good views of 40 wall left, you dont need perfect 360 degree clear views, if you want that go to Boston or Atlanta with their spread out skylines, i want old next to new density.

May 27th, 2003, 09:32 PM
I dunno yanni. I'm all for progress, but this is just too egregious. 40 Wall has at least a half a block and a street between it and 60 Wall, and it is taller. The Mart is *right* across the street *right* where it destroys the best view of the building, the amazing impact of MetLife, MetLife North and itself along the park, *and* its taller, completely scuttling the grandiosity of NY Life.

http://photos.galatali.com/skyscrapers/tugrul/2002-09-03/Madison%20Square%20Park%20North.jpg;OP=IMAGE;ROTAT E=0;WIDTH=640

Wish I could rearrange the area, putting the Mart on 5th Ave, putting that red building there now just to the west of NY Life, and those low rises I just replaced to where the Mart is.

May 27th, 2003, 11:10 PM
This brings me to the squat 30-floor building right just south of Merchandise Mart. The old Metlife Building, I believe. It was supposed to be a 100 foot tower, but was never completed that way. I still wish that they would add 50 floors to that old building to make it overshadow that black box. I know it's unlikely in the near future, but that's what I wish.

May 28th, 2003, 07:09 PM
I think the Merchandise Mart has a sort of elegance, embracing the real spirit of modernism as it contrasts with the nearby prewar buildings. It is a bit too close to NYL, though.

May 28th, 2003, 07:23 PM
It does sort of "stick out" on the east side of Madison Sq. diminishing the impact NY Life would otherwise have.


May 29th, 2003, 11:35 AM
For those who consider the modern black box elegant and delicate, I suppose this would be one of the nicest - one of the nicest of the many dozens of these around the city. I'm so bored with it, that's all. Yes, it is too close to NY Life, like a wall. And yes it thrusts up right off the sidewalk on a parkside street where its neighbors stand back respectfully off the park. So my problem is placement and the choice of yet another modern black box on this classical block.

October 5th, 2007, 05:05 PM
The black netting that has covered the roof of the building for the past several months started to come down today. Just the tip of the roof is visible now, but it's on its way.

October 21st, 2007, 02:48 PM
Frank Lynch on Flickr
March 20, 2007


October 21st, 2007, 06:08 PM
wow that thing really needed a clean.

October 27th, 2007, 11:45 AM
Will the roof be gold?

October 27th, 2007, 11:47 AM
The scaffold is completely gone, at least from the west side i could see from my office. It looks great, shiny gorgeous gold.

October 27th, 2007, 01:29 PM
ESB TowerCam 10-23-2007

October 28th, 2007, 06:36 PM
I love this building. Such a beauty. And it goes so well with Met Life Tower and the Met Life North building. Too bad the ugly and ill-proportioned Mercantile Building butts in the middle of things.

August 25th, 2011, 11:28 PM
bryankelley (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bryankelley/6065531320/sizes/l/in/photostream/)