Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower Alternative names Met Life Tower
Metropolitan Life Tower
Record height Tallest in the world from 1909 to 1913[I] Preceded by Singer Building Surpassed by Woolworth Building General information Type Commercial offices Location 1 Madison Avenue
Manhattan, New York City
Coordinates Coordinates: Construction started 1893 Completed 1909 Height Roof 213.36 m (700.0 ft) Technical details Floor count 50 Design and construction Owner El-Ad Group Architect Napoleon LeBrun & SonsMetropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower Architectural style: Gothic Governing body: Private NRHP Reference#: 78001874 Significant dates Added to NRHP: January 29, 1972 Designated NHL: June 2, 1978 Designated NYCL: 1989 References 
The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, also known as the Metropolitan Life Tower or Met Life Tower, is a landmark skyscraper located at One Madison Avenue in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. Designed by the architectural firm of Napoleon LeBrun & Sons and built by the Hedden Construction Company, the tower is modeled after the Campanile in Venice, Italy. It was constructed in 1909 and served as world headquarters of the company until 2005. It was the world's tallest building for three years, until 1913, when it was surpassed by the Woolworth Building.
The tower is a later addition to the original 11-story, full-block office building (the "East Wing") that was completed in 1893. Plans for the tower were first announced in 1905.
There are four clock faces, one on each side of the tower, located from the 25th to 27th floor. Each clock face is 26.5 feet (8 m) in diameter with each number being four feet (1.2 m) tall. The minute hands each weigh half a ton. The original tower was sheathed in Tuckahoe marble, but during the 1964 renovation plain limestone was used to cover the tower and the East Wing, replacing the old Renaissance revival details with a streamlined, modern look. Much of the building's original ornamentation was removed.
A three-year exterior restoration project, which saw much of the building covered in scaffolding, ended in 2002 and added a new, computerized, multicolored nighttime lighting system, much like that of the Empire State Building; the colors change to denote particular holidays or important events. The gilded cupola at the very top of the building serves as an "eternal light" which stays illuminated even after the rest of the lighting system has been turned off for the night. The building figured prominently in the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company's advertising for many years, illustrated with a light beaming from the top of its spire and the slogan, "The Light That Never Fails".
In March 2005, SL Green Realty Corp. bought the tower in anticipation of converting it into apartments. In May 2007, the tower was subsequently sold, along with adjacent air rights, to Africa Israel Investments for $200 million. It is speculated that the tower will be converted into either residential apartments or a high-end hotel.
The landmark clock tower's address has since been changed to 5 Madison Avenue. The rest of the full-block office building (the "East Wing"), now has 15 stories and is mostly occupied by investment banking arm of Credit Suisse. Credit Suisse refers to the building as One Madison Ave, or OMA.
At the corner of East 23rd Street and Park Ave South, which was originally known as Fourth Avenue, the building has an entrance to the 23rd Street New York City Subway station of the number 6 line.
Metropolitan Life North Building
By the late 1920s, the 1909 Met Life Tower and the 1919 North Annex were becoming too small to house the continuously growing activities of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. Looking to expand, the company considered building on a full block site between East 24th and East 25th Streets.
Ecole des Beaux Arts-educated architect Harvey Wiley Corbett left his position on the Rockefeller Center design team in order to take up this project in 1928. The final design for the new building was proposed as a 100-story, telescoping tower. However, the onset of the Great Depression in 1929 caused the company to scrap plans for a giant skyscraper and instead built only a portion of the proposed tower. What stands of the North Building today, completed in 1950, is what was to be the 32-story base for the 100-story tower, built with the structural strength and number of elevator shafts (30) needed for a later completion.
The primary tenant of the Metropolitan Life North Building today is the investment banking arm of Credit Suisse. Credit Suisse refers to the building as Eleven Madison Ave, or EMA.
The Metropolitan Life Home Office Complex, was added to the National Register on January 19, 1996.
In popular culture
- In the animated TV series Futurama, the tower is seen in the future as wider and its face replaced with a digital clock.
- ^ NYC GIS map
- ^ Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower at Emporis
- ^ Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower at SkyscraperPage
- ^ Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower at Structurae
- ^ a b "Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Building". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. 2007-09-15. http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=1773&ResourceType=Building.
- ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. http://nrhp.focus.nps.gov/natreg/docs/All_Data.html.
- ^ "Before This Seven-Day Wonder in Construction Is Completed It Will Be Overtopped by the Tall Tower of the Metropolitan Life.; A Reminder of Venice. How the Tower is Built. The Struggle with the Wind. Differs from Other Skyscrapers. An Extraordinary View." The New York Times, December 29, 1907. p. SM5
- ^ "Met Life Tower Named A New York Landmark", The New York Times, June 14, 1989. p. B4
- ^ George R. Adams (January 24, 1977). National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Metropolitan Life Insurance Tower. National Park Service. http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NHLS/Text/78001874.pdf and PDF (1.28 MB)
- ^ New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Guide to New York City Landmarks (4th ed.) New York:Wiley, 2009. ISBN 978-0-470-28963-1, p.79
- ^ "500-Foot Tower To Replace Church". The New York Times: p. 14. June 21, 1905. "Metropolitan Life's Plans for a New Structure; Parkhurst's Church There; The Company Will Raze It and Erect There One of the Tallest Buildings In the World."
- ^ "Clock Tower at Five Madison Goes for $200 M". The New York Observer. May 15, 2007. http://www.observer.com/2007/clock-tower-five-madison-goes-200-m. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
- ^ "Madison Sq Tower to Rise 100 Stories". The New York Times: p. N1. November 3, 1929. "Metropolitan Life Will Erect the Tallest Office Structure for Own Use on Whole Block. Unusual Design is Drawn Accommodation for 30,000 Workers --Moving Stairs Planned for the First Thirteen Floors. Will Occupy Entire Block. Light Value Stressed."
Records Preceded by
Tallest building in the world
Tallest building in the United States
Timeline of tallest buildings in New York City
Collegiate Reformed Protestant Dutch Church (c.1643) · Trinity Church (85 m) (1846) · New York World Building (94 m) (1890) · Manhattan Life Insurance Building (100 m) (1894) · Park Row Building (119 m) (1899) · Singer Building (187 m) (1908) · Metropolitan Life Tower (213 m) (1909) · Woolworth Building (241 m) (1913) · 40 Wall Street (283 m) (1929) · Chrysler Building (320 m) (1930) · Empire State Building (443 m) (1931) · World Trade Center (526 m) (1973) · Empire State Building (443 m) (2001)
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Lists by city Other lists Keeper of the Register • History of the National Register of Historic Places • Property types • Historic district • Contributing property
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Look at other dictionaries:
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