|Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower|
The Metropolitan Life Tower in 1911
|Alternative names||Met Life Tower|
Metropolitan Life Tower
|Tallest in the world from 1909 to 1913[I]|
|Preceded by||Singer Building|
|Surpassed by||Woolworth Building|
Commercial offices (originally)
|Location||1 Madison Avenue|
Manhattan, New York City
|Owner||Abu Dhabi Investment Authority|
|Roof||213.4 m (700 ft)|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Napoleon LeBrun & Sons|
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower
NYC Landmark #1530
|Architectural style||Italian Renaissance Revival|
|Part of||Metropolitan Life Home Office Complex (#95001544)|
|NRHP reference #||78001874|
|Added to NRHP||January 29, 1972|
|Designated NHL||June 2, 1978|
|Designated CP||January 19, 1996|
|Designated NYCL||June 13, 1989|
The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, colloquially known as the Met Life Tower, is a skyscraper occupying a full block adjacent to Madison Square Park in the Flatiron District of Manhattan, New York City. It is composed of two sections: a 700-foot-tall (210 m) clock tower at the northwest corner of the block, at Madison Avenue and 24th Street, and a shorter east wing occupying the remainder of the block bounded by Madison Avenue, Park Avenue South, 23rd Street, and 24th Street. The complex was built for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (now publicly known as MetLife), after which it is named.
The clock tower was designed by the architectural firm of Napoleon LeBrun & Sons and erected between 1905 and 1909. Inspired by St Mark's Campanile, the clock tower is 700 feet (210 m) tall and was the tallest building in the world until 1913; it features four clock faces, four bells, and lighted beacons at its top. The clock tower includes the New York Edition Hotel, a 273-room luxury hotel that opened in 2015. The clock tower was designated as a city landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1989, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. It was also made a National Historic Landmark in 1978.
The Met Life Tower's east wing was designed by D. Everett Waid and constructed in two stages between 1953 and 1960. The east wing is occupied primarily by Credit Suisse and is also referred to as 1 Madison Avenue. It replaced another building on the site, which was built in phases from 1893 to 1905, and which was also designed by LeBrun's firm. When the current east wing was built, the clock tower was extensively renovated as well.
The building complex, composed of the Metropolitan Life Home Office building (the east wing) and the clock tower, occupies an entire block between Madison Avenue to the west, 24th Street to the north, Park Avenue South to the east, and 23rd Street to the south. The block measures 200 feet (61 m) north-south by 445 feet (136 m) east-west. The original 11-story, full-block East Wing was completed in 1893 and was designed by Napoleon LeBrun & Sons. The tower was a later addition to the original building, constructed in 1905–1909. The original Home Office building was replaced with the current building, designed by D. Everett Waid, in 1953–1957. The complex is one of the few remaining major insurance company "home offices" in New York City.[a]
The clock tower is located at the northwest corner of the block, at Madison Avenue and 24th Street, with the address 5 Madison Avenue. The tower rises 700 feet (210 m) to its pinnacle. It has a footprint measuring 75 feet (23 m) north-south along Madison Avenue and 85 feet (26 m) west-east on 24th Street. This gives the tower a height-to-width ratio of 8.25:1. The clock tower is modeled after St Mark's Campanile in Venice, Italy; however, the 1909 Metropolitan Life Tower is actually older than its model, since St Mark's Campanile had collapsed in 1902 and was replaced in 1912.
Like the facades of many 19th-century early skyscrapers, the clock tower consisted of three horizontal sections similar to the components of a column—namely a base, shaft, and capital—in both its original and renovated forms. These three sections include usable space inside and are collectively 660 feet (200 m) tall. The building is topped by a 40-foot-tall (12 m) pyramidal roof, which is slightly set back from the rest of the tower, and contains a cupola and lantern. The clock tower was originally sheathed in Tuckahoe marble, provided by Hedden Construction Company. During the 1964 renovation plain limestone was used to cover the tower and the east wing, replacing LeBrun's old Renaissance revival details with a streamlined, modern look.
Some 7,500 short tons (6,700 long tons; 6,800 t) of steel were used in the clock tower's structural frame. The footings of the tower are 60 feet (18 m) deep, supported by twelve columns on the edges and eight columns inside the plot, and anchored to a layer of bedrock between 28 to 46 feet (8.5 to 14.0 m) deep. The main columns were located at the tower's corners, bearing structural loads of up to 10,400,000 pounds (4,700,000 kg), when wind pressure was taken into account.
The base comprises the first and second stories. The lowest portion of the facade along Madison Avenue and 24th Street contains a 5-foot-tall (1.5 m) water table made of granite, which wraps around to the east wing. At the first floor, there are two rectangular show windows and a small doorway on Madison Avenue, and two show windows flanking a larger entrance on 24th Street. On the second floor, the Madison Avenue and 24th Street sides each contain three short tripartite windows.
When the tower was built, the base comprised the first through fifth stories. A large cornice was located above the fourth story, and smaller cornices above the second and fifth stories. The original ornamentation on the rest of the tower was relatively restrained, except around the clock faces. The 1960s renovation replaced the marble between the first and fifth stories, and between the 20th and 36th stories, with limestone.
The "shaft" of the clock tower spans the third through 28th floors. The southern facade of the tower contains windows only above the 11th story, and the eastern facade contains windows above the 12th story, because the former east wing was located below these floors. On each floor, the "shaft" contains three sets of three windows per side, except on the 25th through 27th floors, where the building's clocks are located. On these floors, there are two paired windows on the outer edges of the tower. The 29th and 30th floors serve stylistically as "transitional stories", with ten windows per side on each floor; the 29th floor contains a single arrangement of 10 windows, while the 30th-floor windows have been divided into five pairs. This is largely the same arrangement as the original, except that in LeBrun's design, the "shaft" comprised the sixth through 30th floors.
The 31st through 38th floors comprise the clock tower's "capital". The 31st through 33rd floors are arranged as a loggia with arcades containing five arches on each side. The facade of the tower is recessed behind the arcade, and a balustrade wraps around the edges of the arcade, creating a patio. When built, the arcade was composed of stone columns, but these were replaced with masonry columns in the 1960s renovation. On the 34th floor, there are five windows per side, corresponding to the arches below. The setback tower rises from the 35th through 38th stories as a freestanding plinth. On these floors, the window arrangement indicates that the northern and southern facades are wider than the western and eastern facades, with six windows to the north and south, and four to the west and east.
A clock face is centered on all four sides of the tower from the 25th through 27th floors. Each clock face is 26.5 feet (8 m) in diameter, while the numerals on the clock faces are four feet (1.2 m) tall. The numerals and minute markers on the clock faces are edged with copper, while the minute and hour hands are made of iron with a copper sheathing. The minute hands weigh 1,000 pounds (450 kg) and are 17 feet (5.2 m) long, while the hour hands weigh 700 pounds (320 kg) and are 13.33 feet (4.06 m) long. The mechanism was controlled by electricity, a novelty upon the tower's completion. The master clock, which controlled the large clock faces as well as a hundred other clocks in the same complex, was located on the first floor of the former home office, and ran with a maximum error of five seconds per month.
The clock faces were the largest in the world upon their completion. The clock faces are made of reinforced concrete. Blue glazed tiles run along the circumference of each face; in addition, there is a tiled corona at the center of each face. The clock faces contain ornamentation by Pierre LeBrun, of Napoleon LeBrun and Sons. These include dolphins and shells on the spandrels at each face's corner, as well as marble wreaths with fruit-and-flower motifs on the faces themselves.
The pyramidal roof comprises the 39th and higher floors, and is set off by a cornice at the 39th-story level. Dormer windows protrude from the roof on the 39th through 43rd floors; these dormers contain semi-circular hoods, except for the 39th-floor dormers, which do not contain any hoods. The higher floors of the roof have fewer windows on each side.[b] The 44th floor is illuminated by two small windows on each side, located between ribs that rise to support a square viewing platform on the 45th floor. The 46th and 47th floors comprise a two-story-tall peristyle, supported by eight columns. The 48th floor contains a gold-colored aluminum cupola with eight windows. The topmost level is the 49th floor, which consists only of a platform with a gold-colored aluminium railing.[c] The 41st through 45th floors are accessible only by a staircase.
The tower contains four bells within the peristyle. These include a 7,000-pound (3,200 kg) B♭ bell on the west, a 3,000-pound (1,400 kg) E♭ bell on the east, a 2,000-pound (910 kg) F♮ bell on the north, and a 1,500-pound (680 kg) G♮ bell on the south. The bells were the highest in the world at the time of their construction. The bells were respectively struck by hammers weighing 94, 71, 61, and 54 pounds (equivalent to 43, 32, 28, and 24 kg respectively). A fifth hammer, weighing 131 pounds (59 kg), struck the 7,000-pound bell each hour. The smaller hammers struck the bells every 15 minutes.[d] On weekdays between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m., and on weekends between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., the bells played "I Know That My Redeemer Liveth" every 15 minutes. The bells were not given nicknames: rather, Metropolitan Life referred to each bell by its cardinal direction.
An eight-sided, 8-foot-wide (2.4 m) beacon is located at the top of the cupola. As designed, the white lantern is lit after 10:00 p.m., though it turns off momentarily every 15 minutes, during which red and white lights flashed the time.[e] The beacon was one of a few broadly visible features of the New York City nighttime skyline until the mid-20th century.
When built, the clock tower featured granite floors and metal interior furnishings, though there was very little wood trim, unlike other contemporary structures. The lower floors contained bronze grillwork and doorways, especially around the elevators, while on the upper floors, ornamental iron is used for the metalwork around the elevators. The second-floor spaces contained offices of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and contained white marble wainscoting, plaster cornices, marble mantels, etched-glass doors facing the executive offices, and red mahogany door, wall, and window panels. Each of the tower's floors are up to 5,400 square feet (500 m2) in area, smaller than the floor areas of most other nearby office buildings. During the 1960s renovation, the clock tower was fitted with more modern furnishings such as air conditioning, acoustic ceiling tiles, and automatic elevators, to match the new eastern wing. Marble floors were one of the few holdovers of the previous decor. The staircase leading to the top floors of the tower also retains its original decoration, including cast-iron railings, ceramic-tile wainscoting, marble stair treads, and landings with mosaic-tile floors.
Since 2015, the clock tower has been a 273-room luxury hotel called the New York Edition Hotel, with per-night hotel room rates starting at $600. Most of the historic detail in the interior was removed in the individual hotel rooms, but there are some remaining vestiges, such as the original scalloped ceilings. On the second floor is an upscale restaurant called The Clocktower, a Michelin-starred eatery headed by British chef Jason Atherton. The restaurant has a dining area, a separate bar, and a room with a billiards table, and is only accessible through the building's lobby.
The east wing, also known as the South Building, is located at 1 Madison Avenue. It is 14 stories tall and extends east to Park Avenue South, covering nearly the entire block. It has nearly 1,200,000 square feet (110,000 m2) of interior space. Unlike the clock tower, it is still used primarily as office space, with Credit Suisse as the main tenant.
The east wing's internal structure consists of a steel frame. The lowest two floors contain a granite facade, while the remaining stories contain a facade of Alabama limestone, as well as stainless-steel spandrels between each window. There are setbacks behind the second, 10th, and 12th floors.
The lobby of the east wing was combined with that of the clock tower when the east wing was constructed. It consists of floors and walls made of white marble and darker-marble accents, as well as a sheet rock ceiling with lighting panels, and stainless-steel doors and trim. Above the lobby are the office floors, which contain sheet rock walls and dropped ceilings; around the elevator lobbies, the floors are made of terrazzo tiles, and the walls contain a travertine veneer. The lowest six floors are served mainly by escalators and the upper floors are served by elevators. There is also wood paneling on the walls near the executive offices. The original home office's board room was preserved on the 11th floor of the east wing, and features mahogany wainscoting, a coffered ceiling, and leather covering the walls.
The east wing is connected to the Metropolitan Life North Building by a preexisting tunnel, as well as a sky bridge on the eighth floor. At the southeastern corner, on the basement level, there is a direct entrance to the downtown platform of the New York City Subway's 23rd Street station, serving the 6 and <6> trains.
Original home office
The original home office occupied the same area as the current east wing. The section facing 23rd Street was 11 stories tall and the section on 24th Street was 12 stories tall, with a total height of 165 feet (50 m). Designed by Napoleon LeBrun, it contained Italian Renaissance motifs along the entire facade. The home office was erected in multiple sections, with the 23rd Street side being completed first.
The clock tower and home office originally had a facade of ashlar on the first story, and an elaborate arcade of columns and pilasters on the second and third stories. The main entrance along Madison Avenue, as well as 150 feet (46 m) of the 23rd Street facade, contained slightly projecting columns, which created porticoes. Similar to the original design of the clock tower, it had a large cornice above the fourth floor and smaller cornices above the second and fifth floor. On the fourth through ninth floors, the facade was arranged with deeply molded and decorated reveals, as well as carved mullions. These elements were arranged to form an arched arcade, which extended through the ninth floor; the windows were located in slightly recessed bays between each arch.
Inside the building, a large marble corridor ran between the entrances at Madison Avenue and Fourth Avenue (now Park Avenue South).[f] Accessible from this hallway was a United States Post Office branch, a Western Union telegraph booth, a bank, telephone booths, and numerous shops. Cross-passages ran north and south to 24th and 23rd Streets, and stairs led to the subway station's downtown platform. The main rotunda was at the Madison Avenue entrance, measuring 40 feet (12 m) square and 70 feet (21 m) high, from which a "magnificent" stairway ascended to the second floor. Within the home office, there were 38 elevators, serving 1,100 tenants. The building contained an extensive fire sprinkler system with standpipes and automatic sprinklers.
The home office served as the nexus of Metropolitan Life's operations and largely contained an open plan work space. The interior layout was rearranged approximately every five years, at least in the building's early history, though the interior arrangements were always focused on worker efficiency. The structure was generally not publicly accessible, and employees' movements were closely monitored. Conversely, there were also many amenities for employees, including a library, auditorium, gymnasium, and medical and dental offices. There was also a recreational space on the roof of the home office's 23rd Street portion, and through the home office complex's extensive system of kitchens and dining rooms,[g] the company offered free lunch to every employee between 1908 and 1994. Though the home office accommodated 14,500 workers by 1938, they were split up into different social hierarchies, with immigrants in service jobs; women in seamstresses' and cleaners' jobs; and native-born workers of both genders in white-collar jobs.
Before the home office at Madison Square was completed, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (now MetLife) had been headquartered at three buildings in Lower Manhattan, all of which have been demolished. Its first headquarters was at 243 Broadway, which the company occupied between 1868 and 1869. This headquarters comprised two and a half rooms totaling "not more than 900 square feet" (84 m2): one for the president and another for the remaining staff. In 1870, Metropolitan Life moved to 319 Broadway's third floor, a slightly larger space that also contained a supply room. The company moved again in 1876 to Park Place and Church Street, during which its operations grew rapidly. The Lower Manhattan building was becoming too small for Metropolitan Life's operations by 1889. The company had $250 million in industrial life insurance policies by 1891.
At the time, life insurance companies generally had their own buildings for their offices and branch locations, to ensure that they had instilled "not only its name but also a favorable impression of its operations" in the general public. This had been a trend since 1870, with the completion of the former Equitable Life Building in Manhattan's Financial District. Furthermore, life insurance companies of the late 19th and early 20th centuries generally built massive buildings to fit their large clerical and records-keeping staff.
Original home office
In 1890 the company purchased the corner site at Madison Avenue and 23rd Street, which measured 125 by 145 feet (38 by 44 m), across from Madison Square Park. Joseph Fairchild Knapp, Metropolitan Life's president,[h] hired Napoleon LeBrun to design a seven-story Italian Renaissance office building on 23rd Street between Madison Avenue and Fourth Avenue. Work commenced in May 1890 with the demolition of five brownstone mansions at 23rd Street and Madison Avenue. Knapp died before the structure's 1893 completion, and the building was subsequently expanded to 11 stories. Metropolitan Life occupied the second through fifth floors for its own use, but soon afterward expanded to the sixth and ninth stories, while filling the ground-story storefront spaces. The company occupied the first portion of the home office in early 1893. At the time, it had 650 workers.
The first section of the home office was completed in mid-1894. By that time, the company had full control of almost all lots on the north side of 23rd Street between Madison and Fourth Avenues, as well as a frontage of 115 feet (35 m) on 24th Street. One lot on 23rd Street was not acquired until June 1895; once Metropolitan Life bought that plot, it built a two-story structure on the remaining plot, which was later raised to 11 stories. Meanwhile, Metropolitan Life built a 12-story building on the plots along 24th Street, which was completed in October 1895 and was occupied that November. Additionally, the Standard National Bank opened a branch on the home office's Madison Avenue side in 1895. Metropolitan Life made a purchase offer for the National Academy of Design site at Fourth Avenue and 23rd Street in 1894; however, the company did not acquire title to the land until June 1899, thus completing its property acquisition on 23rd Street.
Most of the lots on the 24th Street side were purchased starting in 1894 for the construction of a 12-story addition to the home office. The company bought the Lyceum Theatre site on Fourth Avenue in 1902. Metropolitan Life bought the corner of Fourth Avenue and 24th Street in 1902-1903 and constructed the next portion of the home office on the Lyceum Theatre and Academy of Design sites. That section was occupied in May 1906. By 1905, Metropolitan Life had acquired most of the lots on the south side of 24th Street between Madison and Fourth avenues. The only lot the company had not acquired was the Madison Square Presbyterian Church, built in 1854 at the southeastern corner of Madison Avenue and 24th Street. The gradual development of the block had given rise to other skyscrapers surrounding Madison Square, such as the Flatiron Building in 1902 and the Fifth Avenue Building (now Toy Center) in 1908.
In April 1906, Metropolitan Life bought the church lot, on which it intended to build a 560-foot (170 m) tower. The church was razed soon after the purchase of the site. In exchange, the church received a 75-by-150-foot (23 by 46 m) plot of land across 24th Street that became the site for Stanford White's 1906 building for the Madison Square Presbyterian Church, sometimes called the "Parkhurst Church" after Reverend Charles Henry Parkhurst. Plans for the proposed clock tower were filed with the New York City Department of Buildings in January 1907. At the time, the tower was to rise 690 feet (210 m) above ground, with 48 usable stories, or 50 total. The building plans were modified in April 1908, providing for a 54-story tower, though the additional four stories were not built.
By February 1908, thirty-one stories of the tower had been built. The lower floors of the Metropolitan Life clock tower were occupied by May 1908, though the tower was not completed until 1909. The expanded complex had 2,800 workers at the time of the clock tower's completion. Metropolitan Life officials held a jubilee dinner in January 1910 to celebrate the tower's completion. The clock tower had cost $6.58 million. It was the world's tallest building until 1913, when it was surpassed by the Woolworth Building in Tribeca, Lower Manhattan. A 1914 company history estimated that the entire complex could accommodate 20,000 visitors and tenants per day.
A plot on the north side of 24th Street, measuring 75 by 100 feet (23 by 30 m), was developed in 1903-1905 as the first Metropolitan Annex, a 16-story printing plant building faced in Tuckahoe marble. The annex was designed by LeBrun, and it was connected to the main building by a tunnel. White’s 1906 church building was demolished in 1919 to make way for an expansion of the northern annex, which was 18 stories tall. This annex was designed by D. Everett Waid and completed in 1921.
By the late 1920s, the clock tower, home office, and LeBrun's and Waid's northern annexes were becoming too small to house the continuously growing activities of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. Looking to expand, the company acquired a full-block site directly to the north, between East 24th and 25th Streets. Architects Harvey Wiley Corbett and D. Everett Waid took up the project in 1928. The approved design for what would become the Metropolitan Life North Building was for a 100-story tower, but the onset of the Great Depression in 1929 caused the company to build only the 28-story base, which was built in three stages. LeBrun's and Waid's northern annexes remained until 1946, when they were demolished to make way for the final stage of the North Building. The North Building was completed in 1950 with the structural strength and the number of elevator shafts needed for a possible future expansion.
1950s and 1960s renovations
Even with the addition of the North Building, the number of staff in the complex was steadily increasing, with 14,500 workers by 1938. To alleviate this, in 1950, Metropolitan Life announced that it would refurbish its entire headquarters. The initial plans were filed by Leonard Schultz and Associates, but after Schultz's 1951 death, Lloyd Morgan and Eugene Meroni took up the design process. In 1952, Morgan and Meroni filed plans with the New York City Department of Buildings for a completely new structure on the site of the existing home offices. A Metropolitan Life press release stated that a new structure was chosen over a renovation because the new structure would have more interior floor space, due to the elimination of the interior courtyard inside the old building, and because new construction was cheaper than renovation.
Work started in 1953, and the company demolished auxiliary structures to make way for the new home office building. The tunnel to the northern annex was retained, and a sky bridge was built at the eighth floor of the new building. To minimize disruption to Metropolitan Life's operations, the new home office was erected in two stages, so construction on one part of the home office could go on while normal operations proceeded in the other portion. The first stage was built between 1953 and 1957, and the second, between 1958 and 1960.
The tower, the sole structure on the block that remained from the early 20th century, was renovated starting in 1961 to harmonize the design with Morgan and Meroni's east wing. Starrett Brothers & Eken were the general contractors and Purdy & Henderson were the structural engineers. During this time, the clock, bells, and roof were rebuilt. The renovation also sought to remodel the facade so it would be stylistically similar to the new home office building to its east, and so the decaying marble was replaced with limestone. Morgan eliminated most of the ornamentation added by LeBrun, though he preserved the clock tower's general proportions, and designed the east wing so that the clock tower would rise behind setbacks on the 10th, 11th, and 13th floors. The project was completed in 1964.
In 1982, Cross & Brown Company leased out four of the floors in the clock tower, the first time in the building's history that space in the tower had been leased to outside tenants. The clock tower's floor areas proved to be optimal for small organizations, and in 1985, Metropolitan Life vacated the clock tower and moved all remaining operations to the north building and the south building's east wing. At the time, 26 of the 40 lower floors had already been leased.
A three-year, $35 million exterior restoration project, which saw much of the building covered in scaffolding, was undertaken between 1998 and 2002. During this time, the clock tower's marble facade was repaired, a new multicolored lighting system was added, and the cupola was re-gilded. Because the clock tower was on the National Register of Historic Places (having been added in 1972), MetLife was eligible for a tax break on the building.
In March 2005, SL Green Realty bought the clock tower, intending to convert it to apartments. The east wing was part of the sale, but would not be converted to apartments, being leased to Credit Suisse First Boston until at least 2020. In May 2007, the tower and adjacent air rights were subsequently sold for $200 million to Africa Israel Investments. In 2011, Tommy Hilfiger and a partner signed a contract to buy the clock tower for $170 million, planning to transform it into Hilfiger's first hotel, with luxury condominiums. However, Hilfiger backed off the project in September 2011. Africa Israel then sold the tower to Marriott International in October 2011 for $165 million. Marriott announced in January 2012 that it was converting the tower to the New York Edition Hotel, one of three boutique hotels in the Edition line. The Edition hotels were sold in January 2013 to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority for $815 million. The New York property was conveyed to its new owner on its completion. Marriott continues to manage the hotels under long-term contract, and the New York Edition Hotel opened in May 2015.
Metropolitan Life intended the building to promote the company's image, with company president John Rogers Hegeman calling the building "a symbol of integrity". As such,the tower was surrounded by publicity. The clock tower was featured on the front of prominent magazines such as Scientific American, as well as on the sides of corn flake boxes, coffee packets, and cars. Metropolitan Life valued the free publicity surrounding its skyscraper at over $440,000 (equivalent to $13 million in 2019). The company also published three oversized monographs with images featuring the building, in 1907, 1908, and 1914.
The building figured prominently in Metropolitan Life's advertising for many years, illustrated with a light beaming from the top of its spire and the slogan "The Light That Never Fails". While other life insurance companies, such as the New York Life Insurance Company and Equitable Insurance Company, used sculptural representations for their respective symbols, Metropolitan Life used the building itself to represent the company's work and ideals.
Though not structurally distinctive, the clock tower nevertheless was highly scrutinized, being the world's tallest building upon its completion. The design of the Metropolitan Life Tower won critical acclaim within the American architectural profession. The American Institute of Architects' New York chapter called the clock tower "the most meritorous work of the year" upon its completion. The writer Roberta Moudry observed that "the tower appeared from [Madison Square Park] as an entity unto itself", distinct from other tall structures nearby, and at the time of its construction, "serve[d] as a timely large-scale public declaration of civic stature and ethical responsibility". The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission described the original home office's design as doing "much to establish Metropolitan Life in the eyes and the mind of the public." In a company history book written shortly after the building's completion, Metropolitan Life had characterized the structure as "the most beautiful home office in the world".
Members of the public also viewed the clock tower positively, with one anonymous reviewer calling the clock "a reassuring melody to hear on a trustworthy schedule". One newspaper columnist stated that when the clocks' hands were taken apart for cleaning in 1937, "letters poured in, asking what went on". On December 11, 1984, to celebrate the building's 75th anniversary, the United States Postal Service issued a pictorial cancellation that depicted the Metropolitan Life Tower, which was available only on that day.
The tower, excluding the eastern annex, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1978, and a New York City designated landmark in 1989. The Metropolitan Life Home Office Complex, which includes the tower and the adjacent North Building, was added to the National Register on January 19, 1996. The eastern annex was not included in the Home Office Complex designation due to its relatively young age.
- Early skyscrapers
- List of tallest buildings in the United States
- List of National Historic Landmarks in New York City
- List of New York City Designated Landmarks in Manhattan from 14th to 59th Streets
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Manhattan from 14th to 59th Streets
- The others include:
- On the 40th through 44th floors, the north and south facades contain 4, 4, 3, 2, and 1 windows per side, respectively, while the west and east facades contain 3, 3, 2, 1, and 1 windows per side.
- Other source cite the balcony level as being the 46th floor, if only usable stories are counted, or the 50th floor.
- The four smaller hammers struck the respective bells at the following intervals: four blows at 15 minutes past the hour, eight blows at 30 minutes past the hour, twelve blows at 45 minutes past the hour, and sixteen blows each hour on the hour.
- The red lights flashed at the following intervals: once at 15 minutes past the hour, twice at 30 minutes past the hour, three times at 45 minutes past the hour, and four times each hour on the hour. After the red light flashed, a white light flashed the number of hours at the present time, and then the white lantern turned on again. For instance, 10:15 p.m. would be signified by one red flash followed by ten white flashes.
- The section of Fourth Avenue adjacent to the Metropolitan Life Tower was renamed Park Avenue South in 1959, after the demolition of the original home office.
- When the Metropolitan Life North Building opened in 1932, the tunnel under 24th Street provided access to the basements of that building, which contained a kitchen and two dining room levels.
- Joseph F. Knapp was also the father of philanthropist Joseph P. Knapp.
- "NYCityMap". NYC.gov. New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
- Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower at Emporis
- "Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower". SkyscraperPage.
- Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower at Structurae
- "Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Building". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. September 15, 2007. Archived from the original on October 20, 2007.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
- Frost & Sames 1909, p. 387.
- National Park Service 1978, p. 3.
- Mendelsohn, Joyce (1998), Touring the Flatiron: Walks in Four Historic Neighborhoods, New York: New York Landmarks Conservancy, pp. 22–23, ISBN 0-964-7061-2-1, OCLC 40227695
- "NYCityMap". NYC.gov. New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
- Gray, Christopher (May 26, 1996). "Streetscapes/Metropolitan Life at 1 Madison Avenue;For a Brief Moment, the Tallest Building in the World". The New York Times. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
- Presa, Donald G. (October 24, 2000). "New York Life Insurance Company Building" (PDF). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. p. 4.
- Landmarks Preservation Commission 1989, p. 3.
- Landmarks Preservation Commission 1989, p. 8.
- Metropolitan Life Insurance Company 1914, p. 45.
- Metropolitan Life Insurance Company 1914, p. 46.
- "Before This Seven-Day Wonder in Construction Is Completed It Will Be Overtopped by the Tall Tower of the Metropolitan Life". The New York Times. December 29, 1907. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
- Dublin 1943, p. 236; Moudry 2005, p. 125; Landau & Condit 1996, pp. 361, 364–366.
- Landmarks Preservation Commission 1989, p. 7.
- Metropolitan Life Insurance Company 1914, p. 44.
- National Park Service 1978, p. 4.
- Landmarks Preservation Commission 1989, p. 9.
- Landmarks Preservation Commission 1989, p. 14.
- National Park Service 1995, p. 3.
- Landmarks Preservation Commission 1989, p. 10.
- Metropolitan Life Insurance Company 1914, p. 47.
- Frost & Sames 1909, p. 390.
- "The Metropolitan Tower". Architects' and Builders Magazine. 10 (41): 432. July 1909.
- National Park Service 1995, p. 3.
- Frost & Sames 1909, p. 389.
- National Park Service 1995, p. 4.
- Landmarks Preservation Commission 1989, pp. 10–11.
- Landmarks Preservation Commission 1989, p. 11.
- Schneider, Daniel B. (April 26, 1998). "F.y.i." The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
- Heimer, Mel (March 31, 1960). "My New York". White Plains Journal-News. p. 5. Retrieved April 8, 2020 – via newspapers.com .
- Landmarks Preservation Commission 1989, p. 15.
- Connors, Anthony (April 12, 1998). "Then and Now: The Met Life Building". New York Daily News. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
- Frost & Sames 1909, p. 388.
- National Park Service 1978, p. 5.
- Kennedy, Shawn G. (April 3, 1985). "About Real Estate; Metropolitan Life, Vacating Tower, Now a Landlord". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
- Alberts, Hana R. (May 28, 2015). "Tour the New York Edition Hotel, Carved From a Clocktower". Curbed NY. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
- Moss, J. Jennings (May 8, 2015). "MetLife Clocktower gets new life with Schrager, Marriott collaboration". New York Business Journal. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
- Baker, Abbe (February 27, 2018). "The First Day I Got My Michelin Stars: The Clocktower's Jason Atherton". Michelin Guide.
- Sutton, Ryan (July 28, 2015). "The Clocktower Bucks All the Trends and Is Better For It". Eater. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
- Wells, Pete (August 25, 2015). "Restaurant Review: The Clocktower in Midtown South". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
- Cuozzo, Steve (July 9, 2015). "NYC's best new restaurant is bold, buzzy and beautiful". New York Post. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
- National Park Service 1995, p. 5.
- Jr, Thomas W. Ennis (April 24, 1955). "Metropolitan Life Modernizes Madison Square Office Center". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
- Lueck, Thomas J. (March 31, 2005). "$1 Billion Deal Turns MetLife Into Condos". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
- National Park Service 1995, p. 3.
- "MTA Neighborhood Maps: 23 Street (6)". mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2018. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
- Metropolitan Life Insurance Company 1914, p. 62.
- "Manhattan's Highest Skyscraper" (PDF). The Real Estate Record: Real estate record and builders' guide. 79 (2028): 331. January 26, 1907 – via columbia.edu.
- Metropolitan Life Insurance Company 1914, pp. 61-63.
- Bennett, Charles G. (May 6, 1959). "Sign Ban Is Voted on Two Avenues". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
- Metropolitan Life Insurance Company 1914, p. 48.
- Moudry 2005, p. 124.
- Metropolitan Life Insurance Company 1914, p. 49.
- Metropolitan Life Insurance Company 1914, p. 50.
- Moudry 2005, p. 131.
- Moudry 2005, p. 132.
- National Park Service 1995, p. 13.
- Moudry 2005, pp. 133–134.
- Metropolitan Life Insurance Company 1914, p. 61.
- Moudry 2005, p. 122.
- National Park Service 1978, p. 2.
- National Park Service 1978, p. 11.
- Gibbs 1984, p. 25.
- "Germania Life Insurance Company Building" (PDF). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. September 6, 1988. p. 7. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
- Gibbs 1984, p. 24.
- Gibbs 1984, p. 39.
- National Park Service 1995, p. 133.
- "In the Real Estate Field; the Academy of Design's Building Sold". The New York Times. September 28, 1894. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
- "The Academy Sold". New York Evening World. September 27, 1894. p. 1. Retrieved April 7, 2020 – via newspapers.com .
- "Standard Bank to Open". The New York Times. June 16, 1895. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
- Metropolitan Life Insurance Company 1914, p. 63.
- "Academy of Design Sold; The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Buys the Property for $440,000 in Cash". The New York Times. June 2, 1899. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
- Landmarks Preservation Commission 1989, p. 4.
- Moudry 2005, p. 125.
- "A 500-foot Tower to Replace Church". The New York Times. June 21, 1905. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
- "New Parkhurst Church Dedicated Yesterday". The New York Times. October 15, 1906. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
- Kendall, William Mitchell (2002) . Hoak, Edward Warren; Church, Willis Humphrey (eds.). Masterpieces of American Architecture: Museums, Libraries, Churches and Other Public Buildings. p. 105.
- "The 50-Story Tower: Its Plan Announced; New Building Will Rise 690 Feet Above Madison Square". The New York Times. January 4, 1907. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
- "World Record Building". New-York Tribune. January 4, 1907. p. 10. Retrieved April 7, 2020 – via newspapers.com .
- "Building to be Higher". New-York Tribune. April 19, 1908. p. 11. Retrieved April 7, 2020 – via newspapers.com .
- "31 Stories of New Tower Up; Eleven Floors of Metropolitan Life Tower Will Be Opened on May 1". The New York Times. February 27, 1908. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
- Moudry 2005, pp. 120–125.
- Landau & Condit 1996, p. 361.
- "Metropolitan Life Has Jubilee Diner; A Thousand Gather and Celebrate the Completion of Its 700-Foot Tower". The New York Times. January 23, 1910. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
- Moudry 2005, pp. 123–125.
- Metropolitan Life Insurance Company 1914, p. 51.
- National Park Service 1995, p. 14.
- "Raze Parkhurst Church". The New York Times. May 6, 1919. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
- "Million Dollar Building to Replace Parkhurst Church on Madison Avenue". The New York Times. September 28, 1919. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
- "Madison Sq. Tower to Rise 100 Stories". The New York Times. November 3, 1929. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
- "Get $10,000,000 Contract; Starrett Brothers & Eken to Erect Metropolitan Life Building". The New York Times. December 7, 1930. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
- National Park Service 1995, p. 11.
- Cooper, Lee E. (May 25, 1950). "Metropolitan Life Will Redevelop Home-Office Site on Madison Ave". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
- "New Offices Planned; Metropolitan Life Will Replace Madison Avenue Building". The New York Times. May 24, 1952. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
- National Park Service 1995, p. 15.
- National Park Service 1995, p. 16.
- "Clock Chimes Silent; Bells Removed During Change in Metropolitan Life Tower". The New York Times. October 5, 1961. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
- Dunlap, David W. (August 22, 2001). "Commercial Real Estate: A Tower's Big-Time Restoration; MetLife's Immense Clock Gets a Detailed Overhaul". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 6, 2020.
- "Clock Tower at Five Madison Goes for $200 M". The New York Observer. May 15, 2007. Archived from the original on May 17, 2011. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
- Bagli, Charles V. (May 5, 2011). "Hilfiger Has Plan to Convert MetLife Clock Tower to Hotel". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
- "Marriott Buys the Clock Tower". StreetBeat. Archived from the original on December 23, 2012. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
- "Five New EDITION Hotels Announced for Gateway Cities" (Press release). Marriott. January 19, 2012. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
- Hotel News Resource (January 7, 2014). "Marriott Sells Three EDITION Hotels for $815 Million" (Press release). Retrieved April 8, 2020.
- Alberts, Hana R. (May 28, 2015). "Tour the New York Edition Hotel, Carved From a Clocktower". Curbed NY. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
- Moudry 2005, p. 126.
- Dublin 1943, p. 75.
- A New York Campanile 700 Feet High. Scientific American. Library of American civilization. 98. Munn & Company. 1908. p. 305.
- Angell, Callie (1994). "Guide to Empire" in The Films of Andy Warhol Part II (exhibition brochure). The Whitney Museum of American Art. p. 16.
- Moudry 2005, p. 128.
- Landau & Condit 1996, pp. 366–367.
- Metropolitan Life Insurance Company 1914, p. 64.
- "Critic at Large; Metropolitan Life's Clock Is Back on Job, Sounding the Hours With Solemnity". The New York Times. April 28, 1964. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
- "U.S. Postal Service to issue one-day-only pictorial postal cancellation commemorating New York City's Metropolitan Life Tower". PRNewswire. December 4, 1984. p. NYPRFNS1.
- George R. Adams (January 24, 1977). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Metropolitan Life Insurance Tower". National Park Service. and Accompanying 6 photos, exterior and interior, from 1950-1976 (1.28 MB)
- 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. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-470-28963-1.
- "Met Life Tower Named A New York Landmark". The New York Times. June 14, 1989. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
- Dublin, Louis I. (1943). "A family of thirty million : the story of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company" – via HathiTrust.
- Frost, H.; Sames, C.M.C. (1909). The Engineering Digest. Technical Literature Company.
- Gibbs, Kenneth (1984). Business architectural imagery in America, 1870–1930. Ann Arbor, Mich: UMI Research Press. ISBN 978-0-8357-1575-1. OCLC 10754074.
- Landau, Sarah Bedford; Condit, Carl W. (1996). Rise of the New York Skyscraper, 1865–1913. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-30007-739-1.
- Moudry, Roberta (2005). "The Corporate and the Civic: Metropolitan Life's Home Office Building". In Moudry, Roberta (ed.). The American Skyscraper: Cultural Histories. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-52162-421-3.
- Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (1914). The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company: Its History, Its Present Position in the Insurance World, Its Home Office Building and Its Work Carried on Therein. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.
- "Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower" (PDF). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. June 13, 1989.
- "Historic Structures Report: Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Building" (PDF). National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service. June 2, 1978.
- "Historic Structures Report: Metropolitan Life Home Office Complex" (PDF). National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service. December 5, 1995.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower.|
- Statement of Significance as a National Historic Landmark
| Tallest building in the world
| Tallest building in the United States|