Vintage Photograph From 1900s Shows Madison Square's Metropolitan Life Insurance Building Before Tower Addition

Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Building, New York City ca. 1900
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Building, New York City ca. 1900
Photo: LOC

Located on the corner of 23rd Street and Madison Avenue in the Flatiron District, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Building was quite an impressive site. Completed in 1893 and designed by Napoleon LeBrun & Sons, the 11-story, full-block building was one of the largest on Madison Square. But that wasn't enough for the booming company. In 1909, the church next door was demolished and a large 50-floor tower was constructed, making it the tallest building in the world from 1909 to 1913.

Metropolitan Life Insurance Building, Madison Square, New York, N.Y. ca. 1910
Metropolitan Life Insurance Building, Madison Square, New York, N.Y. ca. 1910
Photo: LOC

Both buildings still exist today, however a 1964 exterior renovation vastly changed their appearances, covering the ornate facades with plain limestone instead, a brutalist look that was favorable at the time. Here is a Google StreetView of how these buildings look today.

Madison Ave & E 23rd St

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