Two Views of New York’s Historic Madison Square Taken From the Flatiron Building 1903 & 1958
The New York Daily News used to do a feature, where they showed an old photograph of New York and had a modern photograph of the same scene.
From the newly completed Flatiron Building, here is Madison Square from about 1903.
Madison Square Garden and its tower are in the center of the photo. Brownstones and mostly low-rise buildings surround the Madison Square neighborhood. There are so few tall buildings that you can see the East River off in the distance. The building with the columns at the bottom of the photo is the Appellate Division courthouse. A small corner of Madison Square Park can be seen in the lower left,
Fast forward about 55 years and the changes are dramatic.
You can see there are few holdovers from 1903, but many of the surrounding buildings are now high-rises. The Appellate Division courthouse is still there, but Madison Square Garden has been replaced by the massive New York Life Insurance Building occupying the entire block between 26th and 27th Streets from Madison to Park Avenue. Madison Square Park remains unspoiled beneath a canopy of trees. On the extreme right the tower with the clock is the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Building. In 1909 Metropolitan Life expanded their six story building on 23rd Street and Madison Avenue to a skyscraper. Until the Woolworth Building was completed in 1913, The Metropolitan Life Building was the tallest building in the world.