An Incredible View Of Madison Square 1909

Looking Straight Down On Madison Square During The Construction Of The Metropolitan Life Tower -1909


Aerial view of Madison Square as seen by workmen atop Met Life Tower 1908 ph Keystone LOC

The Metropolitan Life Building added a tower to its existing building in 1908-1909 enhancing the skyline of New York. An enterprising photographer from the Keystone View Company made his way to the top of the building to take this incredible stereoview photograph of Madison Square Park and the surrounding area.

Click to enlarge the photograph to bring out some great details.

Dividing the photo into four quadrants starting with the lower right, you can see two workers adjusting rope, one sitting, the other standing on steel beams 700 feet above the street.

In the upper right corner just past the beams we can see horse drawn vehicles along Madison Avenue and across 26th Street. The nearest building in the foreground is the roof of the Beaux-Arts style Appellate Division Courthouse on Madison Avenue and 25th Street. The courthouse is a New York City landmark.

On the northeast corner of Madison Avenue and 26th Street stands Madison Square Garden with its theater sign clearly visible. Directly across 26th Street on the northwest corner is a four story limestone building, home to The Society For The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Next to the SPCA building along 26th Street facing the park, are eight brownstones, with all their stoops intact.

By 1912 all the brownstones would be demolished and replaced by tall loft and office buildings with the exception of the fourth building from the corner, 21 E. 26th Street which remains today with alterations. The building originally housing the SPCA is still extant today, but heavily altered with six additional stories.

In the upper left corner next to the brownstones is part of the 13 story Brunswick Hotel. After its days as a hotel, the building was put into use a warehouse and a showroom. In 2004 the building was converted into luxury apartments and renamed The Grand Madison.

Finally in the lower and upper left portion is Madison Square Park with its winding paths which can be seen clearly through its leafless trees.

When work was completed on the Metropolitan Life Building in 1909, it was the tallest building in the world. It was an honor that would not last long. By 1913 the Metropolitan Life Building ceded its title to the Woolworth Building.


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