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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Metropolitan Life: 1910

Metropolitan Life: 1910

New York circa 1910. "Metropolitan Life Insurance Building, Madison Square." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

On Shorpy:
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Met Life

When I was a kid in the early 1970s and walking past the Metropolitan Life Bldg with my father on the way to his restaurant on 2nd Ave and 21st Street. The building was that much more impressive at sunrise in the summer.

Madison Square from an aerial perspective

Alvin Langdon Coburn must have been in the Metropolitan Life building when he took his famous 1912 photograph "The Octopus."

It all comes back to Shorpy's favorite girl.

Didn't Stanford White get shot in the face for sleeping with Evelyn Nesbit?

There was a garden in Madison Square?

Who knew?

Madison Square Presbyterian Church

The small domed building to the left of the tower is the Madison Square Presbyterian Church, one of the last executed designs of Stanford White (before his unfortunate demise at the hands of the insane millionaire Harry K. Thaw). The church previously occupied the site where the tower was built; White's design for the replacement church made the construction of the tower possible. Alas, the church lasted a mere 13 years in its new building, from 1906 to 1919; it, too, was swallowed up by Met Life's voracious expansion of its premises - buildings which were in turn replaced by the company's new "North Building" between 1928 and 1933.

Top of the Met

Along with a great deal of purple prose (and some numeric inconsistencies!), this Times article mentions the loggias with the tall arched openings, but not the dormered rooms in the (off-) vertical facade above. I make the base of that about 75 feet square, and the walls were said to recede 8 feet on a side.

Re: That Clock

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 in diameter with each number being four feet tall. The minute hands each weigh half a ton.

Rooms at the top

I've always wanted to venture up into the farthest reaches of spires like this and inspect the upper rooms. I wonder what's behind the small dormers at top -- elevator rooms? Mechanical? Some love nest?

Standing Room Only

One wonders what the employment picture was like in 1910, when at 2:10 in the afternoon, there does not appear to be a single unoccupied park bench. Unless, of course, this picture was shot on a Sunday afternoon.

That clock

If each row of windows is a floor, then that clock is 3 stories tall. Does anyone know if it still keeps good time?

Benches full

It's 2pm. Is this a late lunch or some sort of American siesta? Or do a lot people just have a job as people-watchers?

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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