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About the Photos

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: 1908

Metropolitan Life: 1908

June 16, 1908. The Metropolitan Life tower under construction in New York City. View full size. 8x10 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection.

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To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

Appellate Courthouse

You're right, the domed structure is not the courthouse. However, it is in the picture. It's the short white structure, with statues on its roof, about the third building to the left of the church. It is on the northeast corner of 25th St and Madison Avenue, nestled into an area of highrise office buildings which also boast some of the best restaurants in the city.

Hotel Bartholdi

Named for the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty. Built 1885, demolished 1970.

Domed Building

The building with the dome next to the Met Life tower is the Madison Square Presbyterian Church by Stanford White -- not the Appellate Division Courthouse. The church was demolished in the early 20th century.

William Seward.

The statue at the bottom of the picture is that of William Seward (1801-1872). He was an anti-slavery Governor of NY State and later Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of State. His greatest accomplishment, although not thought so at the time, was the purchase of Alaska from Russia (Seward's Folly). That was before the gold rush, during the Andrew Johnson Presidency. He also tried to block the recognition of the Confederate States by European countries. He was targeted for assassination during the John Wilkes Booth conspiracy, but survived. The Statue remains at the 23rd Street & Broadway/Fifth Avenue entrance to Madison Square Park. The Sculptor was Randolph Rogers, who was accused of creating a statue of Abraham Lincoln and then substituting the head of Seward on it.

Madison Square Garden

The building with the spires is Madison Square Garden. The tower has the famous statue of Diana at its peak.

Fabulous Detail in the full size view

This 8x10 negative has great detail. In addition to the Met Life Tower there is the NY Supreme Court Appellate Division building (domed building -still there), the variety of horse drawn carriages at the curb of Madison Square Park and the old, old Madison Square Garden (building with the tower-long gone). As a bonus, way in the background is the still under construction Queensboro Bridge.

Thanks to the gang at Shorpy (and G.G. Bain) for preserving this moment in time.

Bill B


What is that building in the background with all the spires?

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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