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World's Tallest: 1909

World's Tallest: 1909

December 1909. "Met Life Building." The Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. tower on a gray winter afternoon in Manhattan the year of its completion. It was the tallest building in the world until 1913, when it was surpassed by the Woolworth Building. 8x10 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. View full size.


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Look at the very top...

At the top, in between the columns, it looks like someone is standing, looking over the wall. Can we see a close up?

[Nobody there. - Dave]

What's in the top?

Whenever I see buildings with narrow pyramid like structures at the top I wonder what's inside. Are there small little offices inside or is it just empty space?

Not a person, just a volute.

No, it's not a person. It's just the shape of the volute from the left side's column.

New York's "Campanile"

What a picture! Still one of our most striking buildings. It was patterned after the campanile of San Marco in Venice. Try taking the Fifth Avenue bus in the winter after sunset and look up after passing 26th Street -- amazing.

Is that a person up there?

It almost seems that a person is leaning over the penultimate railing. Is there any to way to zoom in and see?

That's Life

Unfortunately, in the 1950s Met Life was stripped of much of its exterior decoration. The base of the building is rather bland, while the shaft lacks the glorious balustrade and ionic columns seen here. Still,it remains a worthy addition to the skyline.

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