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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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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.

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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