Posts Tagged ‘skyscrapers of New York City’

Night descends on the Empire State Building

May 20, 2013

A different New York comes alive at night than the daytime city, one with its own magic and enchantment.

Whoever wrote the caption on the back of this 1940s postcard understood this well.


“Spectacular sight as this is typical of all New York which is truly a fairyland when night begins to descend,” the caption reads.

“The Empire State Building, guardian of the skyscrapers, keeps faithful watch over her charges throughout the night.”

The last helicopter on the Pan Am Building

May 20, 2009

Since 1981 it’s been owned by Met Life (though the Met Life sign didn’t go up until 1991)—a 60-story skyscraper behind Grand Central Station. But in 1963 it opened as the Pan Am Building, becoming sort of a symbol of post–World War II, jet-age New York City. 

Panambuilding3 Too bad the Pan Am Building lacked the beauty and grace of the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings and was never especially beloved by New Yorkers. 

But it did have one distinct amenity: a helipad on the roof. A company called New York Airways regularly offered seven-minute copter service to JFK and LaGuardia Airports.

The copter shuttle operated in the 1960s and then started up again in 1977—until one helicopter’s broken landing gear caused another copter to tip over and kill four passengers waiting to board. A fifth person, a pedestrian, died when the rotor blade fell off the roof and tumbled all the way down to 43rd Street.

Building the “Cathedral of Commerce”

November 18, 2008

On a clear day approximately 750 feet above Broadway, a couple of workers are busy constructing the Woolworth Building. Opened in 1913 and the tallest skyscraper in the world until 1930, it was dubbed the “Cathedral of Commerce” by a clergyman so taken with its church-like arched entryways and vaulted, mosaic ceilings. 

Looks like the Manhattan Bridge off in the distance at the top:


Fearlessly hanging out over various municipal buildings:


At the grand opening ceremony, President Woodrow Wilson pushed a button in Washington that illuminated the entire 60-story building. Here are more views of the Woolworth Building, plus photos of the funny little gargoyle-like caricatures of Mr. Woolworth and Cass Gilbert, the architect, in the beautiful lobby.

Almost finished: