12 Iconic Facts About The Metlife Tower

One of the most amazing skyscrapers in New York takes up an entire city block in Manhattan.

This iconic tower is well over a century old and features one of the most distinctive structures in the United States.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most interesting facts about the MetLife Tower, also known as the “Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower,” an amazing historic attraction in the Big Apple.

1. It’s located in a famous district just south of Midtown Manhattan

The MetLife Tower is one of the most iconic skyscrapers in the world, mainly because of its distinctive design. The tower was originally built to house the offices of the Metropolitan Life’s offices but has served as the home for countless companies over the decades since the early 20th century.

The building is located in the so-called “Flatiron District of Manhattan,” a neighborhood named after the equally iconic Flatiron Building. It takes up an entire city block in the district and consists of 2 separate buildings.

The iconic tower with the shape of a bell tower is located on the block’s northeast corner and the much lower east wing takes up the remaining part of the block. The structure is bounded by Madison Avenue, Park Avenue South, 23rd Street, and 24th Street.

Metlife Building location
Location of the building in Manhattan / Paul Hermans / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

2. One of The building’s 2 structures was completed half a century later

The original version of the East Wing of the building covered the entire block and featured 11 stories. It was constructed between 1890 and 1893 but ended p being replaced by an entirely new building between 1957 and 1960.

The iconic tower of the structure, however, was completed between 1905 and 1910. It was seriously renovated during the completion of the new East Wing building as well in the 1950s.

Metlife tower east building
Detailed view of the East Building / Tdorante10 / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en

3. The tower was built to resemble a famous landmark in Venice

One of the most interesting facts about the MetLife Tower is that its tower was modeled on one of the most famous landmarks in Venice, Italy, called St Mark’s Campanile.

This amazing bell tower is part of the St Mark’s Basilica and is the tallest structure in the city in the northeast of Italy at a height of 98.6 meters (323 feet).

Perhaps even more fascinating is that the original version of this tower in Venice, which was completed in the early 16t century, collapsed in 1902. The tower we see today was rebuilt between 1902 and 1912.

This also means that the tower in New York is older than its model, quite amazing, don’t you think?

St Mark's Campanile in Venice
St Mark’s Campanile / LUca Aless / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0

4. The skyscraper held an amazing record for 4 years upon completion

The skyscraper in New York is also much taller than its model as it reaches a height of 210 meters (700 feet). This also made it the tallest skyscraper in the world at the time between 1909 and 1913.

The tower surpassed the now-demolished Singer Building (187 meters / 612 feet), and eventually ended up being surpassed by the equally impressive Woolworth Building (241 meters / 791 feet).

MetLife Tower seen from below
The building is seen from below / Beyond My Ken / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0

5. The East Building was turned into a luxurious hotel in the 2010s

The tower had a wide variety of purposes during its history and eventually ended up being sold to Marriott International in October 2011 for a total amount of USD 165 million.

This hotel chain converted the entire East Wing of the building into a hotel featuring 273 rooms called the “New York Edition Hotel.” They made quite a good bit of profit as well as they ended up selling the tower just a few years in January 2013 later to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority for USD 815 million!

Metlife Building and North Building
North Building and tower /

Interesting facts about the MetLife Building

6. The roof height of the tower is 210 meters (700 feet) and the building features a total of 50 floors.

7. The tower was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in the United States in 1972 and it officially became a New York City Landmark in the year 1989.

8. The iconic Pyramidal roof of the tower stands 12 meters (40 feet) tall and features a gilded aluminum cupola and lantern.

9. The building was constructed with a huge amount of marble and therefore weighed 34,000 tonnes upon completion, twice the weight of the Singer Building that it surpassed in height.

10. The tower features 4 huge bells weighing 3,200 kilos (7,000 lbs) bell on the west, 1,400 kilos (3,000 lbs) on the east, 910 kilos (2,000 lbs) on the north, and 680 kilos (1,500 lbs). These were the highest bells in the world upon completion in the early 20th century.

11. There are plans to completely transform the East Wing of the building and 18 stories will be added after the current 14-story is reduced to just 9 floors. This enormous project at an estimated cost of $2.3 billion is expected to be completed in 2024.

12. The East Wing of the building was originally connected to the Metropolitan Life North Building with a sky bridge. This sky bridge has been removed to start the redevelopment project in 2020.

Metlife Building Skybridge
MetLife Tower Skybridge / Eden, Janine and Jim / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0