The Helmsley Building is quite a historical place. It's one of the those buildings I have walked past a gazillion times, but never really looked at up close. So when I was in the city recently, and had time to wander, I decided to go up and take a real look at this building. As I viewed this up close, I realized what a gorgeous building it is! I just had to show you in detail, so you don't wait as long as I did to enjoy it's beauty!
Here is some history on the building:
The building was built in 1929 as the New York Central Building, and was designed by Warren & Wetmore, the architects of Grand Central Terminal, in the Beaux-Arts style. Before the erection of the Pan Am Building – now the MetLife Building – this building stood out over the city's second most prestigious avenue as the tallest structure in the great "Terminal City" complex around Grand Central.
Built in 1929 as the headquarters for the New York Central Railroad Co.
The New York Central was founded by Cornelius Vanderbilt, who has also given his name to the Avenue starting from the Lincoln Building and passing the Grand Central block to the 47th Street, west of the headquarters.
230 Park Avenue was originally called The New York Central Building, after the railroad which had its headquarters inside. In 1968, the building was sold to General Tire and Rubber and renamed The New York General Building. General Tire and Rubber Company then sold the building to Helmsley-Spear in 1977. Harry and Leona Helmsley renamed the building, designated a landmark in 1987, “The Helmsley Building.” When the building changed hands in 1998, the new owner agreed to retain the name as a condition of sale.
The clock located at the top of the entrance still reminds folks if they are on time for work or the train. It’s a nod to the New York Central Railroad business and is nine feet wide. Mercury, representing transportation, sits on the winged wheel of progress on the left, and a goddess with a beehive, grape vines, and wheat sheaves represents industry on the right.
What a view!
I was in total awe of this up close, how could you not be?
The gorgeous lobby is made of marble and bronze. I would love to work in this building!
The Helmsley Building also has a nefarious connection to organized crime. Salvatore Maranzano was the most powerful gangster in New York City. He had an office on the ninth floor of 230 Park Avenue which served as his headquarters. After establishing himself as the boss of bosses (capo du tutti capi), distrust was amplified. When Lucky Luciano learning that Maranzano was going to him and Vito Genevese murdered, he made a move. On September 10, 1931, Lucky Luciano placed a hit on Maranzano in his ninth floor office. Maranzano was shot and stabbed by four men claiming to be tax men. Lucky then became the boss of bosses.
Next time you walk past this building, walk a bit slower and take a good look at this wonderful piece of New York History!
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