MetLife Building New York
MetLife Building – Tourist Attractions in New York City
MetLife Building in NYC, New York, USA
The MetLife Building, originally the Pan Am Building, is located at 200 Park Avenue in New York City.
The Pan Am Building was the largest commercial office building in the world when it opened on March 7, 1963. It is an important part of the Manhattan skyline and one of the fifty tallest buildings in the USA.
Pan American World Airways was the building’s owner for many years. Its logotype was depicted on a sign that was placed on the north and south faces and its globe logo was depicted on a sign that was placed on the east and west faces. In 1981, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company purchased the building from Pan Am. When Pan Am ceased operations in 1991, MetLife replaced the Pan Am logos on the north and south each faces with its own, renaming the building the MetLife Building. This name is also informally held by the MetLife Tower.
In 2005, MetLife sold the building for $1.72 billion, the highest recorded price for an office building in the United States. The buyer was a joint venture of Tishman Speyer Properties, the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, and the New York City Teachers’ Retirement System.
The building was also known for its helicopter service to John F. Kennedy International Airport, a seven-minute flight that left from the rooftop helipad. This service was offered only between 1965 and 1968 and for a few months in 1977 and was ended after a spectacular accident that killed five people. On May 16, 1977, a broken landing gear caused a parked Sikorsky S-61L with rotors still turning to tip over, killing four people who were outside the helicopter waiting to board, including exploitation filmmaker Michael Findlay. Part of a rotor blade sailed over the side of the building and killed a pedestrian on the corner of Madison and 43rd Street. Two other people were seriously injured.
Another notorious moment in the building’s history was Eli M. Black’s spectacular suicide on February 3, 1975. The CEO of United Brands Company (now Chiquita Brands International) used his briefcase to shatter an external window and then jumped out of the forty-four story window to his death on Park Avenue. This incident was an inspiration for a similar suicide in the 1994 film, The Hudsucker Proxy.