New York Songlines: Madison Avenue

E 59th | E 58th | E 57th (IBM Building) | E 56th (Sony Building) | E 55th | E 54th | E 53rd | E 52nd (Look Building) | E 51st (Villard Houses) | E 50th | E 49th | E 48th | E 47th | E 46th | E 45th | E 44th | E 43rd | E 42nd | E 41st | E 40th | E 39th | E 38th | E 37th (Morgan Library) | E 36th | E 35th | E 34th | E 33rd | E 32nd | E 31st | E 30th | E 29th | E 28th | E 27th (New York Life) | E 26th (Madison Square Park) | E 25th | E 24th (Met Life) | E 23th

Madison Avenue was opened in 1836, named both for the square where it starts and for former President James Madison, who died in that year. Like Lexington, this avenue was not included in the original 1811 plan of New York, which assumed that few people would want to live in the middle of Manhattan Island, far from the commerce of the shoreline. Samuel Ruggles, developer of Gramercy Park, was instrumental in getting both avenues added.

Madison Avenue's association with advertising goes back to the 1920s, and for a few decades it was hard to have an agency that wasn't based here. In recent years, though, most of the firms left in search of cheaper office space; hardly any of "Madison Avenue" is still actually on Madison Avenue.

For remembering the order of the non-numbered avenues in Manhattan--Madison, Park and Lexington--Doug Henwood of Left Business Observer suggests the mnemonic "More Perverse Love."




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867 (corner): Ralph Lauren

St. James Episcopal Church

NYC - UES: St. James Episcopal Church by wallyg, on Flickr

861-863 (corner): The parish was founded in 1810 as a chapel for New Yorkers with summer homes in what was then the distant outskirts of the city. The current building was originally built in 1884 to a Romanesque Robert H. Robertson design, then reworked in a neo-Gothic style in 1924 by Ralph Adams Cram. Cram's crumbling steeple had to be replaced; the current tower, by Richard Kimball, dates to 1950.

John Steinbeck and Edward R. Murrow both had their funerals here. The church was an early advocate of divestment from apartheid South Africa and an ally of Bishop Desmond Tutu.


W <===     EAST 71ST STREET     ===> E

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855: Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, boutique for the Yves Saint Laurent brand








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828 (block): An 18-story building from 1926 fills this end of the block. Comedian Fanny Brice lived here with her third husband, Billy Rose, whom she married in 1929; when she divorced him in 1938, she left New York for good and moved to California. Cartier watches, Gucci handbags, Chloe fashions are on the ground floor.











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841 (corner): Prada shop

835: This Queen Anne rowhouse was built in 1885 for Isaac and Virginia Stern, designed by William Schickel; it's been repeatedly redesigned, but the original concept is still largely intact. 829 Madison Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr

829 (corner): Pratesi Linens is in an 1886 Queen Anne-style rowhouse designed by Charles Buek.


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814 Madison Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr

814 (corner): An 11-story building from 1913, originally known as the Marquand.

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825-827 (corner): Dolce & Gabbana boutique


817-819: Originally built in 1892 as the Dr. Christian A. Herter House, designed by Carrere & Hastings (of NYPL fame); retrofitted for retail in 1922 by the same firm. The AIA Guide calls it a "monumental survivor."

815: Gianni Versace Boutique 813 Madison Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr

813 (corner): Max Mara linens is in a 1935 building renovated in 1994.


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796 (corner): Was Damiani, Italian jewelry designer that made Brad Pitt's engagement ring for Jennifer Aniston.

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30 East 68th Street by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (30 E 68th): A 12-story building from 1925.




807: CH Carolina Herrera boutique

803: La Perla lingerie 27 East 67th Street by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (27 E 67th): Friedman Vallois, art gallery. This was Ronaldo Maia Flowers, where Frog One gives Doyle the slip in the film The French Connection.


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785: Journalist Walter Lippmann lived here from 1919 to 1923, when he was writing for The New Republic and later for the New York World.

783: Bulgari, Italian jewelry and watches 773 Madison Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr

773 (corner): The AIA Guide calls this 1908 apartment building "one of the city's grandest facades." Boris Karloff lived here in the early 1940s, when he was playing in Arsenic and Old Lace. In the movie The Naked City there's a drugstore here that rookie cop Don Taylor enters in the course of a murder investigation. Now Fred Leighton jewelers is on the ground floor. Previously on this site was the Church of the Holy Spirit, later All Souls' Episcopal Church.


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760 (corner): Georgio Armani Boutique. The AIA Guide describes this 1996 shop, designed by Peter Marino, as "sliced ice cream and glass"; it's not a compliment.

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765 (corner): Dennis Basso, designer boutique












755 (corner): Oliver Peoples, eyewear for celebrities


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750 (corner): Built in 1897 as the Frederic H. Betts House, designed by Grosvenor Atterbury. The 65th Street side is largely unchanged, while the Madison front has been adapted to retail.



















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Corner (30 E 65th): Colony House is a 17-story white-brick apartment building from 1962, built on the site of the Colony House restaurant. The designer Valentino has a shop on the ground floor.










735 Madison Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr

735 (corner): Chanel is on the ground floor of a 12-story building from 1922.


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726 Madison Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr

726 (corner): Built in 1932-33 for the Bank of the Manhattan Company, 10 years after the Bank of New York built a similar anachronstically low-slung Georgian building a block down the avenue. Now a JP Morgan branch.

716: Jimmy Choo, designer shoes. Sarah Jessica Parker lost a pair on a ferry ina Sex and the City episode.




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729-721 Madison Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr

729 (corner): The Verona, an apartment building from 1908 designed by William Mowbray.












711 (corner): Roberto Cavalli designer boutique


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706 Madison Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr

706 (corner): Built in 1922 for the Bank of New York in the Georgian style, long after the era of the two-story office building in Manhattan. The space foregone was a sign of luxury designed to appeal to the branch's Gold Coast clientele. The bank now occupying the space is called NY Mellon.




690 (corner): Luca Luca, fashion boutique

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Corner (26 E 63rd): The Leonori is a 1902 apartment building designed by Buchman & Fox









691 (corner): Originally built in 1928 to house a Louis Sherry shop selling delicacies like caviar and fois gras. (Restauranteur Sherry had died in 1926.) The design was by McKim, Mead & White, but the AIA Guide called it a "neo-Classical/Art Deco ho-hum candy box," and thought it much improved by a 1986 Beyer Binder Belle redesign that turned it into a flagship for The Limited clothing chain.


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Carlton House

680 (block): Built in 1951, this was for many years the Helmsley Carlton House, a luxury hotel. In 2010 it was bought from the estate of Leona Helmsley for conversion to luxury residences.









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687 (corner): Anne Fontaine Paris boutique

679: From 1948 until 2007, this was home to the Sherry-Lehmann wine shop.












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Barneys

Barneys - Gaga's Workshop by Dave Pinter, on Flickr

660 (corner): Founded in 1923 by Barney Pressman, this New York retail icon moved its flagship to the Upper East Side in 1993, where it occupies nine floors of the 22-story building. Noted for its sometimes bizarre Christmas windows; Lady Gaga was in charge of the holiday decorations in 2011. The store appears in the movie First Wives Club.

654 Madison Avenue  by edenpictures, on Flickr

654 (corner): Calvin Klein's flagship store is in a 23-story neo-classical building from 1927. The designer installed huge glass windows when it moved in in 1995.

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667 Madison Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr

667 (corner): A 1987 office tower; the first Manhattan building by David Paul Helpern, the AIA Guide praises the "vigorous yet carefully controlled design." The New York Observer calls it "New York's Most Exclusive Office Building"; Loews Corp CEO Jonathan Tisch has his office here, as does Hartz Mountain's Leonard Stern, who owns the building. The 40-foot-high limestone lobby features a tapestry woven for King Louis XIV.

Previously at this address was an elegant 1900 apartment building, noted for the caryatids above its portico, that was torn down by Stern.







655 (corner): A 24-story building from 1950. DKNY has a shop here.


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CIT Building

650 Madison Avenue by edenpictures,  on Flickr

650 (block): Built as an eight-story glass box in 1957, designed by Harrison & Abramovitz; in 1987, a 19-story green-glass tower was added, designed by Fox & Fowle. The City Review calls the original structure Harrisson & Abramovitz's "masterpiece," but says the addition made it "even better."

CIT was an insurance company; it moved out in 1981.



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645 Madison Avenue by edenpictures,  on Flickr

645 (corner): The Pan Ocean Building, a 22-story building from 1971 designed by Emery Roth & Sons. Ann Taylor on the ground floor.


635 (corner): Tourneau, luxury watches. In the 1920s at this location, Polly Adler ran one of her famous brothels, frequented by socialites, celebrities and members of the literary establishment, including George S. Kaufman, Robert Benchley and Dorothy Parker (who came for the ambience). Gangster Dutch Schultz hid out from mob rivals at her establishments.

In the 1960s and early '70s, Marvel Comics had its editorial offices here.


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In the Marvel Universe, there's a barber shop at this intersection that serves as an entrance to SHIELD's secret headquarters. Don't tell!

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General Motors Building

DSC_0077 by -Num-,  on Flickr

(767 5th Ave): The 50-story white-marble office tower that Edward Durell Stone designed for the car maker, completed in 1968, contrasts starkly with the decidedly non-Modern look of most of its neighbors.

622: From 1918 until 1938, this was the site of Reuben's Restaurant & Delicatessen, which may or may not have invented the Reuben sandwich. In 1919, gambler Arnold Rothstein met with boxer Abe "The Little Hebrew" Attell here, with Attell trying to persuade Rothstein to help fix the World Series. The Cole Porter song "Love for Sale," from the musical The New Yorkers, originally was sung in front of this restaurant by a white character, but moral disapproval forced a transfer to a black character who sang in front of the Cotton Club.

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625 (block): Offices (not the store) of the Bulgari jewelry company are located here. Was Revlon's headquarters for 15 years, until 2003--before that, it was Nabisco's for almost three decades. The ground floor houses crystal shops like Baccarat, Stuart Weitzman and Swarovski, and women's clothing stores like Eres, Wolford and Fratelli Rossetti. Also Pierre Deux French Country.

















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598 (corner): Furla purses, Mont Blanc pens

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601: Emporio Armani

Fuller Building

NYC: Fuller Building by wallyg,  on Flickr

595 (corner): A 40-story Art Moderne tower built in 1929 by the Fuller Construction Company, who also made the Flatiron Building (which was also originally known as the Fuller Building), as well as the U.N. complex and Lever House. The lower floors were designed to be used by art galleries, several of whom (like Pierre Matisse Gallery) were located here before the art scene moved to Soho before moving to Chelsea. FDR adviser Bernard Baruch also had an office here.


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IBM Building

The IBM Building, 590 Madison Ave by Simon Greig (xrrr), on Flickr

590 (block): A 40-story wedge-shaped glass office building erected in 1983, designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes for the computer giant, which sold the building in 1994. The dramatically cantilevered entrance reportedly added $10 million to the construction cost; a red Alexander Calder sculpture was added later. The building NYC - 590 Madison Avenue - Saurien by wallyg, on Flickr includes a bamboo-filled atrium, whose entrance features the fountain Levitated Mass by Michael Heizer. The former IBM Gallery served as the home for the Dahesh Museum of Art, a collection of academic art founded by a Persian mystic, from 2003 until 2008.

Bain Capital, Mitt Romney's company, has its New York offices here.

580: This was the address of the Newseum, the New York branch of the museum of journalism, located in the IBM Building. There seems to be just one Newseum now, located in D.C.

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575 (block): A 25-story building by Emery Roth & Sons put up in 1950. This was home to Marvel Comics in the 1970s.


































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Sony Tower

Sony Building from top of the rock by Bertrand Duperrin, on Flickr

550 (block): A 37-story office tower by Philip Johnson and John Burgee, built in 1984 for AT&T (and originally called the AT&T Building). The building was notable for its "Chippendale" top and dramatic seven-story entranceway, both of whom challenged the functionalist dogma of Modernism and made this a key Post-Modern building. The lobby was designed for the sculpture Spirit of Communication by Evelyn Longman Batchelder, Sony Building by Reading Tom, on Flickr which was originally perched atop AT&T's building on downtown Broadway, but when the Ma Bell moved out, the statue went with her; it's now at AT%T headquarters in Dallas. Sony in turn sold the building in 2013 for $1.1 billion to the Chetrit Group, which also owns the Chelsea Hotel and Chicago's Sears Tower.

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555 (corner): Coates Building houses Hides in Shape--a luggage store.































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538: Caviar Russe, Russian

536: Burger Heaven, diner








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535 (corner): A 36-story asymmetrical tower by Edward Larrabee Barnes, architect of the IBM Building. Includes Bauman Rare Books.


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520 (block): Continental Illinois Center is a 43-story red-granite office tower with a gently sloping facade and a roofline that looks like giant steps. The 1982 building was designed by Swanke Hayden & Connell.



A graffiti-covered portion of the Berlin Wall is on the 53rd Street side of this building.

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527 (corner): This 26-story office building-- a 1982 effort by Fox & Fowle-- features a zigzagging slanted glass facade and sinuous banding. Really a cool building.

521: "A supreme vulgarism"--AIA Guide






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509 (corner): This 1929 building housed photographer Alfred Stieglitz's last studio.

500 (corner): The Berkshire Apartments that once stood here were the home of William Marsh Rice, a millionaire who was murdered in 1900 in an elaborate scheme by his valet and an unscrupulous lawyer to steal his fortune via a phony will. The plot failed, allowing Rice's estate to go as planned to the founding of Rice University. The current building, known as the Omni Berkshire Hotel, was built 1926.

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Look Building

488 (block): With its banded windows and rounded corners, this 23-story office building is "probably the most attractive white-brick building in the city"--City Review. A 1950 building designed by Emery Roth & Sons --perhaps their best post-war work, the WTC notwithstanding--it's named for Look magazine, Life's rival. Another magazine tenant, Esquire, sued unsuccessfully to keep the photo weekly's name off the building--they failed in big red letters, which came off long after Look folded in 1971. Institutional Investor is published here now. From 1951-57, industrial designer Raymond Loewy was here--he did the classic Greyhound bus.

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485 (corner): Former headquarters of CBS before the move to Black Rock.










477 (corner): This 23-story building from 1953 was designed by Kahn & Jacobs as the Ford Foundation's headquarters.


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460 (corner): The Rectory of St. Patrick's Cathedral, designed, like the main building, by James Renwick Jr., and completed in 1880.

















































452 (corner): The Cardinal's Residence, another Renwick design. F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre were married here on April 3, 1920--they couldn't have the wedding in the cathedral itself because it was a mixed marriage.

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Villard Houses

Courtyard, Villard Houses (New York, NY) by takomabibelot, on Flickr

Block: These were originally six brownstone mansions sharing a central courtyard, designed to resemble an Italian palazzo; the design is by Joseph Wells, with some interior work by Stanford White. They were put up in 1883 by Henry Villard, an abolitionist who served as a Civil War correspondent for the New York Tribune, later came to own both the New York Post and The Nation, made a fortune in railroads, helped finance Thomas Edison and founded General Electric. His houses were saved from demolition by the Landmark Commission, the building now serves in part as the entrance to the 1980 New York Palace Hotel, erected by the Helmsleys and now owned by the Sultan of Brunei.

457 (corner): The most northerly of the Villard Houses was originally occupied by banker Harris Fahnestock. It was the headquarters of Random House from 1946 until 1969; the offices were one of William Faulkner's favorite places to write. It now contains the Municipal Art Society of New York, an organization devoted to urban livability. Founded in 1893, its first president was architect Richard Morris Hunt. Includes Urban Center Books.

455: The original owner here was banker Edward D. Adams; along with its two neighbors to the south, it was bought by the Archdiocese of New York in 1948. Super-fancy restaurant Le Cirque 2000 was here from 1997-2004--named "best restaurant in the world" by Conde Nast Traveler readers in 2003. It's replaced by Gilt, a new restaurant from Bouley Bakery's Paul Liebrandt.

453: Originally owned by Artemas Holmes, Villard's lawyer.

451 (corner): This was Villard's own residence, though he only lived here a few months before declaring bankruptcy in 1883; the house was bought in 1886 by Elisabeth Mills Reid, wife of New York Tribune editor Whitelaw Reid. In October 1942, Andre Breton organized the First Papers of Surrealism here, an art show that included Marcel Duchamp webbing up the exhibit space with 16 miles of string. In 1943 the building became the Women's Military Services Club, which in the next two years allowed 250,000 female troops to stay for 50 cents a night.


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New York Magazine

444 (block): Founded in 1968, it has a paid circulation of 437,000, which seems like an awful lot. The magazine moved into the 13th-15th floors here in 1996; previously the 43-story building, which dates back to 1931, had been home to Newsweek, from 1960-94.











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ITT-American Building

ITT-American Building by edenpictures, on Flickr

437 (block): A 40-story black glass building designed by Emery Roth & Sons that was finished in 1967. This building houses the world headquarters of DDB Worldwide, an ad agency founded in 1949 that revolutionized the ad world with creative campaigns for products like Volkswagen, Avis and Lyndon Johnson. Now owned by Omnicom Group--how's that for a name?--which is also based here.


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424: Kenya's consulate general



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423: A sign for the defunct restaurant chain Longchamps can still be seen on the facade of this building.




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400 (corner): Crouch & Fitzgerald, a luggage store that dates back to 1839. FDR bought custom-made luggage from them. Now owned by a pet-carrier company.

















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JP Morgan Chase World HQ

J P Morgan Chase Building by Reading Tom, on Flickr

405 Block (270 Park): The Union Carbide Building, AKA 270 Park Avenue, 53 stories of grey glass and matte-black steel. A 1960 Skidmore Owings & Merrill building, originally built for Union Carbide and redone in 1983 by the same architects. The elevators start on the second floor because the building is built over a railroad yard. It now houses the world headquarters of JPMorgan Chase, the banking giant.

In the TV show Mad Men, 405 Madison is the address of the ad agency Sterling Cooper.


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380 (block): This was the original site of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, which gave us the word "ritzy" and the song "Putting on the Ritz" (not to mention Ritz crackers). It opened in 1910, designed by Charles Wetmore and financed by real estate scion Robert Walton Goelet. Featured Castle House, the dance school run by Vernon and Irene Castle. This was the site of lush coming-out parties for "Poor Little Rich Girl" Barbara Hutton, in 1930, and Brenda Frazier, "Glamour Girl No. 1," in 1938. Vichyssoise was invented here by chef Louis Diat. The hotel was torn down in 1957.















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Bear Stearns by day by C R, on Flickr

383 (block): Bear Stearns World Headquarters were housed in this 44-floor, octagonal Skidmore, Owings & Merrill tower, completed in 2001. The bare-knuckled investment bank was bought out by JPMorgan Chase in 2008, having lost more than 98 percent of its value in the wake of the popping housing bubble. This building's estimated value of $1 billion is almost four times what JPMorgan initially offered for the entire company--suggesting that Bear Stearns had some pretty hefty liabilities. JPMorgan moved its own investment bank here, putting plans to build a new tower at Ground Zero in jeopardy.

An earlier building at this address, built c. 1923, was home for 59 years to the advertising powerhouse BBDO. It was here that such slogans as "Better Living Through Chemistry," "the Pepsi Generation," "Ring Around the Collar" and "Have It Your Way" were crafted.


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366 (corner): Jos. A. Bank clothing store















360 (corner): This building houses the New York offices of the Screen Actors Guild. About a quarter of SAG's members live in the New York metropolitan area.

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Roosevelt Hotel

Roosevelt Hotel by Paul Balchin, on Flickr

Block (45 E 45th): Opened in 1924, designed by George B. Post & Sons and named for Theodore Roosevelt, who had died five years earlier. Guy Lombardo began his New Year's Eve concerts here in 1929, starting a tradition that moved to the Waldorf-Astoria in 1963. Republican candidate Thomas Dewey had his 1948 election headquarters here, where supporters celebrated his "victory" on election night. Owned by PIA, the Pakistan national airline.


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350 (corner): Paul Stuart, stylish and expensive clothing for (mostly) men

Brooks Brothers

346 (corner): Flagship of the clothing firm that's been a New York fixture since 1818. Introduced the ready-to-wear suit and the button-down collar. Brooks Brothers was worn by Abraham Lincoln at his second inauguration (as well as on the night of his assassination); by Charles Lindbergh during his triumphal ticker-tape parade, and by John F. Kennedy for his inauguration. Since 1988, it's been owned by Britain's Marks & Spencer.

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Former Biltmore Hotel

335 (block): Now called the Bank of America Plaza after a severe 1981 "modernization," the Biltmore was one of New York's most famous hotels; its lobby clock (which still can be seen in the office building's atrium) made "meet me under the clock" a catch phrase. F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald honeymooned here in April 1920 until management asked them to leave. Henry Ford's 1915 attempt to broker an end to World War I was headquartered here.


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Corner (330 Madison): The Sperry & Hutchinson Building is the home of S&H Green Stamps. The Kahn & Jacobs building dates to 1964; replaced the Manhattan Hotel as well as the National City Bank. The Manhattan Hotel was where Sigmund Freud stayed in August 1909 on his only visit to the United States. In May 1916, Sen. Warren G. Harding began his affair with Nan Britton here--a relationship that continued after Harding was elected president. A Citibank branch is now on the ground floor.


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When Madison was opened in 1836, it only went as far as this intersection.

The Fantastic Four's headquarters, the Baxter Building (later rebuilt as Four Freedoms Plaza), is located at this intersection--I don't think a particular corner is ever specified.

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300 Madison Avenue by Paul Balchin, on Flickr

300 (corner): This ghostly glass prism was designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill and completed in 2003. Pricewaterhouse- Coopers occupies most of its 1.2 million square feet.









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Library Hotel by enriqueburgosgarcia, on Flickr

299 (corner): Pricey Library Hotel, named for its view of the NYPL a block away, has rooms organized according to the Dewey Decimal System. The terra cotta and copper-clad building dates to 1912. Previously on the site was the mansion of James Graham Phelps Stokes, a left-wing millionaire; he lived here before his marriage to radical journalist Rose Pastor.


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Young & Rubicam

285 (corner): This advertising agency may be the archetypal company people think of when they hear "Madison Avenue." Founded in 1923, the company started the science of market research when it hired George Gallup. It led the way in creating ads for new forms of media, as when it produced the first color TV commercial. It owns noted defenders of evil Burson-Marsteller. Owned in turn by WPP, which owns most of the big names in advertising and PR.


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270: Salute! pasta


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271: Redeemer Presbyterian Church. Offices of a congregation founded in 1989 as a "a new church for professional New Yorkers in the heart of Manhattan." Services are not held here. Haiti's consulate general is at the same address.



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260 (block): This 21-story building from 1953, designed by Sylvan Bien, was home to the ad agency Cunningham & Walsh, responsible for such slogans as "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature" and "Let your fingers do the walking." Purchased by N.W. Ayer in 1987.




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261 (block): Office of the Advertising Council, leading producer of public service announcements.

251: Defunct address was the birthplace of Clarence Day Jr. (Nov. 18, 1874), author of Life With Father, which became a long-running Broadway play, a movie with William Powell and a 1950s TV show.




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244 (corner): Was Reuben's Deli, which may (or may not) have invented the Reuben sandwich.

238: 238 Madison Bistro














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Corner (22 E 38th): Jolly Madison Towers Hotel was built as the Fraternities Club, with 16 meeting rooms for different Greek organizations.

237: Morgans Hotel; fancy hotel houses the high-style restaurant Asia de Cuba--also Morgans Bar. NYC: Joseph Raphael De Lamar House by wallyg, on Flickr

233 (corner): Consulate General of Poland; built in 1906 for Joseph DeLamar, a Dutch sea captain and mining tycoon. Later home to the National Democratic Club.


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Corner: This site was the residence of John Hughes, the Catholic archbishop of New York, who summoned participants in the Draft Riots here on July 17, 1863, in order to urge peace. This was the fourth day of the riots; some argue that if Hughes had acted earlier, many lives could have been saved.

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Morgan Library

Morgan Library by rocor, on Flickr

Block: Based on the collections of financier J.P. Morgan, this private library contains amazing treasures, including the original journals of H.D. Thoreau, the manuscript of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, three Gutenberg Bibles, the nation's largest group of Rembrandt etchings and the world's most comprehensive collection of Gilbert and Sullivan material. Closed for expansion until 2006.

231 (corner): Now part of the library complex, this Italianate brownstone (perhaps the last of its kind in New York) was originally built for Isaac Newton Phelps in 1853 and was lived in by his son-in-law, banker Anson Phelps Stokes. From 1905 to 1944, it was the home of J.P. Morgan Jr., heir to the Morgan fortune; it was the headquarters of the Lutheran Church in America from 1944 until 1988.

219 (corner): This part of the Morgan Library, built in 1928 to a Charles McKim design, houses J.P. Morgan's personal collection--appropriately, since it was built on the site of the mansion Morgan (Sr.) lived in from 1880 until his death in 1913. Morgan, the leading capitalist of his era, was responsible for creating both U.S. Steel and General Electric.


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West:

200 (block): G. Fried Carpet, Maurice Villency Furniture is in a 26-story building once owned by deposed Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Formerly at this address was the house of Franklin Roosevelt's mother; Franklin was living here with here in 1905 when he married Eleanor.














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211: Morgan Court is the building featured in the surveillance thriller Sliver-- the name taken from the location's 33-by-100-foot footprint. More significantly, this 1985 building led to zoning changes to prevent developers from putting highrises on tiny parcels. The lot used to be J.P. Morgan's carriage house.

209: H. Percy Silver Parish House; dates to 1868. Church of the Incarnation, Madison Avenue, NYC by Jeffrey, on Flickr

205 (corner): Church of the Incarnation, built in 1864, features Tiffany stained glass and John La Farge murals.


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West:

Altman Advanced Learning Superblock

by Kramchang, on Flickr

Once one of New York's leading department stores, B. Altman & CO. moved here in 1906 from Ladies' Mile to what was then still a residential neighborhood, marking a major shift in Manhattan's commercial geography. The Italian Renaissance facade helped it to blend in with its neighbors' ritzy townhouses; for the first 25 years of operation the store had no exterior signs. The Madison Avenue end of the building was added in 1914, filling the block. B. Altman went out of business in 1989, and the empty space was filled out with institutions related to the knowledge industry. On this side of the building are:

198 (corner): Oxford University Press; the U.S. headquarters of the five-centuries-old academic publisher, best known for the Oxford English Dictionary.

Science, Industry & Business Library

188 (corner): One of the New York Public Library's specialized research branches, focusing on technical literature and digital information.

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199 (corner): The Complete Traveler, renowned travel bookstore.





















Astro Gallery of Gems by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (185 Madison): Astro Gallery of Gems is like a museum of gems and minerals where everything's for sale.


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West:

Corner (34 E 34th): Coda, swanky club in the former Hanover Trust vault, has been a venue for the likes of Cyndi Lauper and Glenn Tilbrook.









176: Nazmiyal Collection, antique rugs since 1980.

170 (corner): Milano Cafe

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Madison Belmont Building by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (40 E 34th): Madison Belmont Building has a terrific Art Deco entrance. Houses Domus Design Collection.

175: Was Mosaico Food of the Americas, affordable pan-Latin

173: Plaza Artist Material

171 (corner): Lewittes Building, aka NAP Building; was Giovanni Luna Italian Menswear.


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West:

168 (corner): Times Square Bagels

162: Tinga Tinga Karaoke has a Korean focus.

The Factory

158: Ths former New York Edison substation was one of a series of buildings that served as the workshop and hangout for Andy Warhol and his entourage, each known as "The Factory"; this was his last, bought in 1980 and used for his work until his death in 1987.

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167 (corner): Nissan Jeweler




161: Madison Avenue Medical Building

159: Built in 1911 and occupied until 1957 by the Executive Brassiere Company; then it became international offices for General Electric. Converted to apartments in the 1970s.


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West:

148-150 (corner): Remson Building; this 1917 building mixes Gothic and Art Moderne.






134 (corner): Backer Building

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Corner: Steel Building

143: Vapor, a bar that makes its own artificial mist








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West:

130: Bella Napoli, notable Italian lunch spot.

American Academy of Dramatic Arts

American Academy of Dramatic Arts by edenpictures, on Flickr

120: Founded in 1884 as the Lyceum Theatre School of Acting, the school moved here in 1963 to this 1907 Stanford White building designed for the Colony Club, a women's (high) society. Academy alumni include Cecil B. DeMille, Edward G. Robinson, Spencer Tracy, Rosalind Russell, Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, Grace Kelly, Anne Bancroft, Robert Redford, Gena Rowlands and John Cassavetes.


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Roger Williams Hotel

Hotel Roger Williams by edenpictures, on Flickr

131 (corner): Formerly Roger Williams Apartments; presumably named for the founder of Rhode Island, who was a champion of religious liberty. Author Henry Miller stayed here when he was living in New York in 1935 pursuing Anais Nin. He finished his novel Black Spring here.

129: Madison Avenue Baptist Church

121 (corner): This handsome 10-story red-brick building was designed by Hubert, Pirrson and was completed in 1883. Houses Subtle Tea, caffeine and WiFi.


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Corner (15 E 29th): Alpina Graphics

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Corner (99 Madison): Habib American Bank, headquarters of the U.S. branch of Pakistan's second-largest bank.


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Carlton on Madison

The Carlton by edenpictures, on Flickr

88 (Corner): A really nice-looking old hotel, built in 1904. In 1980, when it was The Seville (and apparently not so nice), a victim of serial killer Richard Cottingham was found here. On a happier note, media critic A.J. Liebling lived here in 1949-50. Groucho Marx once worked here as a bellhop.

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89-95 (corner): Emmet Building is named for the gynecologist who owned it and lived in the penthouse apartment.

79: Below SCOPA restaurant is the Boston (212) Cafe, hangout for Red Sox fans.












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72: Mad 28, hip Italian

64: Site of the Mott Memorial Library, housing the medical books of Dr. Valentine Mott, and the Microscopical Society.


Corner (21 E. 27th): Madison Hotel was once part of a chain that included the Senton up the street. Includes Kebab King (formerly Bun Tikki) and Madison Kiosk.

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Block (28 E 28th): Ziff Davis Media, publisher of PC Magazine and other technology-oriented titles.

Replaces No. 67, which was the site of the New-York Yacht Club, custodian of the America Cup.








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This spot has a claim to being the birthplace of baseball, since the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club, which helped develop the game's modern rules, played at an empty lot around here.

West:

60 Madison Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr

60 (corner): A 12-story 1910 building by Maynicke & Franke. The ad agency Ogilvy & Mather was founded here in 1948, when David Ogilvy left Gallup. Today The New Republic has its New York offices here.




























50 (corner): Built in 1896 for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Now being expanded and modernized above the second floor.

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New York Life Building

Tower of New York Life Building, Manhattan, Flatiron by Jeffrey, on Flickr

Designed in 1928 by Cass Gilbert, who did the Woolworth Tower; the rooftop pyramid is a trademark.

Built on site of New York, New Haven & Hartford Depot, which in 1871 became P.T. Barnum's Hippodrome, later Gilmore's Garden, which Vanderbilt family turned into the original Madison Square Garden. Torn down and rebuilt in 1890 to a design by Stanford White--considered his masterwork. Diana by edenpictures, on Flickr Topped by Augustus Saint-Gaudens' then- shocking Diana (now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art; a smaller copy is at the Met). In 1906, White was shot and killed in the Roof Garden by Harry K. Thaw, jealous husband of White's former mistress Evelyn Nesbit.

Jumbo the elephant was presented by Barnum at the old Garden in 1882; heavyweight champion John L. Sullivan was indicted for "fighting without weapons" after a bout there with the British champ in 1884. In 1895, the rebuilt Garden was the site of the first U.S. cat show, and in 1900 of the first U.S. auto show. In 1913 it hosted the Patterson Strike Pageant, organized by Mabel Dodge and Big Bill Haywood, directed by John Reed with scenery painted by John Sloan. The longest Democratic convention in history was held here in 1924, picking John W. Davis after 17 days and 103 ballots.


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Madison Square Park

Madison Square April by edenpictures, on Flickr

The 1807 plan set aside 240 acres in this vicinity as The Parade, to be used for military training. In that same year, the U.S. Arsenal was built here to defend the strategic intersection of the Bloomingdale Road (now Broadway) and the Eastern Post Road. By 1814, when the park was named Madison Square after the then-current president, it had been reduced to 90 acres. In 1847, when Madison Square Park was opened, less than seven acres remained. Madison Square Park by edenpictures, on Flickr

The park, which was laid out in its current form in 1870, was the center of New York society in the 1860s and '70s. "The vicinity of Madison Square is the brightest, prettiest and liveliest portion of the great city," James McCabe wrote in 1872.

The park provides a setting for O. Henry short stories like "The Cop and the Anthem" and "The Sparrows in Madison Square"). Snowy Madison Square Park I by edenpictures, on Flickr

Author Herman Melville used to walk here regularly with his grand- daughter.

During a fireworks display here celebrating the election of William Randolph Hearst to Congress, 10,000 shells accidently ignited at once, creating an explosion that killed 17 people. Giant Head II by edenpictures, on Flickr

The U.S. Arsenal was converted by 1824 to the House of Refuge of the Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents--the first such institution in the country.







Chester Arthur statue

Chester Arthur Statue - Madison Square Park - Snow in NYC by David Berkowitz, on Flickr Before becoming president in 1881 after Garfield's assassination, he lived nearby at 123 Lexington Avenue. Statue erected 1899.















Madison Oak

Pin Oak from Montpelier, James Madison's Virginia estate, planted 1936 to mark Madison Avenue's centennial.

The Shake Shack

Shake Shack by L.Richarz, on Flickr

An acclaimed hot dog stand run by Danny Meyer, the owner of Tabla and Eleven Madison, two great (and greatly expensive) restaurants nearby.









Roscoe Conkling statue

Conkling in Spring by edenpictures, on Flickr

A U.S. senator and Republican machine boss who fell victim to the Great Blizzard of 1888. This bronze was done of him in 1893 by John Quincy Adams Ward.

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Merchandise Mart

New York City, Manhattan, Midtown, Flatiron district : " New York Merchandise Mart " 1974 by (vincent desjardins), on Flickr

41 (corner): 1974 modernist building has showrooms for china, silver, crystal etc. It would look a lot less out of place if it were painted a paler shade that better matched its neighbors. Built on the site of the Jerome Mansion (1859-1967), birthplace of Jennie Jerome, Winston Churchill's mother. In 1867 the mansion became the headquarters of the Union League Club, and later housed the Manhattan Club, meetingplace for Democrats like Grover Cleveland, Al Smith, FDR--and birthplace of the NY Merchandise Mart smushing NY Life Insurance by Underpuppy, on Flickr Manhattan cocktail. Afterwards became home to the University Club for "the promotion of literature and art." Torn down in 1967 when no buyer could be found.

Merchandise Mart also replaced Madison Square Hotel, next to Jerome Mansion, where aspiring actors Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda rented rooms together (1933-35). When not making names for themselves on Broadway, they passed the time here building model airplanes. They both moved directly from here to Hollywood.

Appellate Division Courthouse

Courthouse by Lee Kottner, on Flickr

Corner (35 E 25th): Built 1900 in Italian Renaissance style; much care was lavished on the building's exterior and interior art, including statues of famous lawgivers and civic virtues; the Madison Avenue balustrade features Karl Bitter's Peace. The newer north section of the Madison facade includes a Memorial to All Victims of the Holocaust by Harriet Fiegenbaum. Landmark laws were declared constitutional at this courthouse in 1975.


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Credit Suisse/First Boston

Met Life North by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (11 Madison): Built in 1929 as the Met Life North Building, which is why the two buildings are connected by skyways. One hundred stories were planned, but the Great Depression stopped construction at 29, leaving the building looking like the base of the Tower of Babel. Expansions took over entire the block by 1950. Designed by Harvey Wiley Corbett, it's considered an Art Deco masterwork-- Met Life North Entrance by edenpictures, on Flickr particularly the amazing corner arcades. Price Waterhouse is a tenant here.

This building is also home to two expensive-but-worth-it restaurants, both owned by Union Square Cafe's Danny Meyer: Tabla (Indian fusion) and 11 Madison Park (New American). On Sex and the City, Big tells Carrie he's marrying someone else at 11 Madison.

When the Madison Square Presbyterian Church was torn down to build the Met Life Tower in 1906, a new church was built on this corner, a Greek-style temple designed by Stanford White. It in turn was torn down in 1919 to make room for Met Life's expansion.


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Met Life Building

Met Life Tower by edenpictures, on Flickr

The tower, designed by Napoleon LeBrun & Sons in 1909, was the world's tallest building for four years (surpassed by the Woolworth Tower). It replaced the Madison Square Presbyterian Church (1855-1906), which was noted for being the pulpit of the Rev. Charles Parkhurst, a crusader against vice and corruption; his famous "undercover" tour of the underworld is chronicled in the book Low Life.

1 (corner): The bulk of the Met Life Building was designed by Napoleon LeBrun & Sons in 1893; redesigned (losing much of its ornamentation) in 1957. Griffin Dunne works here in After Hours, as does Amanda Plummer in The Fisher King.


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One Madison Park

One Madison Park by edenpictures, on Flickr Giving One Madison Park the bird by MileageNYC, on Flickr

(20 East 23rd): Was Aperture Book Center, photography bookstore run by a foundation founded by Ansel Adams and other photography greats. The building was torn down in 2007, and was replaced by a 50-story modular skyscraper once called The Saya, but now going by the pseudo-address of One Madison Park. This building used to bug me, but I now think it does a great deal to reconcile the old and new architecture around Madison Square.








Is your favorite Madison Avenue spot missing? Write to Jim Naureckas and tell him about it.

New York Songlines Home.

Sources for the Songlines.

The City Review has a page on Madison Avenue.