New York Daily Photo Analytics

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Pan Am Building

I think of this as the Pan Am building - its name during my first years in NYC. Designed by Emery Roth, Walter Gropius and Pietro Belluschi, it was the world's largest commercial office building when it opened in 1963. The Pan Am building is located at 200 Park Avenue above Grand Central's north shed. A controversial building - many have found it to be very unappealing, dominating the skyline from many nearby vantage points, occluding views such as that of the New York Central Building (now the Helmsley Building at 230 Park Ave.) It is perhaps best known for its helicopter service (it has a rooftop helipad). There was much excitement about their 7-minute ($7) flight to JFK airport, offered between 1965 and 1968 and reopened in 1977. However, service was closed after an accident that killed five people - broken landing gear caused a helicopter to tip over, killing four people waiting to board and a fifth person on the street with part of a rotor blade which had flown loose. Click here for a link showing early photos of the building with its iconic logo including the helicopter service. And check out these photos showing stewardesses in uniforms from the glory days of aviation when flying was a luxury and planes were not seen as a bus with wings as they are today. More photos and an interesting article here. In 1981, the building was sold to Met Life. When Pan Am ceased operations in 1991, the Pan Am logo was removed and replaced with the Met Life. Of course revisionism rears its head after a loss - see this article from the NY Times. Apparently many now are less negative regarding the building now that time has passed ...

6 comments:

John Nez said...

Me too... I always thought of it as the Pan Am building. I always liked how you could take the elevator out of Grand Central and walk out onto Park Avenue through that building.

I think it's funny that revisionism is now declaring the building is no longer 'so ugly'!

I have this theory that the style of the present decade is closely aligned with styles of the 1950's. Just look at any B movie from the 50's and it's amazing how similiar the clothes and eyeglasses and haircuts are to those of the 'modern age'.

Recycled styles I guess...

Curly said...

A nice clean image Brian, if a little on the cool side.

Curly's Photoshop

olivier said...

Superbe photo du Top Of The Rock. Le Building le plus detesté des New Yorkais, il est vrai qu'il gache la vue ("Nous avons gagné le plus grand immeuble de bureaux du monde. Nous avons perdu certaines des plus impressionnantes perspectives du monde" Le New York Times). Et en plus il bouffe l'espace du sublime Helmsley Building. Carte postale du Helmsley Building avant le MetLife

anne said...

Wow this is a great shot! But that accident is very sad...must have been great to ride a helicopter for $7!

Jing said...

anyway..i just like this photo very much: nice building and nice sky and also a gleaming river...

...jing

Tomate Farcie said...

It was a total pleasure to read this article! You know I definitely must bookmark this blog and come back. Thank you for bringing us daily shots of one of the most interesting cities in the world!