500 Fifth Avenue, New York

Shreve, Lamb & Harmon
Date Built
1929 - 1931
500 Fifth Avenue,
The "Historic District Council" website hdc.org describes 500 Fifth Avenue as a, "... soaring 59-story Art Deco skyscraper, located at the northwest corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue."  Adding that it was, "... constructed concurrently with the Empire State Building. .... it is asymmetrically massed with setbacks at the 18th, 22nd, and 25th stories on Fifth Avenue and a recessed light court beginning at the eighth story and setbacks at the 23rd, 28th, and 34th stories on West 42nd Street. Sheathed in limestone, terra cotta, and buff brick, the facades are enriched with carefully scaled Art Deco motifs, which accentuate the building’s sculptural massing and emphasize its verticality."

The building's Wikipedia page explains that, "... 500 Fifth's design features included fast elevators, well-lit office units, and a floor plan that maximized the well-lit office space. Like the Empire State Building, 500 Fifth was designed from the top down; the floor plans within the upper stories were planned first, followed by the floor plans of the lower stories and the building's base.  ..... In its early years, 500 Fifth Avenue was largely overlooked, as more attention was placed upon the Empire State Building, the world's tallest building at the time. Furthermore, office rental activity was affected by the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Salmon said in December 1930 that although he foresaw it might take a long time to fill the space at 500 Fifth Avenue, 'the enterprise was undertaken with the greatest faith in the future of midtown expansion and development.'"  (Note: The skyscraper was built for businessman Walter J. Salmon Sr.)

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