RPJ’s New York: Cass Gilbert and the New York Life Building

This is the latest in a series of non-legal articles on the city we work in and love.

Visitors to RPJ’s offices often remark on our dramatic close-up view of the dazzling gold roof on the neighboring New York Life Building. One of the Manhattan skyline’s iconic landmarks, the pyramidal structure was designed by architect Cass Gilbert, who was best known for designing the Woolworth Building– New York City’s first skyscraper. Purportedly inspired by England’s Salisbury Cathedral, the New York Life Building rises forty stories high and covers an entire city block. New York Life Insurance Company was the original tenant when the headquarters were completed in 1928, and the company remains there today. The twenty-five thousand gold leaf tiles that top the structure were refurbished in 1994, and in 2000, the building was thankfully declared a New York City landmark. Although Gilbert also designed great works of significance to lawyers, such as the United States Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C. and the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse in lower Manhattan, his cathedral on Madison Avenue remains our personal favorite.

New York Life Building from the RPJ offices.
Salisbury Cathedral  









Written by RPJ Partner Alice K. Jump, who practices in litigation and dispute resolution, employment, real estate and infrastructure law.