Thursday, June 23, 2011

NYC Vintage Image: Inside The Mod Equitable Life Assurance Co., 1962


In 1915, the handsome 38-story white marble Equitable Life Assurance Co. HQ (left) was completed in Manhattan at 120 Broadway. Some 40 years later, the firm needed more space and relocated to Midtown, tossing away grandeur for the sleek, streamlined look that embodied the late 1950s.

Certainly there's nothing distinctive about the 1962 glass & steel facade of the 42-story skyscraper at 1285 Sixth Avenue between 51st & 52nd streets across from Radio City Music Hall (above), which was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. But inside, it's a giddy delight to see the sleek post-deco style of the office areas, fabulous computer room, dining hall & secretarial pool. Obviously, the designer of the spaces had a mantra: If it's brown, it's got to be good. Yikes.

Today, the building is home to brokerage firm Paine Webber. Ironically, that company moved its national headquarters to the building in 1985 from 140 Broadway, just steps from the original Equitable building.Interior photos courtesy of Geschichte Blog.