Monday, January 3, 2011

Gallery 3 - The Unknown Years: 1931 -1963

For a longer time I believed the building descriptions, telling the Manhattan Life Insurance Building was demolished in the year 1930. But some of the visitors wrote and said, the history of the building did not end in 1930, the building had another 30 years until it's story really ended in the early 1960s.

There are only a handfull pictures taken in the late and very late years of the building. It's also hard to identify the Manhattan Life Insurance Building, after it lost it's copula somewhen in the 1940s.


First picture is a Broadway View from June 1931, where the MLIB is hidden in the dust. First the complete view, second the part showing the MLIB.


On this 1932 Broadway View the MLIB is also hidden, but better recognizable than in the first picture. Watch out for the copula at the middle right of the picture.

Early 1930s

I don't know the exact age of this picture, but it seems to me, that it must be also taken in the early 1930s. The copula of the MLIB appears on the total right sight in the middle of the picture. If you know the exact age, please tell me:


Another Broadway View taken in the year 1936 showing the MLIB again, this time in the middle of the picture.

The second shot from 1936 presents the German airship "Hindenburg" over Manhattan, one year before the Lakehurst disaster. The MLIB is among the Lower Manhattan buildings down on the ground. If you like to find it, watch out for the marks on the top side of the airship, it's just above the third mark counted from the right side.


This birdseye view was taken in 1938. The MLIB is hidden inbetween the other Lower Manhattan buildings.

The MLIB's copula is on the right side, upper half of the picture.

Late 1930s / Early 1940s

This is a rare color movie showing New York City in the late 1930s / early 1940s. The MLIB appears for about a second at 0:56 min.


Somewhen inbetween 1938 and 1942 the MLIB lost it's copula. The following picture was taken in August 1942, maybe from the same place as the 1938 picture, so it's easy to compare the changes.

The MLIB, this time without it's crown, can be found in the upper right part of the picture again.


The following picture from Oktober 1946 is the best example for the difficulties, your are faced with, if you try to follow the path of the MLIB through it's last years. Sometimes like here it's only speculation, if you find the right building or named the wrong one MLIB. To less resolution, to much shadows, the wrong perspective, all those influences can be working against you.


The only color picture of the late years was taken 1949, showing a Lower Manhattan panorama as seen from the Hudson River / New Jersey.

The MLIB is hidden in the left center of the picture. First I said, that it seems, that the copula is still on the top of the building. But you always see, what you want to see. Objectivily the dark buildling in the center can also be a MLIB without a copula. After finding the 1942 picture above it is more than questionable, that this 1949 shot still showing a copula. But we should keep the discussion open.


Another vintage movie, showing NYC in the year 1950, and a short appearance of the MLIB, nearly in the dark, at 0:34 min.


The next picture is an aerial view showing the Lower Manhattan area. But it's hard just to identify the MLIB on this picture, because it is mostly hidden in the dark.


Another aerial view of Manhattan, this one was taken in 1960

The MLIB is hidden in the upper left quadrant of the picture. Take the Irving Trust Building as orientation, it's on the right of the MLIB on this picture. On the following partial view you see the MLIB in the center of the picture, without copula, but the 1904 annex is recognizable on the right side of the building.

Another picture from 1960, shot in January, another difficult picture, only a few lightened pixels, that keep the memory on.


Last picture was taken in the year before the Manhattan Life Insurance Building finally left New York.

You find the late MLIB in the center of the picture, next to the Irving Trust Building, this time on the left side.

A special THANK YOU goes to Michal Juroška, who found and shared a lot of the pictures, shown in this gallery.

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