The Met Life Tower at Madison Square, is a landmark skyscraper that was actually built to resemble one of the world’s most photographed buildings.
Constructed in 1909, the Met Life Tower is modeled after the Campanile in St Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy. The fifty-story tower, which stands approximately 700 feet (213m) tall, was once the world’s tallest building until 1913, when it was surpassed by the Woolworth Building. Located on the 25th to 27th floor, are four clock faces on each side of the tower. Each clock face is four storeys or 26.5 feet (8 m) in diameter with each number being four feet (1.2 m) tall and the minute hands each weighing half a ton. On top, the cupola is gilded with 23.75-carat Italian gold leaf.
The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1978, and a New York City landmark in 1989. The tower served as world headquarters for Met Life until 2005, then Tommy Hilfiger signed a contract to buy the building for $170 million. Planning to transform it into Hilfiger’s first hotel and luxury condos, the deal fell through and it was sold to the Marriott International in 2011 for $165 million. Marriott plans to convert the clock tower portion of the building it into the New York Edition Hotel.