Helmsley Building
The Helmsley Building is a 35-story located at 230 Park Avenue in New York City. Before the erection of the Pan Am Building, now the MetLife Building, this building stood out over the city's second most prestigious avenue as it was the tallest structure in the great "Terminal City" complex around Grand Central Terminal designed by Warren & Wetmore. The building was designated a New York City Landmark in 1987.

History

New York Central Building
Before the electrification of the New York Central Railroad in 1912-1913, the neighborhood north of Grand Central Terminal was one of open-air railway yards and tracks used by steam locomotives. The electrification and subsequent covering of the yards enabled the continuation of Park Avenue to the north and the construction of new buildings (with curious foundations). Among them was the New York Central Building. In 1929, the New York Central Railroad Company built their 34-story headquarters at 230 Park Ave., New York City, New York. In 1913, New York Central bore a concept for a visual termination point in the city. Although the original plan was to have this termination point be over New York Central's Grand Central Terminal, the concept was instead realized in the form of The New York Central Building just across the street to the north. On September 10, 1931, capo di tutti capi Salvatore Maranzano was murdered in his ninth-floor office here by hitmen sent by Lucky Luciano and Vito Genovese, ambitious underlings whom Maranzano had hired Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll to kill. Exterior The building is a typical slab-sided skyscraper between East 45th and East 46th Street, with a distinctive design that includes a means of transporting Park Avenue from street level to the divided aerial highway that passes through the building, and then around Grand Central Terminal to 42nd Street, and then back to street level. The top of the building is pyramidal, and capped by an ornate cupola. Interior “The impressive lobby, planned as a corridor connecting 45th and 46th Streets, echoes the magnificence of the exterior. The design and ornamentation celebrate the prowess of the New York Central Railroad, which had its headquarters on the premises. A sense of imperial grandeur is created by marble walls and bronze detail, which includes extensive use of the railroad’s initials. The Chinese Red elevator doors open into cabs with red walls, wood moldings, gift domes, and painted cloudscapes".

New York General Building
When New York Central sold the building, General Tire & Rubber Company renamed the building the New York General Building. The building was easily renamed as the "C" and "T" in Central were masterfully chiseled into "G" and "E" respectively.

The Helmsley Building
Later, when General Tire & Rubber Company sold the building to Helmsley-Spear, Leona Helmsley once again renamed the building The Helmsley Building, which is its current name. The deal in which the ownership of this 2,300,000 sq ft (214,000 m 2) building, which was owned by the Helmsley-Spear Management until August 1998, changed hands stipulated that the building would only be sold under the condition that the building would officially remain as a Helmsley namesake. The building was purchased by Max Capital for $253 million, but in 2006 was sold again to Istithmar, an investment firm owned by the royal family of Dubai, for $705 million. It was later sold to Goldman Sachs in 2007 for over $1 billion.

In popular culture
  • One of the promotional posters for the 2008 film The Dark Knight shows the building with an explosion the shape of the Batman emblem on its upper floors.
  • The building is shown as one of the skyscrapers still standing in the movie A.I. Artificial Intelligence
  • It was also used as one of the New York City filming locations for the non-narrative film Baraka .
  • An interior boardroom was used in The Godfather , as the location of an important meeting between New York's Five Families, to show their influence in society. Railroad murals can be seen behind the actors. However, the exterior used for the shot was the Federal Reserve Bank of New York building at 33 Liberty Street.