(The former Newsweek Building)

(Between 49th & 50th Streets)

Developer: Alexander S. Bing

Architect: Robert D. Kohn, Frank E. Vitolo and John J. Knight

Erected: 1931

By Carter B. Horsley

Former Newsweek Building at 444 Madison AvenueFor several decades, this modest Art Deco tower, shown at the left, dominated much of the midtown Madison Avenue skyline, especially after the lighted signs announcing the time and temperature were added beneath the Newsweek logo, none of which were part of the original design. When Newsweek relocated to the West Side in the mid-1990's, the sign was changed to "New York" as the magazine of that name moved into this building.

Unlike its two other nearby slender Art Deco towers, the original R.C.A. Victor (that became the former G.E. Building at 570 Lexington Avenue, see The City Review article) and the Fuller Building at 41 East 57th Street, this 42-story building occupies a full blockfront with its narrow tower centered on a mid-rise base with setbacks.

Until the erection of the Swiss Bank Tower (see The City Review article) between it and Saks Fifth Avenue to the west, the building was very visible from Rockefeller Center (see The City Review article). The mostly blank eastern wall of the Swiss Bank Tower, where its elevators are placed, faces the mostly blank western wall of the building that Newsweek decided to leave in 1993. (Newsweek had previously been located in the former Knickerbocker Hotel on the southeast comer of 42nd Street and Broadway and is now at 251 West 57th Street.)

The building's rooftop signs mar its Art Deco purity and hopefully will someday be removed. Given the small floor sizes of the tower and the building's superb location overlooking the rear of St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cathedral (see The City Review article) and the courtyard of the Villard Houses at the New York Palace Hotel (see The City Review article), this 336,472-sq. ft. building will not have difficulties finding tenants to replace Newsweek.

View of building from Fifth Avenue & 55th Street

View of 444 Madison Avenue from Fifth Avenue and 55th Street

The developer was part of the Bing & Bing real estate concern that built many of the city's finest residential properties in many different Manhattan neighborhoods.

In 2009, the building's base and lobby were redone clumsily.


Use the Search Box below to quickly look up articles at this site on specific artists, architects, authors, buildings and other subjects


Home Page of The City Review