New York Architecture Images- Midtown

General Electric Building

(Originally the RCA Victor Building)


Cross & Cross


570 Lexington Avenue at 51st St.




Art Deco


194,6m / 640.0ft, 50 floors  salmon brick, terra-cotta
The base is of rose-coloured granite, while the set-back mass above and the tower shaft are clad in glazed tan brick. 
The undoubtedly most striking feature of this 195 m tall building is its, indeed, flamboyant top, a curious mixture of Gothic spires in limestone and brickwork with wavy, filigree style decoration and lightning bolt motifs, depicting the electricity of radio transmission waves sent by the Radio Corporation of America. At night this "crown" of the building is illuminated from within, making the top look like a giant torch. 
The entrance lobby has a vaulted ceiling of aluminium plating with sunburst motifs and walls of light pink marble. The lamp fixtures are of aquamarine-colored glass. 


Office Building


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Capped with a crown of spires, this Art Deco skyscraper is decorated with diagonal and zigzag designs that evoke associations with electricity. Its brick cladding with terra-cotta ornament blends in with the materials of St. Bartholomew's church. With much of its base hidden behind the church, this is a rare example of a friendly, contextual juxtaposition of two buildings of different scale, type and age.

When Architects Cross & Cross were given the task of designing the Gneral Electric building in 1931, they were asked to create a building that would complement St. Bartholomew's Church next door. This was no easy task.

Upon completion, however, the GE building won unanimous acclaim from both critics and the general public. The colors chosen for the building were designed to blend as well as provide contrast, and the tower enhanced the church's polychrome dome. View both buildings from the corner of Park and 50th to see for yourself how well the architects met their goal.

The GE building is not merely backdrop for St. Bartholomew's; it's a work of art in its own right. From its chrome and marble lobby to its radio waves crown, the GE Building represents one of the finest examples of Art Deco design in the world.

While at the GE Building, take a moment to visit the site of one of the most memorable scenes in movie history. One block north on Lexington Avenue is the spot where Marilyn Monroe, in her white dress, stood in the breeze of a Lexington Avenue subway grate in the movie, The Seven-Year Itch.