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New York Life's Gold-Topped 'Cathedral Of Life Insurance' Celebrates Its Platinum Anniversary

Historic New York City and National Landmark is on Site of Original Madison Square Garden

NEW YORK, N.Y., December 10, 2003 - New York Life Insurance Company's Home Office building on 51 Madison Avenue in Manhattan celebrates its 75th anniversary this week. Designated an official landmark by the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission and listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic Landmark, the New York Life building symbolizes the company's 158-year history of trust and stability. Its distinctive golden pinnacle, standing six stories high, is featured prominently in its current print and broadcast advertisements. Often referred to as the 'Cathedral of Life Insurance,' the building is housed on the original site of Madison Square Garden.

"Our Home Office building at 51 Madison is more than just an extraordinary work of architecture - it has come to represent New York Life's values of financial strength, integrity and humanity," said Sy Sternberg, chairman and chief executive officer of New York Life. "We are proud to be a prominent feature in New York City's celebrated skyline and to commemorate the building's 75th anniversary."

Designed by Cass Gilbert, the famed architect who also designed New York's Woolworth Building and the U.S. Supreme Court, the building was inspired by the Salisbury Cathedral in England and is sheathed by 440,000 cubic feet of Indiana limestone. Its Gothic-styled structure, complete with 72 gargoyles, 40 stories and 2,180 windows, occupies a full city block adjacent to Manhattan's Madison Square Park. On December 12, 1928, the company's then President Darwin P. Kingsley formally dedicated the building, and President Calvin Coolidge pressed a button in the White House that unfurled a U.S. flag in the new building.

The site is steeped in history. In the 1860s, the property housed the Grand Roman Hippodrome, P.T. Barnum's circus arena, and later became the home of the original Madison Square Garden. Additionally, Winston Churchill's mother, Jenny Jerome, once lived in a home next door to the site.

The building's famous golden pinnacle was erected in 1967 and stands 617 feet above street level. The tower was lighted on the company's 140th anniversary in 1985 and has been lighted ever since. New gold leaf ceramic tiles were installed ten years later to commemorate New York Life's 150th anniversary. The building is the star of a national television advertising campaign that has aired since 1999 and, according to studies, has become recognizable to over 35 percent of American people nationwide.

New York Life Insurance Company, a Fortune 100 company, is the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States and one of the largest life insurers in the world. Founded in 1845 and headquartered in New York City, New York Life offers life insurance, and through its affiliates, annuities and long-term care insurance. New York Life Investment Management LLC, a New York Life affiliate, provides institutional asset management, retirement planning and trust services. Other New York Life affiliates provide an array of securities products and services, as well as institutional and retail mutual funds.

Note to editors: To obtain images of the building, please contact Lisa Fels at 212-576-7937.


Lisa Fels
New York Life

Marcy Kaplicer

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New York Life's Gold-Topped 'Cathedral Of Life Insurance' Celebrates Its Platinum Anniversary

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