Madison Square | Surrounded by Historic & Contemporary Landmarks

by NYJ Team

Situated in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, Madison Square is a public space that’s surrounded by historic and contemporary skyscrapers. This famous square is cantered on Madison Square Park which is a 6.2-acre park that includes monuments of prominent politicians and other leaders. From parades and farmers markets, Madison Square is a popular gathering spot for local events.

Architecture and Sightseeing

Constructed in 1909, the Metropolitan Life Tower is one of the most recognizable landmarks at Madison Square. This 50-floor skyscraper has Italian Renaissance and Revival elements that were designed by Napoleon LeBrun and Sons.

In 2015, this historic property was renovated and transformed into a luxurious hotel. Designed by the acclaimed architect Cass Gilbert in 1928, the New York Life Building is another prominent building at this famous square. This 40-floor skyscraper has a Gothic Revival facade that’s been beautifully preserved over the decades. As the name implies, the skyscraper is primarily occupied by the New York Life Insurance Company. A golden pyramid on the rooftop is the signature feature of this elegant property.

In 2011, One Madison Park became the second tallest building at Madison Square. Home to hundreds of upscale residential units, this modern high-rise tower has an architectural height of more than 617 feet. The curtain-wall facade with glass and steel components has dramatically transformed the traditional atmosphere at this square.

Some other architectural landmarks in the neighborhood include the Madison Square Building, Victoria Building and Croisic Building. Built in the 1910’s, these properties were some of the tallest in Lower Manhattan for several years.

As you stroll or relax at Madison Square, you’ll also notice the iconic Flatiron Building. Wedged in between Broadway, 5th Avenue and West 23rd Street, this triangular edifice was erected in 1902. The 20-floor building was one of the tallest in New York City for multiple years. Today, the Renaissance Revival landmark has 22 levels that have been expanded to accommodate modern demands for commercial use. The Flatiron Building is one of the most photographed skyscrapers in NYC. Situated at the southwest corner of Madison Square, the Flatiron Plaza offers awesome views of this iron-shaped wonder.

Located at the northern end of the square, the National Museum of Mathematics is a kid-friendly museum that presents dozens of educational exhibits. Floor 0 includes the Twisted Thruway, Tracks of Galileo, Hoop Curves and other awesome installations. Floor 1 features the Hypercube Room, Harmony of the Spheres, Octahoron Room and other exhibits that will surely stimulate the minds of curious visitors. The Enigma Cafe is a great place to recharge and relax after learning about arithmetic, geometry and other advanced mathematical concepts.

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Madison Square Park

The heart and soul of Madison Square is a 6.2-acre park that dates back to the 1840s. The green space includes impressive monuments of Chester A. Arthur, David Farragut, William Seward and Roscoe Conkling. After admiring the bronze figures of these prominent American statesmen, you can pay tribute to World War I soldiers at the Eternal Light Flagstaff.

Madison Square Park has plenty of wide and paved trails that are suitable for walking, jogging and bicycling. You’ll also find lots of comfortable benches under dense trees or near lush plants that beautify most of the grounds. Dozens of restaurants and cafes surround the Madison Square Park, so you won’t have to walk far to grab some treats and drinks.

Location and Directions

You can get to Madison Square by hopping on a New York City Subway train that stops at the underground station on East 23rd Street. The N, Q, R and W routes offer express and local services at this rail station. Carrying traffic heading uptown, Madison Avenue has several stops for Metropolitan Transportation (MTA) buses. Some of the buses also stop on various points along 5th Avenue, which runs downtown. Additionally, Madison Square is considered one of the most pedestrian and bicycle-friendly areas in Manhattan.

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