The building at 510 5th Ave may now house retail stores, but it used to be a mid-century monument to money.
The Manufacturers Trust Company commissioned the building, which opened in 1954. For those too young to remember, Manufacturers Trust used to be a bank. It merged with Central Hanover Bank and Trust and became Manufacturers Hanover. It merged with Chemical Bank and kept the Chemical name. That name disappeared when Chase bought it.
In any case, the renowned Skidmore, Owings & Merrill designed the building, which is a smaller, lesser known mid-century landmark along the lines of Lever House. In fact, it is an actual landmark — the city designated the exterior in 1997 and the interior in 2011.
The building was known for having a vault that was visible from the street. Now it’s just like a big closet or something.
The building opened to awards and kudos, and still looks great more than half a century later.