IN the vicinity of the Grand Central station is another historic building, albeit much younger. When Yves Montand flawlessly belted out Come Back to Me on top of the old Pam Am tower in the movie On a Clear Day You Can See Forever it became one of the great cinematic moments in New York history.
The 59-story skyscraper above Grand Central is now known as the MetLife Building and remains one of the most recognizable structures in the city. When it opened in 1963, it was the largest commercial office space in the world and the perfect location for a glamorous international airline to be headquartered.
In1977 a large airport shuttle helicopter, its rotor blades whirling, toppled on the skyscraper roof landing pad, killing five people and injuring nine. Four men were killed on the roof of the Pan Am building when the rotor blades sliced through a group of 15 passengers waiting to board the machine for JFK Airport.
One woman was killed on the street hundreds of feet below when one blade snapped off and part of it whirled down into Madison Avenue and East 43rd Street while Manhattan rush hour was at its peak.
The building was the site of the suicide of Eli M. Black a few years earlier in 1975. He was the director of the United Brands Company. He used his attaché case to smash an external window and then jumped out of the 44th-story window to his death on Park Avenue.
In 1992, MetLife removed the huge Pan Am signage from the building since the airline had ceased operations.
WHERE: 200 Park Avenue at East 45th Street above Grand Central Terminal
This article was taken from the History Buffs Guide to New York by Mark Jones, which is available at Amazon