Save The Clock Tower

The former home of the New York Life Insurance Company, located at 108 Leonard Street, is being converted to residential Condos after a legal battle with preservationists. Back in the late 1920’s the city took ownership, after the New York Life Insurance Company moved out to 51 Madison Avenue, across from Madison Square. The interior has been given landmark status, but developers, and the LPC are breaking the rules. “Under city law, an interior landmark is supposed to be open or accessible to the general public regularly. But the ante room and some other interior landmark spaces will only be open to residents.”

108 Leonard rendering

Preservationists are up in arms about the space being closed off to the public. Along with the anteroom, the clock which has always been maintained my clock aficionados since it’s restoration in 1980, is also a landmark feature and will be converted to electric, because of the building’s conversion to residential. Preservationists lost a lawsuit filed in 2016, which now put the clock in jeopardy, despite the Commission’s ruling in favor of keeping it mechanical.

A historic depiction of the building when it was headquarters for New York Life Insurance.CreditThe New York Public Library/Picture Collection