Statement of Significance (as of designation - June 2, 1978):
The New York Life Insurance Company, founded in 1841 as the Nautilus Insurance Company, has played a major role in the development of life insurance policies and practices. One of the nation's most innovative insurance firms, it was the first to establish a branch office system and pioneered a widely copied actuarial method of insuring individuals based on medical studies. In 1928 the firm moved to this 34-story skyscraper designed by noted architect Cass Gilbert. Its Gothic lines and prominent pyramidal tower sheathed in gold leaf make it a prominent architectural presence in midtown Manhattan.