The glass atrium in the skyscraper at 590 Madison Avenue is one of the more than five hundred Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS) in New York City. These public spaces were created as a result of an incentive zoning program of 1961, that offered private developers an increase in density in exchange for the inclusion of public space.
This skyscraper was built in 1983 for IBM (International Business Machines) - a well known American computer manufacture. IBM history started in 1911 when three successful 19th century companies merged. The name of the company was changed to IBM in 1924 and the first headquarters' building was built in New York in 1938. The 20-story, 100,000 square foot building was located at the corner of East 57 and Madison.
It housed all executive functions, as well as the sales and services departments serving the New York area. The company was growing very quickly and in 1979 the building was demolished and a new 41 floor skyscraper was built. The IBM building was built at the same year as the Trump Tower at the corner of 57 and Fifth avenue. The building cost US$10 million, has 24 elevators, and is the 89th tallest building in New York.
The combination of 590 Madison Avenue and Trump Tower ( I wrote about the indoor public space in Trump Tower in one of my posts) creates the City’s only complex of indoor connected privately owned public spaces uninterrupted by a street.
The Sculpture Garden in the atrium of 590 Madison is a green oasis in the center of the business part n the city. It is one most tranquil indoor spaces in all of midtown.
The glass enclosed public space has huge bamboo trees and sculptural elements. Movable seating creates small-scale conversation spaces.
In 2004 hundreds of Big Apple sculptures popped up all over New York as part of the Big Apple Fest. They are cast from acrylic, allowing artists to create three-dimensional works inside or decorate the exterior. Two of these apples can be seen now in the atrium.
There are sculptures in the permanent display in this garden and new installations. Last time when I was there in the beginning of December there were two beautiful cars on the view. On view there was 1966 Ferrari and 1932 Studz. Both cars were offered on auction in Scottsdale in Arizona on 15 of January.
In summer at lunch time there are concerts in the atrium.