1221 Avenue of the Americas

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1221 Avenue of the Americas
1221 Avenue of the Americas 2016.jpg
1221 Avenue of the Americas. 1251 Avenue of the Americas is visible to left.
General information
Status Complete
Type Office
Location 1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York City, New York, USA
Coordinates 40°45′33″N 73°58′54″W / 40.75917°N 73.98167°W / 40.75917; -73.98167Coordinates: 40°45′33″N 73°58′54″W / 40.75917°N 73.98167°W / 40.75917; -73.98167
Construction started 1966
Opening 1972
Owner Rockefeller Group (Mitsubishi Estate)
Roof 674 feet (205 m)
Technical details
Floor count 51
Floor area 2,500,000 sq ft (232,258 m2)
Lifts/elevators 32
Design and construction
Architect Wallace Harrison

1221 Avenue of the Americas, is a skyscraper built in 1969, located at 1221 Sixth Avenue, in Manhattan, New York City, and is one of several buildings that were part of the Rockefeller Center complex expansion in the 1960s. It is 674 feet (205 m) high and 51 stories. The building is the former headquarters of McGraw-Hill Financial, from which it derived its former name.[1] Other tenants include Sirius XM Radio, whose headquarters and broadcast facility are in the building.

The expansion consisted of the three buildings collectively known as the "XYZ Buildings," each with similar slab-like massing, of different heights and designed by Wallace Harrison's firm.

The sunken courtyard of this building contains a large metal triangle designed by Athelstan Spilhaus and fabricated by Tyler Elevator Products, arranged so the Sun aligns with its sides at solstices and equinoxes.[2] When built, the southwestern corner held a display of scale models of planets in the Solar System. A mosaic map of the Earth survives in the northwestern corner.

1999 elevator incident[edit]

Sunken courtyard
World maps

After entering an express elevator at approximately 11:00 p.m. (EDT) on October 15, 1999, Nicholas White, an employee of the building, became trapped after a brief power dip caused the elevator to stop between the 13th and 14th floors. Though he signaled an alarm and there was surveillance video inside the elevator cab, White was not rescued until approximately 4:00 p.m. on October 17, nearly 41 hours later, after security guards spotted him in the surveillance cameras.[3][4]

In popular culture[edit]

The buildings are featured in the opening credits of Saturday Night Live, seen from below looking up in the street from a car. It was used for the exteriors and lobby of Elias-Clarke's headquarters in the 2006 film The Devil Wears Prada and the interior shots for Suits. It is also the headquarters of Sirius XM Radio, and many radio shows broadcast from the building including The Howard Stern Show.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "McGraw Hill Moves Downtown, Says Goodbye to Namesake Building". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  2. ^ Natural History Magazine Sun triangle
  3. ^ Tierney, John. "The Big City; Aftermath Of 40 Hours In an Elevator", The New York Times, October 28, 1999. Accessed October 4, 2008.
  4. ^ Ups and downs of elevators The New Yorker

External links[edit]