The Madison Belmont Building

81 Madison Avenue
Warren & Wetmore, 1924

Like Madison Square Park, Madison Avenue was named after James Madison, the fourth President of the United States. The Avenue begins at 23rd Street and extends to the Madison Avenue Bridge at 138th Street. When the Manhattan street grid was mandated in 1811, there was no avenue between Fourth (now Park) and Fifth Avenues. Madison Avenue was carved out in the 1840s due to the wide distance between Fourth and Fifth Avenues and in order to create more building lots with avenue frontage. This southern section of Madison Avenue is characterized by its fine assortment of large-scale hotels, lofts and office buildings.

The Madison Belmont Building was constructed for the Cheney Brothers Silk Company, the country’s largest silk mill at the time, when this area was briefly known as the Silk District. Its overall Renaissance Revival style is accented by prominent Art Deco elements, and was one of the first buildings in the United States to incorporate such motifs. Its elegant iron and bronze framing at the lower three floors and entrances was designed by Edgar Brandt, a pioneer of the Art Deco style in Paris. The building was designated both an Individual and Interior Landmark in 2011.