On a cloudy and rainy August day in 1903 Edith’s voice teacher returned to the city early and she had an impromptu lesson. Later, when she wrote home to her parents in Rutland, Vermont she describes “had a fine one (lesson). It seems to agree with me very well to work by myself part of the time which to me is one of the most encouraging things as I have made progress…I have (still) lots to learn but I am learning it and that’s all I can ask. I’m to have another lesson Saturday and am going to have Mrs. Robinson down to play (piano) for me. The first part of this afternoon Miss Clarke invited me to go out downtown with her so I did. She did a few errands and we went in and looked at the entrance to the Metropolitan Life Insurance Building at 23rd & Madison Ave.”
In 1903 the Metropolitan Life Building in New York City(pictured above) was headquarters of the successful company and amongst an early start of the Skyscrapers of New York. The iconic tower was not built yet (that was done in 1909) but the height and scale was incredibly grand. The entrance way that Edith and Miss Clarke peeked into displayed this grand staircase design.
The Met Life Building grew over time and by 1909 the additional tower rose high and was briefly the tallest building in the world. Edith did not witness the tower construction because at that time she was a resident of Vienna, Austria but upon her return to the city in 1914 she would have seen the addition:
A modern day snapshot reveals the Met Life Insurance still standing although in a crowded field of adjacent buildings. If you look in the lower right mid-corner of the frame (about where the white top of the long bus is on the street), this is where Edith and Miss Clarke strolled by in August 1903.
Lets hear it for New York!