To the left is the 47-story tower of the Waldorf-Astoria, built in 1931. An art deco gem of midtown (the lobby is a must-see), the Waldorf-Astoria started as two separate hotels owned by feuding cousins William Waldorf Astor and John Jacob Astor. New York is littered with streets and neighborhoods named for the Astors. William built his original hotel on the site where the Empire State Building stands. A second Waldorf-Astoria, to be built near Disney World, was announced by Hilton Hotels earlier this year.
To the right, at 50 stories and also built in 1931, is 570 Lexington, formerly the General Electric Building. This is one of my favorites, with lots of zig-zag ornamental references to electricity and you really can’t do it justice without a long lens. Visit the above linked site for some much better shots. In the early 90’s, during a Manhattan real-estate depression, the building was donated to Columbia University.