8. The building’s lobby is an art museum in itself

Josef Albers mural in MetLife Building lobby

The lobby of the Pan Am Building was planned to include a number of art installations paying homage to the city. One of the most notable is Flight, a three-story wire sculpture by Richard Lippold containing an earthlike sphere, a seven-pointed star representing the seven continents and seas, and gold wires representing aircraft flight patterns. Composer John Cage even planned a musical program to complement Flight, but Lippold instead convinced management to play classical music in the lobby.

Manhattan, a 28-by-55-foot mosaic mural of red, white, and black panels by Josef Albers, was removed in a 2001 renovation but was replaced by a replica in 2019. Previous works that have since been removed include an architectural mural by György Kepes, suspended over the 45th Street entrance. The mural consisted of a set of aluminum screens with concentric squares and was removed in the 1980s.