The DuMont Building (also known as 515 Madison Avenue) is a 532 foot (162 m) high building at 53rd Street and Madison Avenue in New York City.
The building was built in art deco and neo-gothic style by John H. Carpenter and designed by his brother, architect J.E.R. Carpenter who also designed Lincoln Tower as well as nearly 125 buildings along Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue.
One of the building’s most distinctive features is a broadcasting antenna that traces back to the building’s role in the first television broadcasts of WNYW in 1938.
In 1938, Allen B. DuMont began broadcasting experimental television W2XWV from the building. In 1944, the station became WABD, named for his initials. The station was one of the few that continued to broadcast through World War II. The broadcast of news about the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki in 1945 was considered the beginning of the DuMont Television Network.
After the war, the network and WABD moved to bigger studios – first at the John Wanamaker’s store at Ninth Street and Broadway in Greenwich Village, then the Adelphi Theatre, the Ambassador Theatre, and in 1954 to the Central Turn-Verein Opera House at 205 East 67th, which was renamed The DuMont Tele-Center and today is the Fox Television Center, home of WABD’s descendant, WNYW.
In 1947, the building was the site of a protest by 700 picketers demanding that the United States end diplomatic relations with Spain as a protest against the government of Francisco Franco at the site of the Spanish consulate, located in the building.
In the early 1950s, the WABD antenna was moved to the top of the Empire State Building, in a move which consolidated all New York television stations to one location.
In 1962, the 250,000-square-foot (23,000 m2) building was sold to Newmark & Co. which still owns and manages it.
In 1977, WKCR-FM, the radio station of Columbia University, became the first radio (or television) station to transmit from the antenna atop the World Trade Center, having previously broadcast from the former WABD antenna atop the DuMont Building for 19 years, until the construction of other surrounding skyscrapers started interfering with the station’s signal.