The early years of slender skyscrapers started in New York City in the late 19th and early 20th century. The designs were driven by an increase in the price of land plots and the use of elevators and steel frame construction that allowed buildings to be built taller. During that time, there were no regulations on building heights until the 1916 Zoning Resolution. The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, completed in 1911, was an example of the buildings in that era. It has the height of 700 feet (210 m) and the widths of 75 feet (23 m) and 85 feet (26 m).
After an issue of the bulky Equitable Building, the 1916 Zoning Resolution was enacted with setback regulations but left the heights of buildings to be unlimited if the tower is built within 25% of the lot size. This caused the building designs in that era to have a bulky base and slender tower with the floor area of the tower less than 25 percent of the lot area. The Pierre and The Sherry-Netherland are examples of slender towers of the time that were allowed to be built close to the Central Park.