Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell by Deborah Solomon:
The neighborhood where Cornell reported to work every day had its own rewards. He knew Madison Square from the days when his father had worked nearby and was not unhappy to be back among the urban landmarks of his childhood. In nice weather he would often have his lunch on a bench in the square, a large, unpretentious park starting at Twenty-third Street, where clerks, shop assistants, and office girls would sit and eat their frugal sandwiches. The park looked out on wonderful buildings, such as the Flatiron Building – our American Parthenon, as Alfred Stieglitz called it at the time of his famous photograph – and the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Building, with its faux-Ventian tower. And then there was Stanford White’s Madison Square Garden, at Madison Avenue and Twenty-sixth Street, the soon-to-be demolished entertainment palace whose boxing matches and circuses made the area a hub of activity.