Eliot Cross and his brother John belonged to a well-heeled New York family with strong social connections to the Astors and Vanderbilts. Both attended Ivy League schools; Eliot went to Harvard while John studied at Yale as well as Paris; prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Once Eliot graduated Harvard in 1906 he went into private practice with his brother John to create Cross and Cross, which in time became known as old New York's architectural firm of choice. John served as the firm's artist, while Eliot excelled in all business matters. In addition to their own firm, the bothers formed a real estate company with W. Seward Webb and Robert C. Knapp to handle leases offered by the Vanderbilt family in the area just north of the new rail station. Cross and Cross went on to design dozens of Manhattan's finest buildings including the 50-story General Electric building as well as the Tiffany and Co. building on Fifth Avenue.