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MAS Submits 17 Buildings to the Landmarks Preservation Commission for Evaluation

Pershing Square Building - terra cotta detail

The New York City Department of City Planning’s proposed East Midtown re-zoning has the potential to dramatically change the area and threaten the mix of old and new buildings that define the neighborhood as uniquely New York. In response to the City’s proposal, MAS is developing a holistic vision for the future of East Midtown that supports a vibrant mix of businesses, people, and of course, the buildings themselves – over a century’s worth of architecture. Historic preservation is a key component of this ongoing work.

Today, of the 587 building located in the City’s study area, 32 are designated as individual landmarks. In October, as part of our comments on the draft scope for the environmental review, MAS identified 29 sites of historic and architectural merit not currently protected by New York City landmark status. These buildings represent the development periods that define East Midtown, from pre-Grand Central to Terminal City to the post-war Modern Movement. They also represent a mix of materials, styles and uses that contribute to East Midtown’s visual diversity and sense of place.

East Midtown is certainly known for iconic landmarks such as the Chrysler Building, Lever House, and Grand Central Terminal (which celebrates 100 years in 2013, thanks in part to the work of MAS.)  As reported in today’s New York Times, from the initial list of historic resources identified, MAS further refined the selection to 17 buildings that best convey historic, architectural and cultural significance, as determined by site visits, research, and collaboration with experts on the MAS Preservation Committee. These 17 buildings have been submitted for evaluation to the Landmarks Preservation Commission:

  • 4 E. 43rd Street (former Mehlin Piano Company Building; Andrew J. Thomas, 1916)
  • 18-20 E. 50th Street (former Grand Rapids Furniture Company; Rouse & Goldstone, 1915)
  • 270 Park Avenue (former Union Carbide Building; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, 1960)
  • 445 Park Avenue (Kahn & Jacobs, 1947)
  • 450 Park Avenue (former Franklin National Bank Building; Emery Roth & Sons, 1972)
  • 661 Lexington Avenue (former Babies’ Hospital; York & Sawyer, 1902)
  • Center for Fiction (former Mercantile Library; Henry Otis Chapman, 1932)
  • Graybar Building (Sloan & Robertson, 1927)
  • Hotel Intercontinental Barclay (Cross & Cross, 1926)
  • The Lexington (former Hotel Lexington; Schultze & Weaver, 1929)
  • Marriott East Side (former Shelton Hotel; Arthur Loomis Harmon, 1923)
  • One Grand Central Place (former Lincoln Building; J. E. R. Carpenter; Dwight P. Robinson, 1929)
  • Pershing Square Building (John Sloan of York & Sawyer, 1923)
  • Postum Building (Cross & Cross, 1924)
  • Swedish Seamen’s Church (former New York Bible Society; Wilfred Edward Anthony, 1920)
  • Vanderbilt Concourse Building (Warren & Wetmore, 1916)
  • Yale Club (James Gamble Rogers, 1915)

MAS is advocating for an East Midtown that incorporates historic preservation into its soaring future. Stay tuned to MAS.org/blog for further discussions and updates.