Posts tagged with "LPC":

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Waldorf Astoria's art deco interiors one step closer to landmark status

The Waldorf Astoria hotel is one of the most important works of art deco architecture in New York City. Its interior spaces, designed in 1929 by Schultze & Weaver, embody the spirit of the Jazz Age architecture that captured the city in the 1920s. The exterior was landmarked in 1993. Today, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted unanimously to calendar the interior spaces for designation, most of which are part of the block-long network of interiors. The new designation could protect the large spaces and connecting hallways, many of which are publicly accessible. Putting the interiors on the calendar is the first official step in the landmarking process. Chinese holding company Anbang Insurance Group purchased the building for $1.95 billion in 2014 and is looking to invest up to $1 billion more for a major renovation that could transform the hotel into luxury residential apartments. The building is scheduled to close for renovations from spring 2017 until 2020. In a statement released today, Anbang declared its support for the LPC's move:
Anbang knows the Waldorf’s history is a large part of what makes this hotel so special. That’s why we fully support the LPC’s recommendation for what would be one of the most extensive interior landmark designations of any privately owned building in New York. These designations are consistent with our vision and will protect the Waldorf’s significant public spaces. We are now finalizing renovation plans for the Waldorf that preserve these spaces and will ensure that the Waldorf will provide memorable experiences for generations to come. We look forward to sharing our plans publicly when they are complete.
The spaces under review include the Park Ave foyer and colonnade, the West Lounge (a.k.a. “Peacock Alley”), the East Arcade, the Lexington Avenue stairs, assorted lobbies and vestibules, the Ballroom entrance hall, and the famous Grand Ballroom. The ballroom hosts many high-profile events, including the Al Smith dinner that serves as comedic relief each presidential election season as the two candidates take light-hearted jabs at each other. The decadent architectural details inside represent an early embrace of the Machine age, even if in a “superficial way,” as described Marianne Lamonaca, author of Grand Hotels of the Jazz Age, a 2005 book about New York’s remarkable hotels of the era. "This is one of the most distinctive interiors in the city," Commissioner Frederick Bland explained. "In Delirious New York, Rem Koolhaas writes a whole chapter on this extraordinary city within a city. I always encourage my students to visit this sequence of spaces. That is what make this so special to me. It is public, or nearly public. To walk on that main axis, entering from Park Avenue, and ending up down a level on Lexington is wonderful. It is probably my favorite interior in all of New York. The fact that it is not landmarked already is really horrifying. This is a delightful day for me."
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Studio Gang's AMNH expansion gets the green light from Landmarks Preservation Commission

Today the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) unanimously approved plans for a major expansion to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York. In almost 90 pages of presentation materials, representatives from Studio Gang, preservation consultants Higgins Quasebarth & Partners, and landscape architects Reed Hilderbrand demonstrated to the commission and the public how they would demolish three museum buildings constructed between 1874 and 1935 to make way for the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. In a radical but elegant departure from AMNH's mélange of Victorian gothic, Beaux Arts, Richardson Romanesque, and contemporary buildings, the 195,000-square-foot Gilder Center, inside and out, takes formal cues from geological strata, glacier-gouged caves, curving canyons, and blocks of glacial ice. "Sleekness was never a goal—we wanted a richness of texture," explained Studio Gang design principal Wes Walker, in a pre-meeting model walkthrough with The Architect's Newspaper (AN). The pink Milford granite the designers intend to use for the facade is the same stone used for Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall, the museum's main entrance on Central Park West. The Gilder Center granite will be sliced into two- and three-inch-thick bricks and arranged in diagonal bands on the facade to create the attractive variation that's produced by ornament on the neighboring 19th-century buildings. Bill Higgins (of Higgins Quasebarth) and Jeanne Gang detailed how the unconventional form will fit in with—and enhance—those buildings: The original, aggressively rectilinear master plan calls for architectural focal points on each of the museum's main facades. The angular forms are complemented by a playful, curvilinear landscape—plans show undulating paths that flank the imposing buildings. The rectangle/curve relationship remains at the Teddy Roosevelt entrance, and the Gilder Center, directly across the complex, extends and amplifies historic precedent—"[it's] an insertion into the historic fabric," said Gang. For AMNH, the new building is both an addition and connective tissue that bridges disparate programs. Museum president Ellen Futter explained that her institution needs to expand to accommodate five million annual visitors: Though its classroom and exhibition space will augment the museum's offerings, the Gilder Center is also a switchboard, connecting ten buildings at 30 different points. Inside and out, transparency and accessibility define the design. Vertical glazing on the facade lets visitors see deep into the structure, like looking into a fjord. Where the museums of past centuries defined their monumentality with great granite steps, the Gilder Center's no-step entrance allows for seamless access for people with mobility impairments or strollers. The addition will also open up sightlines to Building One, AMNH's first structure, via a passageway and additional gallery space. Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer, councilperson Helen Rosenthal's office, AIA New York, the Van Alen Institute, and the Columbus Avenue BID spoke in support of the addition, but preservation and neighborhood parks groups were not as bullish on the project. The Historic Districts Council (HDC), while offering that the Gilder Center "defers sensitively" to existing buildings, questioned the facade detailing and expressed concern about the building's exposed interior. The structural concrete columns that define the main space, HDC claims, are not clad in the same quality material as the facade. The group suggested Studio Gang refine the design further. Residents and members of park preservation groups spoke out against the Gilder Center because it encroaches on Theodore Roosevelt Park, and its construction requires the removal of seven mature trees. In response, Reed Hildebrand divided the layout into slow and fast programs—slow, or passive recreational activity will be directed away from the Gilder Center entrance, a meandering paved walkway shaded by (new) trees and curving flower beds. 80 percent of the addition will occupy the museum's existing footprint, and less than two percent of the 10-acre park will be sacrificed to AMNH. Noting the designers' willingness to adjust their designs in response to community concerns, the commissioners offered additional suggestions. Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan said that the cultural aspect of the museum was often absent from the conversation around the design, while other members suggested that the architects reconsider the stucco planned for a northern exterior wall. Commissioner Frederick Bland, an architect, noted that the essence of AMNH is its "excellent" architecture that has accrued on the site over time. He praised the design team's vision and level of detailing, adding that at this stage it can be dangerous to intrude on the details of another architects' design vocabulary. "Very seldom do you see a design this soaring and open," said commissioner Wellington Chen. "It's a stunning piece of architecture—the commission can be proud in approving the project," said Srinivasan. After hours of tension, a palpable wave of relief emanated from the assembled architects. After the LPC's vote, a smiling Jeanne Gang told AN that her team had to move the modeling and detailing much farther along than usual for this round of approvals. "We had to make the parametric model way ahead to figure out the coursing and interfaces with the masonry," she said. Next, the Gilder Center moves onto design development and through the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process towards an expected groundbreaking next year.
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Two modern developments in Manhattan's Noho neighborhood given the green light by the LPC

A ten-story office complex on 363 Lafayette Street in Manhattan's Noho neighborhood has been awarded approval by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). Designed by local firm Morris Adjmi Architects, the scheme had previously been rejected. Another project, a multi-family residency just round the corner on 22 Bond Street by fellow New York practice BKSK Architects, was also given the go-ahead. Initially, Adjmi's design had employed double-height windows as part of a slightly angled and staggered facade that included a dash of greenery along its incremental edges. This design was rejected by the LPC in July earlier this year, but Adjmi's subsequent alterations did the trick this time around. The modifications included making sure the street corner doesn't feature the staggered angular fall-back—except for a major recession on the eighth floor)—which was a previous gripe of the LPC in July. These subtle angular increments now occur southwards down Lafayette Street and, unlike before, are in accordance with each level change. Furthermore, new glazing has been placed on the south-side of the building while additional window detailing features around every exposed facade. According to New York Yimby, in response to the latest iteration, Commissioner Michael Devonshire described the design as “beautiful.” Preservation consultant Elise Quasebarth from New York firm Higgins Quasebarth & Partners, who specialize in the preservation and rehabilitation of historic properties, commented that the architects had “strengthened [the] corner, using it as a pivot” to create “dynamic slicing” and “more graceful proportions." While commissioner Frederick Bland said it was a “terrible thing for a committee to nit pick [an architect’s work] to pieces,” he and the rest of the commissioners were happy with the design voting unanimously for its approval. Also vying for approval was New York studio BKSK for their multi-family dwelling lot on 22 Bond Street, a stone's throw away from Morris Adjmi's project. The design features minor changes to the front facade as well as a "braille sidewalk" that features cast-iron vault lights which illuminate the entrance area at night. A third project at 413-435 West 14th Street was also due for hearing but was laid over at the committee meeting. All three projects can be viewed in detail here, here and here (in order of appearance in this article).
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LPC grants tentative approval to New Classical replacement townhouse on site of blown-up Manhattan building

A decade ago, a Manhattan doctor made headlines when he blew himself up inside his beloved 62nd Street townhouse. Dr. Nicholas Bartha was forced to leave the building after a messy divorce, and he is thought to have triggered the explosion himself by tampering with a gas main as a final act of vengeance. The site’s spooky past was no match for the value of Manhattan real estate, and ten years later a new building has been approved for the site, 6sqft reports. The Woodbine Company purchased the 100- by 20-foot plot for approximately $12 million in 2015, and New York–based HS Jessup Architecture designed a 7,800-square-foot home to fit into the space. The building will have five bedrooms and five stories, and its New Classical design is meant to blend in with the surrounding townhouses. The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has given approval for the building at 34 East 62nd Street, albeit with the suggestion of design changes. The proposed building has a faux-historic style, with a simple facade of limestone and brick that takes notes from other buildings on the block. A previously approved townhouse had a much more modern design.
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Mayor de Blasio signs controversial landmarks bill into law

Mayor de Blasio has signed Intro 775-A into law. Intro 775-A provides new decision timelines for the designation of landmarks. The law gives the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) one year to landmark or pass up calendared individual, scenic, or interior landmarks. The commission has two years to decide on historic districts. If action isn't taken on an item, the law stipulates that it must be de-calendared. When the law takes effect, any item on the LPC's calendar has to be voted on within 18 months, or it will be de-calendared. A one-year extension may be granted with permission from the property owner. Intro 775-A is a response to the 95-item backlog on the LPC's calendar. LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan explained at a September 2015 public hearing that the commission will streamline its process if the bill became law, but that they would strongly prefer to establish procedure internally. Critics of the commission pointed out that some items had languished on the calendar for years, sometimes decades. In response, the LPC is in the process of voting on older calendar items. In the days leading up to the City Council vote in early June, preservation groups, including the Historic Districts Council (HDC), Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, MAS, Landmark West!, and Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, came out forcefully against the bill. The timeline, opponents say, could limit the designation of challenging items or items with difficult histories. The LPC prepares a dossier on each item, and some items, like historic districts, can contain hundreds of individual structures. It can take many months to negotiate a district's boundaries, and time to do quality research. The new law, critics say, puts negative pressure on these activities. “In many instances these designations required time for the Landmarks Commission to reach out to the widest possible community and perform the in-depth research necessary to properly regulate the area,” the HDC said in a statement. “In other cases, external schedules such as municipal elections and changes in city administration affected the agency’s ability to expeditiously consider designations. Landmark designation is a permanent change in legal status and there are many examples where allowing the agency extra time to complete its process (if necessary) makes sense in helping to ensure equitable and transparent decision-making.” Then there's the money question.  A landmark can be expensive to maintain: Owners who privilege cost considerations over cultural patrimony could refuse to have their item re-calendared, and the item could lose out on landmark designation. Sometimes the commission works with the owner to secure maintenance funds, but deadline pressure could eliminate this crucial assistance. Except for the paid chair, LPC commissioners are volunteers who meet weekly. The law asks commissioners to do more work in less time with no additional resources. Today, HDC released a somewhat glum statement announcing the new law and thanking members for their efforts in opposing it:
HDC wishes to thank the preservation community for its vigilance in opposing this legislation, and for reaching out to your City Council representatives. It is important to remember that it is only through the efforts of the hundreds of individuals and organizations who raised their voices that the worst part of this bill, the 5-year moratorium on designation (included in the original Intro. 775 bill in 2015), was removed when this bill resurfaced.
 
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See a map of New York City landmarks the LPC designated today

Today the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted to designate eight items as New York City landmarks. The designees—churches, residences, and one lighthouse—were part of Backlog 95, the LPC's initiative to consider 95 items that have been up for designation for years, sometimes decades. The map below shows the location of the city's newest landmarks: The LPC granted landmark status to three Staten Island houses: The George William and Anna Curtis House, St. John's Protestant Episcopal Church Rectory, and the 92 Harrison Street House. The George William and Anna Curtis House was nominated in 1966 and prioritized for backlog clearance in November of last year. The 1859 Italianate-inspired home belonged to a couple active in the abolitionist movement. The Curtis's built their home from Andrew Jackson Downing's pattern books, and George William, one commissioner noted, was in contact with the illustrious Frederick Law Olmsted. The half-timbered Queen Anne–style St. John's Protestant Episcopal Church Rectory from the 1880s, with an almost original historic facade and interiors (although these are not considered for landmarking) was designated. An 1853 Greek Revival home, the 92 Harrison Street House, received the commission's blessings despite the owner's ambivalence and borough president James Oddo's concern about the designation. LPC chair Meenakshi Srinivasan was enthusiastic about the new landmarked homes. "Staten Island is home to many 18th and 19th century homes. We are pleased to bring three of these houses forward. Not only are they architecturally interesting, but the social and cultural history of the occupants adds additional distinction." On the South Shore, the commission designated the Prince's Bay Lighthouse Complexa suite of vernacular 1860s buildings that includes a lighthouse (whose luminous feature was replaced by a statue of the virgin Mary in the 1920s), a keeper's and carriage house. The complex represents the maritime industry that once thrived on Staten Island, commissioners noted. Across the harbor in Manhattan, the LPC voted on two Tribeca properties: 315 Broadway, and Italianate-style "commercial palace" from the 1860s, and 160 Chambers Street, the (Former) Firehouse Engine Company 29. 315 Broadway reflects the neighborhood's history as a dry goods storage mecca, with its handsome marble facade and (partially concealed) cast-iron storefront. 160 Chambers, a Second Empire–style row house that was converted to a firehouse in 1868. Architect Nathaniel D. Bush added two stories and a mansard roof to the three-story row house, which has since been returned to its original residential use. In Harlem, the commission designated two churches, St. Joseph of the Holy Family Roman Catholic Church and St. Paul Roman Catholic Church. The former, an 1860 structure, was praised for the "simplicity and elegance" of its Rundbogenstil (round arch–style) design. The Romanesque Revival St. Paul's church and school, constructed almost 50 years later, sports medieval and classical features on the facades of both buildings.
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75 Rockefeller Plaza to get dose of green courtesy KPF

With the Landmarks Preservation Commission's (LPC) blessing, a building near Rockefeller Center is set to get green. On Tuesday, the LPC approved a verdant rooftop terrace addition to 75 Rockefeller Plaza, an early modernist building designed by Robert Carson and Earl Lundin in 1941 that sits on the north end of the plaza, between West 51st and West 52nd streets. Completed six years later, the 424-foot, 33-story building was originally part of Rockefeller Center, and was declared an individual landmark in 1985 when Rockefeller Center received its designation. New York–based Kohn Pederson Fox (KPF) and preservation consultants Higgins Quasebarth & Partners are revamping an extension on the tenth floor. The move gives the building more interior space as well as outdoor areas on the ninth floor roof. The proposal also includes an extension of the 11th floor that would create a terrace on the floor above. The designs reflect the commission's goal of keeping the terrace and garden from marring the historic viewshed. In the proposal, the architects emphasized the discreet qualities of their design from street level: The only new addition to the visible landscape is a new, laminated glass guardrail that encircles the terraces' perimeters. The commission approved this plan and Herzog & de Meuron's Upper East Side megamansion for a Russian billionaire with an entrancing backyard in the same session. Although 75 Rockefeller Plaza is a private office building, workers in nearby towers will be able to get a dose of greenery-by-proxy from their cubicle windows.
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LPC approves Herzog & de Meuron's revamped UES megahome for Russian billionaire

Today the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approved Herzog & de Meuron's plans to remake two Queen Anne–style townhomes and one neo-Federal-style home on the Upper East Side into a megahome for a Russian billionaire. The homes, on East 75th Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues, were originally designed by William E. Mowbray and built in 1887-89. One of the houses was redesigned in the Federal style in the early 1920s. For this renovation, New York–based Stephen Wang & Associates is the architect of record. The structures fall within the Upper East Side Historic District, and now belong to Roman Abramovich (estimated net worth: $8.1 billion), a sobering reminder that New York real estate is officially off-market for mere thousandaires. In April, the LPC had a mixed response to the architects' plans. Many members were unhappy with plans to convert neo-Federal rowhouse (number 11) into a Queen Anne–style home to match its neighbors, as the historic district recognizes both styles as historically significant. Today, the modified design responded to the LPC's feedback: The neo-Federal rowhouse keeps the style of its current facade (now boarded up thanks to uncompleted renovations by a previous owner), with minor alterations.     The whole suite of plans call for the replacement of the front facade of 11 East 75th Street, an excavation of the yards and cellar, the creation of totally new glass-fronted facade on the back of all three homes, a new rambling verdant wall, rooftop additions, and the removal of party walls. Herzog & de Meuron associate Olga Bolshanina noted that the structures themselves have been altered many times over the years, but that the firm's design "keeps the buildings looking like three separate buildings." A wrought-iron fence unifies the sunken front yards, and a gossamery metal main door at number 13 provided a touch that one LPC member described affectionately as "creative, in a discreet, limited way." The rear facade of the three buildings will be replaced by a wall of glass and bronze. Partner Wim Walschap described the updated design as "more or less the same, with a better relation between the garden and facade." Additions, like the large boulders flanking the pool, reference nearby Central Park. Commissioner Michael Goldblum offered kudos: "[the rear yard] is kinda cute, with the rock." The commission praised the revised designs almost uniformly. Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan called Herzog & de Meuron's design "incredibly responsive to what the commission was looking for. The approach is pro-preservation and restorative. The project has done what we were seeking."
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Is this the end of New York City's landmarks approval process as we know it?

One downtown preservation group claims that New York has reached the "end of the landmarks approval process" with one crucial decision this week. At Tuesday's Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), the commission voted 8–2 to approve a building plan on Gansevoort Street between Greenwich and Washington streets. Some neighborhood activists, though, are not happy about the plan. In a 94-page document submitted to the LPC in advance of Tuesday's public meeting, the developers, William Gottlieb Real Estate and Aurora Capital, presented designs prepared by New York–based BKSK to modify 60-68 Gansevoort and 70-74 Gansevoort, two market buildings that date from the late 19th century (but have been modified substantially over time) and are some of the last vestiges of this type of commercial architecture in New York. The buildings fall within the Gansevoort Market Historic District, which was established in 2003. Plans call for the restoration and preservation of buildings at 46-48 and 52-58 Gansevoort Street, as well as restoring the existing facade and expanding the second floor at 50 Gansevoort. Three stories will be added to an existing two at 60-68, and 70-74 Gansevoort will host four-story (62 feet) and six story (around 83 feet) buildings, respectively. 70-74 is a "loft-style" building that, the architect's plans suggest, conform to the typology of surrounding lofts and warehouses, but not 46-48 and 50-58. These plans were modified per suggestions from the LPC in February 2016, although the developers disregarded suggestions to lower the height of 60-68 and 70-74 to conform fully with their more diminutive neighbors. The advocacy organization Save Gansevoort believes that the LPC's green light spites the historic district, whose historic value rests on the row of intact market buildings. In a statement, Save Gansevoort noted that the group is “deeply disappointed in the Landmark Preservation Commission's decision today to accept this massive building plan, disregarding the Gansevoort Market Historic District's designation report and more than 75 years of history. The Commission's ruling will not only destroy the last intact block of one-and two-story, market-style structures in Manhattan, but it is also the latest sign that unrestricted development is killing the unique character of so many of our city's most beautiful neighborhoods. In this day and age, it is disconcerting that even our landmarked areas are no longer protected." The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) decried the lack of opportunity for public testimony at Tuesday's meeting in an email to supporters. In a letter to LPC commissioner Meenakshi Srinivasan submitted in advance of the hearing, Andrew Berman, executive director of GVSHP, noted that the row of buildings, even with alterations in 1916, were 50 to 55 feet in height, including cornices. Although the developers backed away from new construction that included a 120-foot-tall building at 70-74, the group claims that plans for 70-74, and approved plans for a 62-foot-tall 60-68 Gansevoort Street, don't mesh with historic neighboring buildings, whose heights averaged 56.5 feet. 70-74 is modeled on a "warehouse," not "loft," with an attendant height difference: 70-74 will be taller than any loft in the neighborhood and 25 to 40 feet taller than the average building in the historic district, said GVSHP. Overall, preservationists believe this week has not been kind to the historic built environment. The day after the Gansevoort decision, the city council adopted Intro 775A, 38–10. The controversial bill was designed to expedite the LPC's landmarks approval process by imposing deadlines on consideration of items. If a property is not voted on within one year (or a district in two), it is removed from consideration. While the law provides more flexibility within one and two-year deadlines for designation, and a possible one-year extension for individual landmarks under consideration, it removes the 5-year moratorium on landmarks and districts that were nominated but not voted on by the LPC. Among other concerns, groups like GVSHP fear that Intro 775A will encourage developers to try to "run out the clock" so properties are not landmarked. In an email to supporters, the Historic Districts Council called Intro 775A "unnecessary," noting that "[no] one likes a backlog but internal LPC rules would have been the preferred route towards a more accountable designation process." There are potential loopholes, however. The LPC thinks it can de-calendar and de-calendar an item before the deadline hits, ad infinitum, to avoid the moratorium and give items more time for consideration.
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Maya Lin seeks design approval for a 20,000-square-foot mansion in Tribeca

A five-story, 20,000-square-foot mansion designed by Maya Lin and others would rise on a prominent corner in Tribeca, if New York’s Landmarks Preservation Commission approves the project. Lin, the founder of Maya Lin Studio, and collaborator William Bialosky of Bialosky + Partners Architects, are expected to meet with the preservation commission this month as part of their application for construction approval. The mansion would rise at 11 Hubert Street, at Collister Street, in Tribeca. The property is currently occupied by a three story building that dates from the 1980s, with commercial space at ground level and apartments above. A six story warehouse occupied the site before World War II. According to materials presented to the preservation commission and community representatives, Lin and Bialosky propose to add two stories to the existing building and fill in a void above the first level on the Hubert Street side. The resulting residence would rise about 70 feet, matching the height of the adjacent building on Hubert. The exterior would be clad in brick, stone, coated stainless steel, perforated metal, and both clear and fritted glass. The design has been likened to a building within a building, in that it has the scale of the warehouse building that was on the site but its window proportions recall residential buildings of a smaller scale. According to the design team’s submittal, “the articulation of windows with metal frames creates a layering and detailing that refers back to masonry and cast iron buildings” in the area, and the scale “preserves the proportional relationships with the neighboring historic buildings.” The designers also note that “there is precedent for contemporary buildings in historic districts” and show examples of midblock and corner buildings in SoHo, the West Village, Tribeca, and the Upper East Side. They also show an example of a corner building with a glass façade in a historic district. According to the Tribeca Trib Online, the mansion’s estimated cost is $15 million to $16 million and plans call for five bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, a dog room, separate prep and catering kitchens, a wine closet, two bars, a screening room, his and her studies, a landscaped courtyard, a 5,000 square foot sports and fitness center in the basement, a garage, and a rooftop garden with solar panels. The building’s client has not been identified. Also according to the Tribeca Trib, the design received approval in May from the Tribeca Committee of Community Board 1, which is advisory to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The LPC meeting is scheduled for June 21.
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Public preview to precede auction of Four Seasons restaurant furniture and decor

Today new details were announced on the fate of iconic The Four Seasons Restaurant's interior, including the auction house and certain pieces that will be sold. The Four Seasons was opened in 1959 and is located within the Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson-designed Seagram Building. Mies and Johnson also designed the restaurant's interior, which was designated an interior landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.  While the restaurant has been a staple of New York City's high-end social scene, the building's owner—Aby Rosen and his company, RFR Holding—last summer announced they would not renew The Four Season's lease. The restaurant, which is separately owned by Julian Niccolini and Alex von Bidder, will close at its current location on July 16 and move to a location nearby. While it's been known that Niccolini and von Bidder would sell off the restaurant's original furniture and decor, it was announced today that the auction house Wright would be conducting the auction on July 26. "The auction will be live on-site, and open to the public," said a public relations agency representing Wright. "From July 20-26, there will be a public preview at The Four Seasons Restaurant." The furniture includes designs by Mies and, according to the New York Times, "Garth and Ada Louise Huxtable...designed the table settings and some of the furniture" as well. The press representative informed us the sale will include:
  • The Grill Room’s banquettes
  • All furniture including the original suite of Barcelona seating from the travertine lobby
  • Custom Tulip tables with polished bronze tops
  • Groups of custom Brno chairs
  • Tableware
  • Objects such as custom wine coolers, planters, serving carts, and bespoke pots and pans
A full list of the lots, along with images of them, are not yet available.
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In latest push to clear backlog, NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission designates nine new landmarks

Tasked with clearing its 95-item backlog, New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) is moving swiftly to shape the future of historic structures in the Big Apple by clearing its docket. On Tuesday, the LPC voted to designate nine items—eight individual structures and one historic district—as New York City Landmarks.
Perhaps the most recognizable item on the list was the Pepsi Cola Sign, which has graced the shores of Long Island City, Queens, since 1936. The sign is not a typical landmark. It's an ad for a beverage conglomerate, albeit a charming, retro ad. A debate arose around the nuances of the designation at a meeting in February to present evidence in favor of preservation. Supporters' eyes ping-ponged anxiously as LPC members brought up possible obstacles objections: Would designation cover the metal scaffolding that the bottle and logo are attached to, or would designation encompass just the signs' iconic appendages, leaving a loophole to alter the sign's arrangement?
The LPC decided to landmark the Pepsi sign, noting in its recommendation that the sign was preserved once before, as the factory it flanked was sold in 1999. The LPC's decision recognizes the city's manufacturing heritage, and preserves the spirit of place that's otherwise the face of bland waterfront luxury condo development. The grassroots Historic Districts Council (HDC) recommends that the LPC "investigate additional preservation protections, such as an easement or some other form of legal contract to help ensure this landmark’s continued presence."
In all, there were ten items recommended for designation, including two whose eclecticism and allure rival the Pepsi sign (the commission delayed a vote on Immaculate Conception Church in the South Bronx.). One residence is a Gravesend landmark: The Lady Moody-Van Sicklen House, a stone, 18th-century Dutch-American-style farmhouse, is a rare survivor from Brooklyn's agrarian past. Local lore holds that the house belonged to Lady Deborah Moody, one of the area's first European women landowners.
New Yorkers thrilled by the Neoclassical flourishes of the Fifth Avenue facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art will be delighted by the LPC's recognition of the Vanderbilt Mausoleum, a diminutive-by-comparison and little-known work by the same architect. École des Beaux Arts–trained Richard Morris Hunt designed the Romanesque Revival final resting place for the titans of industry, located in Staten Island's Frederick Law Olmsted–designed Moravian Cemetery. The Vanderbilts were so impressed by the meeting of minds that they hired Hunt and Olmstead to collaborate on the clan's low-key country house in North Carolina.
With that memento mori, the LPC voted to designate a few 19th-century structures within Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery. Although the entire cemetery, a National Historic Landmark, was up for local designation, even ardent preservationists advocated against the designation, noting that landmark status could place onerous restrictions on the 478-acre cemetery's operations: The plots, headstones, and mausoleums are owned by individuals, with 1,200 new "permanent residents" added annually, potentially complicating the regulation process.
The largest rural cemetery in the U.S., Green-Wood was designed by David Bates Douglass under the guiding landscape principles of Andrew Jackson Downing. The Gothic Revival entrance on Fifth Avenue, designed by Richard Upjohn and home to a vigorous parakeet colony, was declared an Individual Landmark in 1966. A chapel in the same style by Warren & Wetmore (the same firm behind Grand Central Terminal) received designation this time around, as did the Gatehouse and Gatehouse Cottage at the Fort Hamilton Parkway entrance.
For more information and updates on the extension of a Park Slope historic district, St. Augustine’s Church and Rectory, New England on City Island, and other newly-landmarked items, check out the LPC's website.