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4 East 54th Street, application for exterior alterations

WHEREAS, The building located at 4 East 54th Street is a town house built in 1898-1900, designed by McKim, Mead & White for William Earl Dodge Stokes, his son and his wife, Rita Hernandez de Alba de Costa, and other residents of the property include William H. & Ada S. Moore; and

WHEREAS, The Italian Renaissance style townhouse was designated as an individual landmark by LPC in 1967; and

WHEREAS, The townhouse has housed several non-profit organizations from 1955 until 1993; and

WHEREAS, The building was purchased by Banco di Napoli in 1993, and in 2002 was purchased by Kiton clothing company and now serves as their wholesale and retail operation in North America; and

WHEREAS, The applicant wants to make several exterior modifications to the building to define their retail presence on the block; and

WHEREAS, The applicant wants to restore two limestone piers to the center of the entry fence, that had been knocked down by a truck in the 1970’s, and relocate the original lanterns back to the tops of these center posts from their current location on the outlying piers; and

WHEREAS, The granite curbs of this entry fence would be filled in to complete the structure; and

WHEREAS, The applicant wants to install four bollards on the sidewalk in front of the building (provided appropriate permits and reports from other city agencies are obtained) to prevent any future damage to the building; and

WHEREAS, The applicant wants to create an exterior lighting plan that includes retrofitting the four lights that currently exist on the ground floor just inside the entry fence to illuminate the deep stoop; and

WHEREAS, Four up-lights would be introduced on the second floor balcony and be installed behind the existing limestone balustrade making them invisible from street level; and

WHEREAS, Two up-lights would be introduced on the third floor balcony, placed up against the grating for minimal visibility; and

WHEREAS, Red, pendant, retractable awnings, without skirts, would be installed on all 12 front façade windows, from the second to the fifth floors, and these awnings would be attached to the current wood window frames and would be in line with the mid-level sash and the mechanisms painted to match the black window frames; and

WHEREAS, Only the awnings over the second floor windows would have the Kiton logo on them and all the rest will be plain; and

WHEREAS, The applicant would be removing the logo plaque placed between the two east windows and retrofitting said windows; and

WHEREAS, The applicant is seeking to legalize the two windows on either side of the front door that they enlarged without LPC permit in 2003 and to legalize the two windows on the east side of the building that were added without LPC permit in 2003; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five is strongly opposed to legalizing work done without a permit, and some members of the Board even suggested to return the windows to their original state; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five recommends denial of the application for a Certificate of Appropriateness to make modifications the exterior of the building; and be it further

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five recommends denial for the legalization of the modifications done without a LPC permit.

The above resolution passed with a vote of  20 in favor, 9 opposed, 1 abstention.   

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