768 Fifth Avenue and 59th Street (Plaza Hotel).
WHEREAS, The Plaza Hotel is a French Renaissance style "chateau" designed by the famed architect Henry J. Hardenbergh, built in 1905-07 and opened in 1907 with an addition designed by Warren and Wetmore and built in 1921; and
WHEREAS, According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation it is considered "the greatest hotel in the world" and is a New York City landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places; and
WHEREAS, It is one of the most famous and historic hotels in the world, known for its architecture as well as for its history, host to historic events and woven into the fabric of New York's past; and
WHEREAS, The application is to modify doors and windows on the West 59th Street façade, and to modify the designated interior landmark spaces; and
WHEREAS, The façade changes include alterations to the entrance just to the east of the 59th Street lobby entrance, removing stairs and areaway and creating an entrance at grade, the major marquee is retained in place and the entry doors are raised to new entry level; and
WHEREAS, The plan will recreate windows in the original former Ballroom on the third floor at the three arched openings to the west on 59th Street; and
WHEREAS, A site visit was made to the Plaza Hotel to see the changes proposed for interior designated spaces; and
WHEREAS, The below listed interior spaces of the Plaza Hotel, designated landmarks by the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission should not be altered without good reason:
the Edwardian Room,
59th Street Lobby,
Fifth Avenue Lobby,
Corridors and related ante-rooms throughout the Hotel; and
WHEREAS, The proposed interior changes in designated spaces include but are not limited to:
Changes to the designated 5th Avenue Lobby, include converting two crystal display vitrines into doors; restoring a third door on the south wall giving access to the new hotel on 58th Street; creating three doors on the north wall, giving access to a handicapped lift, the Edwardian Room and the escalator also with the removal of two display vitrines; thereby creating six doors in this historic and very beautiful 5th Avenue lobby causing some concern.
Changes to the 59th Street lobby, which will be the condo lobby, include constructing two sets of doors leading from the lobby to the north corridor on either side of the elevator bank, allowing the lobby to be more private for the condo owners; replacing an advertising sign with a Fire Command Panel; adding historic bronze grills to the reception desk; cutting a new door through the marble reception desk (because a stair is being created in non-designated space behind the desk) allowing access to the lobby also caused some concern since this was the original lobby of the Plaza Hotel.
Construction of an escalator leading to below ground retail space will be built outside the Edwardian Room between the 59th Street lobby and the Edwardian Room and will be constructed by removing part of an original marble wall in a designated area; another escalator will be built near the 58th Street side of the hotel- in a non-designated space- to allow for an additional entrance to below ground retail.
A new staircase will be built at the west end of the north corridor using original materials and design and going down to retail space in the cellar and causes no concern to the Board.
Proposed work includes the demolition of a designated marble staircase leading up from the west end of the South Corridor to the Terrace Room and a balcony created to try to maintain a visual connection between the Terrace Room and Corridor, which caused the Board concern.
New Palm Court service doors will be built utilizing the 1921 details, one to the north of doors leading to the Terrace Room the one to the south of the Terrace Room, which will be uncovered and this alteration caused no concern to the Board.
Storefronts on the south side of the north corridor (jewelry store etc.) will be removed and replaced by new walls with details matching the adjacent portions of the corridor and this alteration caused no concern to the Board.
Installation of a new door to the Grand Ballroom, not visible from the Ballroom and accessible from a short run of stairs at the north end of the eastern balcony of the Ballroom and this alteration caused no concern to the Board; and
WHEREAS, Many of the changes to interior designated spaces are made necessary to allow for access to the retail spaces in the Edwardian Room, Terrace Room and lower level; and
WHEREAS, The Community Board Five has serious concerns regarding the installation of six doors in the historic and beautifully designated 5th Avenue lobby and the installation of an escalator through a designated wall; and
WHEREAS, The demolition of a marble staircase leading up to the Terrace Room appears to impact negatively on the interior landmarked space; and
WHEREAS, Community Board Five did not vote on every individual alteration, the Board's concerns are addressed in the above numbered section of this resolution; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That Community Board Five recommends approval of a new staircase built on the west end of the north corridor; installation of new Palm Court doors, removal of storefronts on the south side of the north corridor (jewelry store, etc.); instillation of a new door to the Grand Ballroom; and be it further
The above resolution passed by a vote of 37 in favor, 0 opposed, 3 abstentions.
RESOLVED, That Community Board Five recommends approval of the proposed façade changes to the Plaza Hotel, deeming them not to adversely impact the landmark, and be it further
The above resolution passed by a vote of 37 in favor, 2 opposed, 1 abstention.
RESOLVED, That the Community Board Five recommends approval of the escalator through a designated wall; and be it further
The above resolution passed by a vote of 26 in favor, 12 opposed, 2 abstentions.
RESOLVED, That Community Board Five recommends approval of the proposed installation of the six doors in the 5th Avenue lobby; and be it further
The above resolution passed by a vote of 28 in favor, 8 opposed, 1 abstention.
RESOLVED, That Community Board Five recommends denial of the demolition of an important designated marble staircase in the South Corridor going up to the Terrace Room within the Plaza Hotel.The above resolution passed by a vote of 28 in favor, 11 opposed, 1 abstention.