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1271 Ave of the Americas, application to renovate the lobby area with a new reception desk and turnstiles

WHEREAS, The Time & Life Building located at 1271 Avenue of the Americas in Rockefeller Center is an historically important building, opened in 1959, designed by the architects Harrison, Abramovitz & Harris, and was the first expansion of Rockefeller Center west of the Avenue of the Americas, and is credited with launching the renaissance of this area; and

WHEREAS, The design of the ground floor lobby of The Time & Life Building is notable for its lively decorative character and is considered to be a rare, intact example of mid-century modernism with its mixture of plate glass and marble cladding on the outer walls, elevator core walls wrapped in stainless steel panels, gray and white terrazzo laid in a playful serpentine pattern inspired by the world famous Avenida Altantico sidewalk, in Copacabana (Rio De Janeiro), itself designed by Roberto Burle Marx, abstract works by noted artists Fritz Glarner and Josef Albers; and

WHEREAS, On July 16, 2002 the ground floor lobby of Time & Life Building was designated by New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission as an historic landmark; and

WHEREAS, The applicant is proposing to install a new reception desk and new turnstiles, which are intended to accommodate employees and visitors of Lehman Brothers, the tenant of 35th through 45th floors; and

WHEREAS, The proposed 12'-0" wide X 3'-6" high reception desk would be composed of black granite, to be installed on top of the existing gray granite floor border; and

WHEREAS, Behind the proposed reception desk would be a back painted glass panel, with the tenants logo in stainless steel letters; and

WHEREAS, The applicant proposes to install several security turnstiles and gates at both the north and the south entries to the elevator lobby accessing elevator cabs for floors 35 through 45; and

WHEREAS, Installation of these turnstiles will involve drilling through the terrazzo floor for installation of electrical power lines; and

WHEREAS, There is concern that the terrazzo floor may be damaged, and that such a large desk would obstruct views of the lobby, and that the turnstiles and the desk are elements that will have a negative impact upon this important historic landmark space; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five recommends denial of the application to install the proposed reception desk and turnstiles at the ground floor lobby of The Time & Life Building at 1271 Avenue of the Americas.

The above resolution passed with a vote of 25 in favor, 8 opposed, 2 abstentions.  

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