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7 West 54th Street, bet. 5th Ave and Ave of the Americas, application for a new guard rail and gate

WHEREAS, 7 West 54th Street, the Lehman Mansion, is an individual NYC Landmark and is an outstanding example of one of the "Bankers Row" former residences along West 54th Street, across the street facing the Museum of Modern Art; and

WHEREAS, the Mansion, built in 1900, remained in the Lehman family's ownership over the years and Robert Lehman held onto 7 West 54th Street - not to live in, but as a private gallery - until he died in 1969; and

WHEREAS, the current owner, Zimmer Lucas Capital, a hedge fund, occupies the entire property and has maintained it in "museum quality" condition according to Christopher Gray, who wrote in the NY Times June 18, 2006:

Robert Lehman succeeded his father as the head of Lehman Brothers and expanded his art collection, turning it into the reservoir of European masterpieces that now forms the Lehman Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. . In exchange for his collection, Mr. Lehman had dearly wanted the Metropolitan to dismantle and rebuild his entire house at the museum. The Met worked out a compromise in which the rooms were stripped of much of their paneling and other architectural elements, then taken apart and rebuilt in the Lehman Wing, which opened in 1975.  The Met has agreed to deaccession some of the original elements so that they can be reinstalled: stained-glass windows, fireplace surrounds, doors and other items that the museum never had any hopes of using; and

WHEREAS, Zimmer Lucas has invested substantial amounts of money in the preservation of this handsome Beaux Arts property and now seeks to install a new guard rail and gate at the street level to bring the building into compliance with the NYC Building Code for safety and security purposes; and

WHEREAS, the materials to be used and the designs will match other historic building elements; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the Certificate of Appropriateness for new guard rail and gate at 7 West 54th Street.

The above resolution passed by a vote of 33 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining.

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