768 5th Avenue Plaza Hotel, application for alterations to the exterior façade
WHEREAS, The Plaza Hotel, 768 Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, is a 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, built in 1921; and
WHEREAS, According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation it is considered "the greatest hotel in the world" and it is an individual New York City Landmark and is listed 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 owner of the hotel and the owner of one of the residential penthouse condominium units have filed an Application to NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission for a Certificate of Appropriateness for proposed alterations to the exterior of the Hotel at the Penthouse level of the north façade, which will be reviewed by the full commission at a Public Hearing May 3, 2011; and
WHEREAS, The proposed alterations involve the following changes to the building's Penthouse level:
1. Penthouse level retractable awnings: Although, according to historic photos, there were never awnings at the Penthouse level, the Applicant proposes to install retractable awnings with dark green fabric, which would be in an unopened position much of the time (Note: Historic photos show that there were awnings at a lower level of the Hotel that were vertically striped white and a dark color and that a skirt on the marquee in 1937 was vertically striped green and white, but such awnings at the Penthouse level would draw attention more than the proposed solid dark green which would blend into the facade); and
2. Proposed railing replacement and windows at Penthouse level: Applicant proposes to replace four sections of the steel railing on the terrace with tempered glass (Note: Two sections of the steel railing have already been replaced with glass at an adjacent condominium unit. Applicant wants to replace the remaining four sections of aluminum with glass to unify the six sections of terrace railings and has already received approval by an LPC certificate of no effect. Windows along the terrace would be lengthened by three feet, by removing the knee wall which would add more light and give better views from the apartment. However, the lowest part of the glass would not be visible since it will be concealed by a concrete parapet wall); and
3. Replacement of sloped aluminum panels with windows: Applicant proposes to replace existing upward sloping aluminum panel sections with glass panels with bronze mullions (Note: At an adjacent residential unit two solid aluminum panels have already been replaced with glass and Applicant wants to replace remaining four panels with glass). This change would provide harmony for all six panels; and
WHEREAS, Although most of the changes and alterations to the Penthouse level will not be visible from the street or Central Park, the additional glass may be the source of some "glare" or reflection of sunlight at a distance from the Hotel. CB 5 considers such glare or reflections not significant enough in scope and effect to deny the Application; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the Application for a Certificate of Appropriateness for proposed alterations at the north facade of the Penthouse level of The Plaza Hotel, 768 Fifth Avenue and 59th Street.
The above resolution passed by a vote of 35 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining: and 1 Present but Not Entitled to Vote.