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230 Park Avenue, (the former Helmsley Building and the former New York Central Building), application to install signage changes

WHEREAS, 230 Park Avenue (between East 45th and East 46th Streets), formerly known as the New York Central Building, then known as the New York General Building, more recently known as the Helmsley Building, has been an individual NYC Landmark since its designation March 31, 1987, designed by Warren and Wetmore as part of the complex of buildings surrounding Grand Central Station, also designed by these same architects; and

WHEREAS, Built in 1929 as the luxurious headquarters for the New York Central Railroad, 230 Park Avenue is a 34-story office building strategically straddling Park Avenue at East 46th Street to East 45th Street, offering a premier location as a direct connection to Grand Central Terminal; and

WHEREAS, While it appears that the requested Helmsley signage previously appeared on the building, possibly at the time of designation, the signage has since been returned to the original New York Central signage; and

WHEREAS, As a result of a reported "contractual" obligation to the Helmsley Estate, the current owners have engaged  Beyer Blinder Belle, an architectural firm specializing in historic preservation, to comply with a request to change signage "messages" in three locations to reflect the prior Helmsley ownership:

a)      Two large medallions on the East 46th Street facade which would be changed from a "NYC logo" to an "H' ;

b)      The building name over the front entrance at East 46th Street from "New York Central" to "Helmsley";

c)      The building name over the East 45th Street entry from "New York Central" to "Helmsley"; and

WHEREAS, Despite the worthy efforts in the owner's behalf of Beyer Blinder Belle, to comply with request from the Helmsley Estate, all of these signage message changes are deemed inappropriate both historically and esthetically as well as unnecessary for building identification purposes, since its primary address, "230 Park Avenue",  is how the building is commonly known and referred to; and

WHEREAS, The Helmsley name will remain on the two pedestrian passage ways through the building, Helmsley Walk East and Helmsley Walk West, which adequately memorializes the previous Helmsley ownership, without changing any of the historic building fabric; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends denial of the Application to install signage changes at 230 Park Avenue.

The above resolution passed by a vote of 27 in favor; 4 opposed; 1 abstaining.

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