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301 Park Avenue (Waldorf Astoria) - Application to install a marquee, alter the motor court and facade improvements

WHEREAS, 301 Park Avenue, The Waldorf Astoria Hotel, an Art Deco style skyscraper, designed by Schultze & Weaver and built in 1931, has been an individual NYC Landmark since 1993; and

WHEREAS, An Application from its owner, Hilton Hotels, has been filed with LPC 

1. to install a new marquee, 

2. alter the motor court and 

3. make street level facade improvements; and

WHEREAS, Although the original building did not have any canopies, awnings or marquees, the Waldorf, like most other prominent hotels, has had various sidewalk coverings over its entrance doors over the years; and

WHEREAS, At the time of designation the hotel had canopies at its entrances including one at this location; and

WHEREAS, The Waldorf is seeking approval for a new frosted glass and structural steel tubing marquee, with the steel clad in nickel silver, in three sections relating to the three Park Avenue entrance portals, all in one continuous form with glass connecting the three sections; and

WHEREAS, The new canopy is similar to another marquee also containing large areas of glass, approved by CB5 and LPC, for Carnegie Hall which enhanced the visibility of that  Landmark building from the street, as this marquee is similarly designed to do for the Waldorf; and

WHEREAS, The new marquee will use the four existing tieback or anchor rods and two more matching rods (removable) will be installed into the Indiana Limestone facade, for symmetry purposes; and

WHEREAS, The design of the new marquee is not intended to mimic the Art Deco building design, however it is deemed to be harmonious with the building's appearance and could be removed, in the future if necessary, with no serious damage to the building, requiring only minor cosmetic patching; and

WHEREAS, The through-block motor court from East 49th to East 50th Streets is not specifically described in the LPC Designation Report, it is in need of upgrading  both functionally and visually and the Application includes extensive alterations and improvements; and

WHEREAS, The Application will also cover street level storefront and facade improvements, restoration and upgrades relating to storefronts, grills, storage rooms, dumpster areas, etc. on both East 49th and East 50th Streets; and

WHEREAS, The Applicant has had its Security Department review all the proposed changes for compliance with security requirements for heads of state and other high level risks posed by visitors to the hotel; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the Application by Hilton Hotels for 301 Park Avenue, the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, to install a new marquee, alter the motor court and other facade improvements.

The above resolution passed by a vote of 35 in favor; 1 opposed; 1 abstaining.

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