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20 Union Square East (East 15th Street), Union Square Savings Bank - Application for Approval of two banner signs on main facade

At the scheduled monthly meeting of Community Board Five on Thursday, December 13, 2012, the Board passed the following resolution by a vote of 25 in favor; 11 opposed; 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, 20 Union Square East, originally the Institution for the Savings of Merchants' Clerks, later Union Square Savings Bank, then American Savings Bank, was built in 1905-07 to the designs of Henry Bacon, and was designated an individual NYC Landmark in February 1996; and

WHEREAS, the building's main feature is the classic Corinthian colonnade, including four columns, which was designed by Bacon whose best known work is the Lincoln Memorial; and

WHEREAS, The current tenant in the building, The Daryl Roth Theatre, proposes the addition of promotional signage consisting of two large banners to be hung between the columns on each side of the main entranceway on the portico facing Union Square East; and

WHEREAS, The Applicant has previously placed signage for its theatrical presentations above the portico and on the ramp leading to the front entrance without presenting evidence to CB 5 of LPC Approval; and

WHEREAS, Although the signage banners at other Landmarks (Metropolitan Museum of Art and NY Public Library) were cited as precedents, this building's facade is much smaller than those other Landmarks and, therefore, the impact of the proposed banners would be much more significant; and  

WHEREAS, Although the proposed banners comply with current zoning and would not block the view of the main entrance and the large window above it, nor the function of the portico, they are deemed detrimental to the appearance of the building; and

WHEREAS, The applicant wishes to support the banners with a series of four metal bands on each column (to avoid damaging the stone work) which provides a distracting, unnecessary building element and is not comparable to the cited precedents; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends denial of the proposed two new banner signs at 20 Union Square East.

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