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350 Fifth Avenue (Empire State Building), Application for work to install a new Elevator Dispatch System in the designated interior lobby.

WHEREAS, The Empire State Building, 350 Fifth Avenue,  is an individual New York City Landmark, famous throughout the world, with a Designated interior lobby; and

WHEREAS, This Art Deco style office building lobby was designed by Shreve, Lamb and Harmon and built in l930 -193l, with the lobby walls, floors, and ceiling all "Protected" surfaces; and

WHEREAS, The owners of the building are requesting approval of  an Elevator Dispatch System  (EDS)  for its 58 passenger elevators to expedite passenger travel by creating systematized, coordinated elevator pick-up and shorter travel time, grouping passengers by common, contiguous and floor destinations, with the following objectives:

                        1. reducing the number of stops per trip;

                        2. allowing for overall increased system efficiency;

                        3. energy efficiency; and

WHEREAS, The EDS, developed in conjunction with an extensive study by Otis Elevator Company,  involves the use of a lobby touch screen key pad mounted on free-standing, custom-made steel stanchions to be placed  at a minimum of 29 different locations, within their corresponding elevator banks, throughout the lobby; and

WHEREAS, The EDS differs from the existing elevator system by assigning the passengers a specific elevator, not just the next available one; and

WHEREAS, This will mean that the passengers will be assigned to the most appropriate car for their destination, reducing the number of stops per trip, decreased elevator travel time, instant car designation via the touch screen, reduced waiting time and improved lobby flow; and

WHEREAS, The new system has been designed by Beyer Binder Belle, Architects and Planners, to minimize the impact on the historic Landmark interior space including materials and surfaces such as marble walls and pavers, all the changes designed to be compatible with the existing lobby design and materials, and reversible if future technology justifies reversal of the proposed lobby modifications; and

WHEREAS, The stanchions will be 4 ft. 6 in. high, 3 in. wide and 5 in. deep, designed  for  persons with disabilities to easily access the touch screens,  plus other security and safety elements; and

WHEREAS, The screens will contain no advertising; and

WHEREAS, The stanchions require the removal of, and replacement of black Belgian Block marble pavers of similar design and appearance; and

WHEREAS, The existing elevator push buttons will be eliminated and the areas where they were located will be covered with stainless steel wall plates; and 

WHEREAS, The design goal of the installation is to have a minimal presence in the lobby and to respect the historic fabric and preservation of the lobby's appearance with the intention to make this building more competitive with other newer, major office buildings, at the same time reducing energy consumption and costs; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the application for work to install a new Elevator Dispatch System in the designated interior lobby at 350 Fifth Avenue (Empire State Building).

The above resolution passed by a vote of 22 in favor; 12 opposed; 1 abstaining.

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