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1790 Broadway, Application for restoration and alterations

At the scheduled monthly meeting of Community Board Five on Thursday, October 10, 2013, the Board passed the following resolution by a vote of 36 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining; 1 present not entitled to vote:

WHEREAS, 1790 Broadway, is a 20 story Beaux-Arts style office building, located at the southeast corner of West 58th Street, which was designed by the prominent architecture firm Carrère and Hastings, and constructed in 1911-12 for the United States Rubber Company; and

WHEREAS, The building has a façade which continues around both Broadway and West 58th Street, clad in delicately-carved Vermont Dorset Marble, crowned by a broad copper cornice, and features a distinctive rounded corner and vertically-grouped windows with metal spandrels and thin continuous piers; and

WHEREAS, United States Rubber Company remained in the building until 1951, and subsequently the first two stories were entirely reconfigured, resulting in cladding them in a glass and polished finish gray granite façade; and

WHEREAS, On December 19, 2000, the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the United States Rubber Company Building at 1790 Broadway as an individual Landmark; and

WHEREAS, The building's current owners have filed an application for a Certificate of Appropriateness seeking permission to perform restoration and alteration work, including restoration of the original masonry, new storefronts, signage and marquees on the first two stories; and

WHEREAS, The first two stories would be reconfigured with arched masonry openings which are inspired by, but would not be an exact duplication of the 1912 façade, and the new façade would be constructed in a high quality cast stone to match the existing marble; and

WHEREAS, The distinctive rounded corner would be replicated and replaced, however, at the first story this would contain a large window following the radial profile, unlike the original which was entirely marble masonry; and

WHEREAS, The Applicant proposes to have a modern metal canopy installed outside a significant area of the first floor masonry openings along Broadway and West 58th Street, and at the rounded corner, containing signage for Nordstrom, the new retail tenant of this building; and

WHEREAS, There would be an additional modern metal canopy installed above the office building entrance on Broadway; and

WHEREAS, The proposed work is based largely upon the 1912 façade, and as there is little to no historical precedent of the usage of canopies on this building, and CB5 considers their usage in this restoration inappropriate; and

WHEREAS, Although CB5 would prefer that the distinctive rounded corner would be replicated entirely of masonry rather than in a combination with glass, the proposed scope of restoration and alteration work is extensive, and although not an entire replication, the other proposed changes would be in the spirit of the design vocabulary and intent of the original building; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends denial of the Application for a Certificate of Appropriateness of the proposed restoration and alteration work to be performed at 1790 Broadway, unless the modern metal canopies are eliminated.

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