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404 Fifth Avenue, application to designate as Landmark

WHEREAS, 404 Fifth Avenue located between 36th and 37th Streets on the west side of Fifth Avenue, was constructed in 1914 by the famous architectural firm of Warren & Wetmore for real estate mogul Robert W.  Goelet and is notable for its highly unusual blue and white terra cotta exterior; and

WHEREAS, The Goelets, who were major New York City property owners second only to the Astor’s, developed the property as a women’s clothing store, Stewart & Company; and

WHEREAS, During this period the area between 34th and 42nd Streets was the most fashionable shopping district in the city – with Stewart & Company joining B. Altman, Tiffany, and Lord & Taylor and  staying until 1928, when it moved uptown to another Warren & Wetmore designed building; and

WHEREAS, Warren & Wetmore’s design combined the openness and modernity of Chicago lofts, with a highly unusual color scheme and decorative vocabulary, with large portions devoted to glazing and the highly unusual blue and white terra cotta, created by the New York Architectural Terra Cotta Company, uses forms that evoke the designs of 18th Century British architects Robert and James Adam and ceramicist Josiah Wedgewood; and

WHEREAS, Adam’s designs had previously been the inspiration for Warren & Wetmore’s Ritz-Carlton hotel; and

WHEREAS, Warren & Wetmore, established in 1898, was a highly successful and prolific firm, best known for its hotels and buildings commissioned by railroad companies, among them the Vanderbilt Hotel with its beautiful Della Robbia Bar using colorful glazed tiles and terra cotta; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five recommends that 404 Fifth Avenue, the Stewart & Company Building, be designated a New York City landmark because of its extraordinary and historic architecture and design, and its renowned place in the history of New York City’s architecture.

The above resolution passed with a vote of 32 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstention.

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