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Request for designation of 33 West 57th Street.

WHEREAS, 33 West 57th Street is a rare surviving 6-story Italianate brownstone, designed by John G. Prague and constructed in 1879-80; and

WHEREAS, The building is constructed of cast stone or limestone with a granite base which has been painted and features molded window surrounds, and concludes in an elaborate modillion ornamental cornice and  a copper clad mansard roof; and

WHEREAS, At the third, fourth and fifth floors, the masonry details are simple, with Federal style window surrounds; and

WHEREAS, In 1918, the building was altered to accommodate a store in the ground floor resulting in the Tudor arched plate glass storefront, designed by J. O’Dell Whitenack; and

WHEREAS, This building is a rare survivor from the initial period of the development of Midtown, when these blocks once had many Italianate residences many of which were refaced in the 1890’s-1900’s with new facades, this one with simple details is in good condition; and

WHEREAS, At one time the ground floor was a retail piano sales floor for Hardman Peck Piano Co. and had offices on the top floor; and

WHEREAS, The noted Hammer Galleries, founded by Armand Hammer in 1928 and the first to exhibit the famous Faberge Russian Imperial Easter Eggs, moved into the building in 1980; and

WHEREAS, The architect of 33 West 57th Street, John G. Prague, was described by Christopher Gray of the N.Y. Times as “an architect very active in opening up the West Side”; and

WHEREAS, Among the buildings he designed was 32 West 18th Street in 1887-88 in the Ladies’ Mile Historic District, a Queen Anne style rowhouse; 128 West 87th Street in 1887-88, a Queen Anne style rowhouse in the Central Park West Historic District; 23 and 25 East 64th Street, in the Upper East Side Historic District, a neo-Grec style rowhouse in 1879-80; a townhouse at 11 East 61st Street, also in the Upper East Side Historic District; and

WHEREAS, In 1870 he designed a structure at the northwest corner of Columbus Avenue and 86th Street which he also owned; in 1870 “he designed a bold cast iron structure” at 2nd Avenue and First Street, “with a mansard roof, a fad at that time” (demolished in 1959); and he also designed the façade of the famous Russian Tearoom in 1873; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five strongly supports the designation of 33 West 57th Street

The above resolution passed with a vote of 38 in favor, 0 opposed, 0 abstention.  

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