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120 Madison Ave., w/s between E. 30th and E. 31st Streets (American Academy of Dramatic Arts) - Application for Exterior Renovations to construct an ADA Compliant access ramp at street level of the building

WHEREAS, 120 Madison Avenue (American Academy of Dramatic Arts) is an individually designated NYC Landmark since 1966, designed by the eminent architect Stanford White, with a distinctive Federal Revival façade; and

WHEREAS, The building, opened in 1906, is the former "Colony Club," a private women's club, and since 1963 has been occupied by the American Academy of Dramatic Arts; and

WHEREAS, The Applicant has filed a request with the Landmarks Preservation Commission for a Certificate of Appropriateness for the installation of an ADA Compliant access ramp to a secondary entrance door 30 inches, or five steps, up from the ground; and

WHEREAS, This ADA Compliant access is deemed necessary for students at the school, its employees and attendees at the three theaters housed in the building; and

WHEREAS, After exploring other possible solutions for wheel chair and other access for people with disabilities, including a mechanical lift device to the secondary entrance door, it was determined that the ramp offered the optimal alternative for the following reasons:

1.      An entrance ramp is more permanent than a mechanical device

2.      There would be no waiting (both annoying and awkward)  for the mechanical lift device to be unlocked and operated 

3.      More than one person can use the ramp at the same time

4.      There is no hazard of mechanical malfunction where the lift may become locked in an open position blocking emergency egress

5.      There is minimal risk of vandalism with a ramp as opposed to a mechanical device

6.      The ramp could be used for deliveries and other purposes such as baby carriage access

7.      A mechanical lift is less attractive than a well-designed ramp with a wrought iron railing

8.      Design motifs will be incorporated  in the ramp railing  reminiscent of  the original gate in front of the building that was removed before designation

9.      The ramp will cover over the stone stairs to the secondary entrance which will remain in place and not be demolished;  therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five recommends approval of the Application for Exterior Renovations to construct an ADA Compliant access ramp at street level of 120 Madison Ave., American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

The above resolution passed by a vote of 31 in favor; 1 opposed; 1 abstaining.

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