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744 5th Avenue - Application to establish a Master Plan for future temporary installations, and modifications to the storefront and signage.

At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five meeting on Thursday, September 09, 2021, the following resolution passed with a vote of 33 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, 744 5th Avenue (“Applicant”) is also known as Bergdorf Goodman building, designed by Ely Jacques Kahn in a modern classical style and was built in 1927; and

WHEREAS, The building is significant for its historic association with Bergdorf Goodman, which continues to occupy the building today except for the southeast corner where Van Cleef occupies the storefront, was designated an individual Landmark in 2016; and

WHEREAS, Applicant proposes to 1) make modifications to the storefront including relocating the signage and also installing a stone veneer at the bottom of the storefront windows; and 2) establish a Master Plan for future temporary installations; and

WHEREAS, Signage has changed over time and seen in different locations and configurations, including in 2012 positioned over the windows and the proposal is to install signage in that same location; and

WHEREAS, Applicant will be working with the signage contractor to utilize as many of the existing penetrations as possible; and

WHEREAS, Proposed signage is reduced in size to 13 ½ inches tall from 17 inches tall and a little over 14 feet; and

WHEREAS, On 57th street where the existing letters are also 17 inches tall are being replaced with the 13 ½ in tall letters to match for that new at the scene level; and

WHEREAS, The approach requires minimal intervention and will not impact any historic fabric or the storefront-framing and it leaves room for future removal and installation of new glazing without any additional alteration to the surrounding architecture; and

WHEREAS, Alterations are in keeping with the existing storefront and signage at the Bergdorf building in requiring minimal impact to the building and furthermore, the lower signage level allows the historic decorative carved stone, which is the only remaining historic piece, to read as the more dominant feature; and

WHEREAS, The second proposal is a Master Plan governing future temporary installations at the store front level. The Applicant has worked with the staff of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) as per existing rules to have two temporary art installations approved recently last fall and spring; and

WHEREAS, Motivation for these installations is in part due to the impact from COVID as an effort to drive interest in the store as well as to highlight artist design; and

WHEREAS, As these two installations were received positively by the public, Van Cleef is planning for another installation later this fall, which triggers the need for a master plan; and

WHEREAS, The area included in the master plan is the Van Cleef storefront at the corner as well as their multi light windows at the second floor; and

WHEREAS, The Applicant worked with LPC to define some of the parameters to include primarily the time frame and frequency, setting it at a maximum of three months in place, with LPC discretion for longer and at least two months between any two installation; and

WHEREAS, All framing will be removed between installations and will not remain in place permanently; and

WHEREAS, These temporary displays, whether art installations, or decorative, are part of a tradition and history to enliven the public space, especially along Fifth Avenue; and

WHEREAS, Applicant is proposing a very elegant and delicate approach to such installations with no new penetration, no new elements that can disturb the façade; therefore, be it 

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval for the proposed 1) modifications to the storefront including relocating the signage and also installing a stone veneer at the bottom of the storefront windows; and 2) establish a Master Plan for future temporary installations.

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