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Application for a glass skybridge to connect 160 Fifth Avenue and 162 Fifth Avenue, both occupied by The Simons Foundation (Applicant).

At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five meeting on Thursday, December 14, 2023, the following resolution passed with a vote of 24 in favor; 10 opposed; 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, 160 Fifth Avenue, aka the Mohawk Building is a 9-story Offices/Store and Loft building completed in 1891-92 in a neo-Renaissance style and 162 Fifth Avenue is a 12-story Store and Loft building completed in 1903 in Beaux Arts style; and

WHEREAS, Both buildings are located directly across from one another on West 21st Street in the northern center of the Ladies’ Mile Historic District; and

WHEREAS, The Applicant is proposing the construction of a glass skybridge over W 21st Street that would connect both buildings; and

WHEREAS, This application would also be subject to a revocable consent from the Department of City Planning; and

WHEREAS, The skybridge would attach to the facade of 160 Fifth Avenue, at the 21st street facade, approximately 100 feet from Fifth Avenue, at the cornice level and would cause the removal of a portion of the cornice as well as masonry; and

WHEREAS, The skybridge would attach to the facade at 162 Fifth Avenue at the cornice and 11th story level and would cause the removal of a portion of the cornice, two windows, metal work and stone masonry; and

WHEREAS, The skybridge would have a 4% slope to accommodate the floor level difference but would be compliant with ADA; and

WHEREAS, The bottom of the bridge, a slender, lightweight optimized cast structure created by the use of increased computer power would be 135 feet above the roadbed and made of carbon fiber; and

WHEREAS, The bridge would be made of thick glass; and 

WHEREAS, The sides and arched top of the bridge, designed to be a transparent thick glass structure with a feature to ensure bird safety on the glass panels and the roof, is made of three, 63 foot long, ten foot wide triple laminated glass pieces that are anchored to one another and attached to the deck; and

WHEREAS, Non-original materials will not be saved, but all historic masonry and cast metal elements including terracotta, stone and cast metal would be saved, stored, and reapplied if bridge is removed; and

WHEREAS, There are up lights designed with visors to focus the lights only to the underside of the deck and designed to avoid light spillage into the apartment windows to the West nor office windows to the East; and

WHEREAS, All component parts and system parts are built into the deck itself, and the only illumination is a light string set below the walking surface to allow for safe walking; and

WHEREAS, The bridge is designed to support stadium movement; and

WHEREAS, While skybridges exist in Manhattan, none exist in the Ladies’ Mile Historic District and the proposed skybridge would be a striking and contemporary departure from the late 19th century and prewar architectural historic vocabulary of the district; and

WHEREAS, The very contemporary, futuristic element is not contextual with the district, therefore be it,

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five recommends denial of the application for a Certificate of Appropriateness for the bridge between 160 and 162 Fifth Avenue.

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