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455 Madison Avenue, between East 50th and 51st Streets, application to modify the existing design of the courtyard paving.

At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five meeting on Thursday, July 13, 2023, the following resolution passed with a vote of 37 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, Lotte New York Palace, located at 451 – 455 Madison Avenue (the Applicant) and bounded by 50th and 51st streets, was constructed between 1882 and 1884 and designed by famed architects McKim, Mead & White; and

WHEREAS, The property (then known as Henry Villard Houses) was designated as a NYC Landmark in 1968; and

WHEREAS, The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) Designation Report notes that, “nowhere in New York City does there exist another unified group of brownstone residences of such magnitude as this cluster standing on Madison Avenue.  This great complex of Italian Renaissance townhouses is . . .  welded into one U-shaped unit, surrounding a courtyard originally planned as a turn-around for carriages,” and;

WHEREAS, The courtyard has fallen into a state of disrepair and is in the process of restoration; the Applicant proposes to replace the existing pattern of granite paving slabs with a design centered around an 8-pointed star and encircled by granite paving slabs laid out in a geographic design, as shown on Attachment 1 (page 19 from the applicant proposal) and;

WHEREAS, The Applicant proposes to replace/repair the existing sandstone steps from the courtyard to the building in kind with like materials; and

WHEREAS, The courtyard has been modified several times throughout its existence, starting originally as a grass circle surrounded by a driveway, then as a courtyard utilizing smaller pavers in the 1940’s, a Celtic-knot pattern in the 1970’s, and the current pattern installed under a certificate of appropriateness in 2013; and

WHEREAS, The Applicant specifically cites the Piazza del Campidoglio as inspiration for its proposed design; and 

WHEREAS, The Applicant stated that the proposed modifications would have beneficial impacts on both stormwater drainage and accessibility; and

WHEREAS, The Committee considered the proposed design for the courtyard in the context of the entire complex, where it is an independent component of the U-shaped unit, and found the proposed design to be appropriate, thoughtful, respectful, and sensitive, therefore, be it  

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the application to modify the existing design of the courtyard paving at 451 -455 Madison Avenue, between East 50th and 51st Street.

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