1009 Fifth Avenue
Welch, Smith & Provot
Upper East Side Historic District
A Beaux Arts style mansion designed by Welch, Smith & Provot and built in 1899-1901. Application is to alter the areaway.
CB8 Hearing: 04/18/16 (Approved)
LPC Hearing: 04/19/16 (Approved with Modifications)
The Preservation Committee at FRIENDS acknowledges the deterioration and structural needs of the areaway at 1009 Fifth Avenue. We appreciate the architect’s proposal to restore and repair as much of the historic material as possible, including the restoration of the historic cast iron guardrail. Yet, the additional fence behind the railing, as required by code, detracts from this historic appearance and original intent of the areaway.
The Benjamin Duke mansion is an individual landmark, part of the historic district, and is directly across the street from the Metropolitan Museum. The building is prominent in its own right, and contributes to one of the most iconic and traversed streetscapes in the city. A utilitarian safety fence such as this would be an unattractive addition. This cast iron guardrail is a distinctive architectural feature of the building, and there must be a better, less-obtrusive solution to meet the requirements. We suggest that the architect look to other buildings and examples of code-required railings to help inform this design. In addition, we ask the Commission to work with the applicant to determine if there are other conservation methods or code solutions that will maintain the prominence of this historic fence.