135 East 71st Street
Sylvan & Robert Bien
Upper East Side Historic District
An apartment building built in 1959. Application is to modify the building's base, replace storefront infill, establish a Master Plan for the installation of signage, and modify a Master Plan for the replacement of windows.
CB8 Hearing: 10/19/20 (approved)
LPC Hearing: 11/10/20 (approved with modifications)
We would like to commend the applicant for the thorough historic research and thoughtful approach to the restoration of this building. FRIENDS’ Preservation Committee does not oppose the gray recladding, especially since it is shown in the 1950s rendering of the design. We do not object to the replacement of the office entry door, the change of color of entry-floor windows on 71st Street, nor the lowering of the planter at the corner of 71st Street and Lexington Avenue, a change that is more welcoming to pedestrians. Additionally, we believe the new lighting sconce is an improvement, and more suited to the building’s design.
While the designation report marks this building as having “No Style” it inarguably displays hallmarks of the midcentury modern style, that strongly contributes to the vitality of Lexington Avenue. FRIENDS appreciates the removal of the non-compliant awnings, however, we are concerned with the extreme uniformity of the proposed storefronts. We believe the proposal might result in a homogenized, bland and boring look along the Avenue, detracting from the liveliness and richness of the streetscape.