34 East 62nd Street
Construction of a new building
Upper East Side Historic District
A vacant lot. Application is to construct a new building.
CB8 Hearing: 06/13/16 (Approved)
LPC Hearing: 06/28/16 (Laid Over); 07/12/16 (Approved w/ Modifications)
The proposed new building at 34 East 62nd Street is handsome and built with high quality materials that relate to the historic materials of other buildings in the district. While the proportions and scale of this building are appropriate for its setting, our Preservation Committee can’t help but feel that this project may be a missed opportunity for a more creative design. FRIENDS has spoken out in the past about ersatz historic facades, and although this building is not an exact copy of a historic building, it closely resembles one and could be seen as a very literal adaptation. This site could be an opportunity to take a more contemporary approach.
Details like the corner quoining and the fenestration on the west elevation are appreciated, as they give some interest to the building’s exposed side without detracting from the facade. The large windows at the second floor take on a modern, Art Nouveau-inspired look, while the mansard roof will relate to the neighboring Links Club. In addition, it is refreshing to see the use of limestone, rather than a veneer.
This is a well-designed building and one that is not obtrusive, but also is not distinguished within the District. FRIENDS feels that the building could reflect more of today’s times. In the past, architects like Edward Durrell Stone, Paul Rudolph, and William Lescaze introduced modern design into the Upper East Side Historic District, and this could be a chance to capture our architectural zeitgeist. In the execution of this building, we hope that it will be easily identified as a new building and will not come across as a faux historic building. In regards to the building’s size and materials, FRIENDS can support this application.