706 Madison Avenue
Frank Easton Newman
Upper East Side Historic District
A neo‐Federal style bank building designed by Frank Easton Newman and built in 1921; and a commercial and retail building designed by Paige Ayres Cowley and built in 2016. Application is to replace windows, doors, and railings, and install a statue, awnings, signage, and rooftop HVAC equipment.
CB8 Hearing: 07/13/20 (partially approved)
LPC Hearing: 07/21/20 (No Action)
LPC Meeting: 10/27/20
Chair Carroll and Honorable Commissioners,
This latest proposal reinforces the idea that Hermes, currently located at the former Louis Sherry restaurant on Madison Avenue, is seeking to take ownership and leave their mark on iconic buildings on the Upper East Side. Unfortunately, this ownership takes the form of a massive and overbearing cavalier statue, that has no place on top of the neo-Federal bank. While the statue will not damage historic fabric, it will significantly alter the relationship between the structure and the neighborhood. FRIENDS urges the Commission to reconsider this aspect of the proposal.
FRIENDS’ Preservation Committee does not oppose the doors replacement, nor the removal of the small metal railing on Madison Avenue. While we appreciate the fact that the applicant is proposing to maintain the existing marble sign, we cannot support the new sign covering the original. The proposal already includes three signs on the 2016 structure on Madison Avenue, and a total of fourteen awnings showing the store’s logo. An additional sign on the facade of the former Bank of New York is not only excessive, but detrimental to the structure, creating the possibility for water accumulation that could potentially damage the 1922 sign and entrance. Furthermore, we believe that the installation of the awnings on the second floor are not in keeping with the neo-Federal building style.
Additionally, FRIENDS opposes the material replacement of the existing first-floor windows. While we understand the need for increased security and that the existing windows are new and no historic fabric would be lost with the window replacement, we believe that the difference in material, at eye level, would significantly alter how the structure is perceived by the passersby.
Notwithstanding increased visibility of the mechanical equipment on the roof, FRIENDS is not opposed to it, given it will be located on the newest building of the complex. Furthermore, we are not opposed to the installation of the metal railing behind the balustrade. Finally, FRIENDS urges the applicant to maintain the flag pole on the Madison Avenue facade, this feature is seen in every historic photo of the building since its construction, and we cannot support the removal of such iconic historic fabric.