985 Fifth Avenue
Wechsler & Schimenti
Metropolitan Museum Historic District
An apartment building designed by Wechsler & Schimenti and built in 1969-70. Application is to demolish the existing building and construct a new building.
CB8 Hearing: 7/19/23 (Approved)
LPC Hearing: 7/25/23 (Approved with modifications)
While FRIENDS’ Preservation Committee appreciates the careful thought that went into the design of the proposed building, the whimsy of the sculptural façade details and the effort to keep the design contextual, taking inspiration from the classic Fifth Avenue apartment buildings of the 1920s and 1930s, we ultimately cannot support a proposal to tear down a 25-story apartment building that has been standing since 1970. Wechsler and Schimenti’s Modern style apartment buildings may not be considered architecturally significant, but they contribute to the interest and variety of buildings on Manhattan’s avenues and the styles and eras represented thereon.
From an environmental sustainability perspective, we wonder why the existing building cannot be retrofitted to update it to suit contemporary tastes, a strategy that would retain the embodied carbon in the building and minimize emissions from its demolition. And we lament the fact that the new building would have a much smaller number of apartments because a net loss of housing units here would inevitably have a trickle-down effect, squeezing more residents out of the Upper East Side as housing costs rise ever higher.