By Carter B. Horsley
the grandest buildings
in the Flatiron District is 141 Fifth Avenue, the southern portion
of the building was erected in 1897 and designed by Robert Maynicke
and the building was extended to the north in 1900 by architect
Henry Edwards Ficken.
the top ten floors
of the 12-story building, which is distinguished by its fine dome
cupola and its curved corner, were converted to use as residential
ornate and handsome
building, which also has the address of 2 to 8 East 21st Street,
had been acquired in 2005 by SL Green and Savanna Partners for
about $60 million.
owns the lower two
commercial floors and Savanna Partners was the sponsor of the
residential condominium conversion into 38 apartments. Cetra/Ruddy
was the architectural firm involved with the residential conversion.
exposed rooftop watertank
was removed in the conversion which included a rooftop addition
to provide recreation space for the residences. The actions were
approved by the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission.
members of the commission
applauded the proposed plans. Roberta Brandes Gratz described
the structure as one of the "iconic" buildings of the
Flatiron district. A spokesman for the developer indicated that
plans for the restoration of the two-story base of the building
were contingent on the expiration of existing commercial leases.
was modified somewhat
in the 1950s and Savanna's architect indicated that original capitals
to the stone pilasters could be replicated.
Taylor of The Drive to
Protect the Ladies' Mile testified that "Much as we admire
the applicant's largely successful efforts to restrict the visibility
from the public way of the proposed roof additions and to make
judicious alterations to the building's two-story base, we think
that more should be done to comply with the provisions of the
Zoning Resolution that call for a program of continuing maintenance
that results from the preservation of the building the full restoration
of its fašade to justify approval of the conversion of
this glorious Beaux-Arts store-and-loft structure to largely
some of that 'full
restoration' is accounted for magnificently on the dome and in
the replicated fifth-floor corner balcony, we are especially
plans for the ground floor do not include the return of the great
rounded corner-bay window so prominent in early photos of the
building. This was the era when the perfection of plate glass
made possible these vast windows for mercantile display, and they
were a hallmark of the Ladies' Mile shopping experience. So, too,
was another hallmark of the Ladies' Mile, on its skyline - the
ubiquitous water tank, a Manhattan icon now fast disappearing.
We do not condone its removal in this application."
building has a rounded
corner and an arched entrance beneath a large circular window.
The white-brick building has elaborate terracotta decoration.
It has banded columns on the 7th and 8th floors and the 8th floor
has large circular windows and the 10th floor has arched windows.
building is close to the
Flatiron Building and Madison Square Park and is convenient to
the Gramercy Park, Union Square and Chelsea neighborhoods.
1849 to 1890, the site
was occupied by the South Dutch Reformed Church.
Maynicke was born in
Germany in 1848 and studied at Cooper Union and by 1872-3 was
employed by George B. Post where he supervised work on early elevator
buildings including the Mills Hotel, the Produce Exchange, the
Cotton Exchange, and the Equitable, Havemeyer and Pulitzer Buildings,
now all demolished.
to a report prepared
by Donald Presa of the research department of the New York City
Landmarks Preservation Commission, Mr. Maynicke "oversaw
the construction of the firm's New York Times Building (1883-89,
41 Park Row, a designated New York City Landmark)." Mr. Maynicke
left the Post firm in 1895 to form a partnership with Julius Franke
and their new firm would design over 100 large commercial buildings
including many stores, lofts and office buildings within what
are now the Ladies Mile, TriBeCa and NoHo historic districts and
the buildings were mostly in the Renaissance and Classical Revival
the conversion, its
corner was draped with a large and attractive trompe-l'oeil image
of the actual building's corner that was createde by 7th Art,
a marketing agency specializing in ral estate development. Itamar
Cohen, the concern's creative director, told Josh Barbanel of
The New York Times that one of the motivations for the image was
perhaps to "create a model for developers citywide who are
facing a crackdown by the Department of Buildings over advertising
at construction sites," according to an article by Mr. Barbanel
January 27, 2007. One Internet surfer remarked at the time of
its installation that "this kind of thing has been done in
Europe for years," adding that "back in the 90s, the
Madeline in Paris was covered in scaffolding and the fabric that
sheathed the scaffolding had an artist's rendition of the building.
It created a weird, wonderful effect!" Another surfer remarked
that "Michael Graves designed a similar sheathing for the
Washington Monument when it was being restored…."
apartments at 141 Fifth
Avenue have ceilings higher than 10 feet and wide plank solid
walnut flooring. Kitchens have Pietra Cucina stone countertops
with glass tile backsplashes and walnut breakfast islands or peninsulas
with carved legs, bookshelves and Calacatta Gold marble countertop,
Subzero glass-front refrigerators, Wolf ranges, Miele dishwashers
and GE Monogram wine coolers.
November 25, 2007 article
by Josh Barbanel in The New York Times noted that
in this building was the most recent to have been converted to
residential uses. He noted that at the time it was on the market
for $12 million and that the apartment had 3,200 square feet of
space as well as three terraces with a total of 780 square feet
of outdoor space. The cupola, he wrote, has two rows of windows
and is about 20 feet in diameter.