815 Fifth Avenue815 Fifth Avenue
Upper East Side Historic District

A building built in 1870-71 and altered in 1923 by Murgatroyd and Ogden, and
subsequently stripped of ornament at the upper floors. Application is to
demolish most of the building and construct a new building.


CB8 Hearing: 02/11/13 (Disapproved); 03/19/13 (Disapproved)
LPC Hearing: 05/07/13 (No Action); 09/06/13 (No Action); 09/17/13 (Approved)

FRIENDS Testimony: Little historic fabric remains on the Fifth Avenue façade of this non-contributing building, and thus the Preservation Committee at FRIENDS is not opposed to new construction on this site. The proposal responds in some ways to the surrounding apartment buildings on Fifth Avenue, including a similar height and material palette. However, our committee questions design choices in this application, including the bizarre hybrid of old and new materials at the lower levels of the rear façade and the lack of articulation on the front. Furthermore, without a crowning feature at the roof the massive box of penthouse mechanicals is only emphasized. Finally, limestone and large swaths of glass are inappropriate choices for a secondary façade on this residential building.

Overall our committee found that this is a missed opportunity for a building that is of our time or one that more reflects the surrounding Upper East Side Historic District. We urge the Commission to deny this application as presented.