By Jill Colvin
MIDTOWN — The modernist interior of the former Manufacturers Trust Bank building, whose giant stainless steel vault is still visible from the street, was named the city's newest landmark Tuesday.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously to grant the status to the first- and second-floor interiors of the four-story glass and aluminum building at West 43rd Street and Fifth Avenue in Midtown. The building's exterior was already designated a landmark back in 2007.
In addition to its design, the building's first floor features a 30-ton, 7- foot-wide circular stainless steel vault with 16-inch-thick doors and a unique "I"-shaped hinge that pedestrians can see from the street.
Commission Chairman Robert Tierney said the building's "luminous ceilings," white marble piers and other minimalist features "set a new standard for American bank design" when the building opened in 1954.
"Viewed from the outside, the building is essentially a glass lantern, and, like a lantern, is even more striking by dark than daylight," read an architectural review that appeared in The New Yorker in 1954, the Commission said.
Late last month, the Commission also voted to landmark the 12-story Haskins & Sells Building at 35 W. 39th St. between Fifth and Sixth avenues.
The Renaissance Revival-style building's past tenants include the State and National Association Opposed to Political Suffrage for Women, the Man Suffrage Association Opposed to Political Suffrage for Women and — later — three chapters of the League of Women Voters.