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7 Theaters Among Midtown and Hell's Kitchen Sites Up for Landmarking

By Maya Rajamani | February 23, 2016 10:03am
 These seven theaters — along with five other sites in Midtown and Hell's Kitchen — could earn landmark status. 
42nd Street Theaters
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MIDTOWN — A dozen historic sites in Midtown and Hell’s Kitchen could move a step closer to becoming landmarks Tuesday.

The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission will meet Tuesday to vote on 95 backlogged sites including the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin on West 56th Street — which houses part of the High School for Environmental Studies — a host of 42nd Street theaters including the Selwyn and Empire, and the Bergdorf Goodman building on Fifth Avenue.

At the meeting, the LPC will decide which of the 95 sites will be prioritized for landmark status, which will not be designated but will be allowed to return for subsequent hearings, and which will be removed from consideration permanently, the commission said on its website.

The LPC had planned to remove the sites from consideration permanently back in December 2014, but backtracked after members of the public objected.

Since then, it has sought testimony from the public regarding each of the 95 sites and held public hearings to gain further input.

Seven theaters will be up for a vote on Tuesday: the Lyric Theater at 213 W. 42nd St., the Empire Theater at 236-242 W. 42nd St., the Liberty Theater at 234 W. 42nd St., The New Victory at 207 W. 42nd St., the Times Square Theater and the New Apollo Theater at 215-223 W. 42nd St., and the Selwyn Theater interior at 229-231 W. 42nd St.

Five other Midtown and Hell’s Kitchen sites are also up for consideration.

► Bergdorf Goodman, 754 Fifth Ave.

Bergdorf Goodman started operating out of its main store building in 1928, and preservationists have been pushing for it to be added to the LPC’s landmarks list since 1970, according to the Manhattan Express. But the owner at the time was opposed to landmarking it, and in November, Racked reported an attorney for the department store said landmark status would “freeze the building in place” and not allow it to implement needed upgrades.

► Osborne Apartment Building Interior, 205 W. 57th St.

The Osborne is the second oldest luxury apartment building in New York, behind the famed Dakota building at West 72nd Street and Central Park West, according to an LPC hearing statement from 1980. Although the exterior of the building, which was “designed to resemble a vertically extended Italian Renaissance palazzo,” is already landmarked, the interior is not.

► Hotel Renaissance, 4 W. 43rd St.

Built in 1894, the Hotel Renaissance transformed the neighborhood “from an area of stables and trolley yards into a district of social clubs and hotels,” an LPC hearing statement from 2000 said. From 1917 to 1973, the building housed the Columbia University Club. It was purchased by the Unification Church in 1973 and is now home to the church’s headquarters, an art exhibition hall and and other organizations.

► Sire Building, 211 W. 58th St.

Beethoven Pianos Inc. currently occupies the five-story Victorian Gothic-style building, but it was originally owned by a man named Benjamin Sire. Constructed in 1884-1885, the Sire Building has seen tenants ranging from a Studebaker car dealership to the Museum of the American Piano, according to a 2009 LPC hearing statement.

► Mission of the Immaculate Virgin West, 448 W. 56th St.

A Catholic charity called the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin commissioned the building on West 56th Street, and work finished in 1903. The three-story, red brick and limestone building originally served as a boys’ club, but since the 1990s it has housed part of the High School for Environmental Studies, a 2009 LPC hearing statement said.