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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)

Carter's View

The planned residential conversion of the upper floors of the Apple Bank for Savings building that occupies the trapezoidal block between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenues and 73rd and 74th Streets requires a second means of egress for the condominium apartments.

The bank has its main entrance on 73rd Street and there is a entrance at 2112 Broadway that until recently had been used for the offices that occupied the upper floors of the landmark building and will be used as the entrance to the condominium apartments.

Many years ago, an entrance with large and ornate cast-iron gates designed by Samuel Yellin on 74th Street was closed and Tim Macy of the architectural firm of Beyer Blinder Belle, appeared on behalf of Stahl Real Estate, the owners of the property, before the parks and preservation committee of Community Board 7 last night to present plans to use the 74th Street entrance as an exit since stairs from the upper floors lead down to the vestibule just behind the entrance.

All exterior changes to a designated city landmark must be approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the process requires that the community board first review the proposals and make recommendations.

Normally, this might not appear to be a problem, but the doors are 12 feet six inches high and 8 feet 6 inches wide and too heavy to be easily opened in an emergency. Furthermore, they open inward and are too wide to simply reverse the hinges because they would protrude further than city regulations allow onto the sidewalk.

The solution proposed by Beyer Blinder Belle was to leave the west side, or "leaf," of the very handsome gates in place and to leave permanently open the east side and install a glass "panic" door with push-bar just inside the entrance.

The committee voted to approve the proposal but asked the architect to explore different tints for the glass.

James Farley of Stahl Real Estate told CityRealty.Com today he was not prepared to answer questions about how many apartments are planned, or what the project's timetable was.

The landmark building was built in 1928 for the Central Savings Bank that formerly was located at 14th Street and Fourth Avenue. It was designed by York & Sawyer in the same monumental, Italian Renaissance-palazzo style the architects employed at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Building in Lower Manhattan.

The bank on Broadway was founded in 1859 as the German Savings Bank in the City of New York and changed its name to the Central Savings Bank during World War I and subsequently it became the Apple Bank. The bank continues to operate within the building's vast and spectacular vaulted banking hall - one of the city's most impressive interior spaces which is a designated interior landmark.

The building commands one of the few prominent "key" sites in Manhattan at the intersection of two avenues such as the Flatiron Building at 23rd Street and the former site of the Herald Tribune at 35th Street between Broadway and The Avenue of the Americas and the former Times Tower at 43rd Street between Broadway and Seventh Avenue.

The building was described by Elliot Willensky and Norval White in "The A.I.A. Guide to New York City Architecture, Fourth Edition," (Three Rivers Press, 2000), as "one of the area's noblest and most imposing edifices."
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Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.
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