|The Yale Club|
Eighty years later Yale has become an assembly-line for Wall Street fledglings, I gather.
Club of New York fights for landmark status
Photo by Grace Patuwo.
BY YANAN WANG
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
The Yale Club of New York may be the next landmark to line east Midtown’s skyline.
Last fall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a rezoning outline that would allow for the construction of taller skyscrapers in
York’s East Side, specifically
the area from 39th Street
to 57th Street,
where activity is centered around Grand Central Terminal. The New York Times
reported in December 2012 that Bloomberg’s desired “upzoning,” which involves
demolishing old architecture to make room for new buildings, threatens the
preservation of some of the neighborhood’s historic mainstays. While the public
process of certifying the rezoning proposal is not set to be completed until
March, two conservation groups — the New York Landmarks Conservancy and the
Municipal Arts Society — have submitted landmark designation requests to the
city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission in the hopes of protecting buildings
that could be torn down, including the Yale Club.
“We’re trying to think about an alternate vision for 21st century east Midtown,” said Ronda Wist, vice president of preservation and government relations at the Municipal Arts Society. “That involves taking into consideration planning and preservation issues.”
Among the buildings in the rezoning area, the group’s proposals cited 17, the Yale Club included, that “convey historic, architectural and cultural significance.” The list also names hotels such as The Lexington and the Marriot East Side, as well as the Center for Fiction, which was formerly the 1820s-era Mercantile Library.
Among the region’s 587 buildings — of which 32 are already designated landmarks — the Yale Club is one of 38 that have been demarcated as “soft sites,” structures vulnerable to replacement because of new construction. Wist said that due to the club’s large lot size and central location, it fulfills the city’s criteria for development.
“Designed by James Gamble Rogers 1889, the Yale Club is one of only eight buildings remaining from Grand Central’s original
district,” Wise noted. “That’s significant.” Terminal City
Andrea Goldwyn, director of public policy at the Landmarks Conservancy, said the building drew the group’s attention because it is a “fine example of neo-classical style that hearkens back to the City Beautiful Movement [in North American architecture].”
In the Landmark Conservancy’s testimony to the New York City Planning Commission, Goldwyn cited
as a prominent architect. Responsible for creating Yale’s trademark gothic
revival style, he also designed Sterling Memorial Library,
and the original eight residential colleges. Harkness Tower
Wist said she has no estimate for how long the commission will take to process the Municipal Art Society’s proposal. While the Planning Commission’s website states that the review process typically lasts 20 to 30 working days, Director of Communications Elisabeth de Bourbon said there is no set timeline for decisions on proposals related to the rezoning study. De Bourbon declined to comment on the status of the application, adding that the commission has yet to decide whether to consider the 17 buildings individually or as a group.
Founded in 1897, the Yale Club of New York moved to its current location on
30 West 44th St.
in 1915 following an increase in membership.
Clarification: Jan. 30
Due to an editing error, a previous headline for this article mistakenly suggested that the Yale Club has been slated for demolition.