(The former Newsweek Building)
(Between 49th & 50th Streets)
Developer: Alexander S. Bing
Architect: Robert D. Kohn, Frank E. Vitolo
and John J. Knight
By Carter B. Horsley
For several decades, this modest Art Deco tower, shown
at the left, dominated much of the midtown Madison Avenue skyline,
especially after the lighted signs announcing the time and temperature
were added beneath the Newsweek logo, none of which were part
of the original design. When Newsweek relocated to the West Side
in the mid-1990's, the sign was changed to "New York"
as the magazine of that name moved into this building.
Unlike its two other nearby slender Art Deco
towers, the original R.C.A. Victor (that became the former G.E.
Building at 570 Lexington Avenue, see The
City Review article) and the Fuller Building at 41 East 57th
Street, this 42-story building occupies a full blockfront with
its narrow tower centered on a mid-rise base with setbacks.
Until the erection of the Swiss Bank Tower
(see The City Review article) between
it and Saks Fifth Avenue to the west, the building was very visible
from Rockefeller Center (see The City Review
article). The mostly blank eastern wall of the Swiss Bank
Tower, where its elevators are placed, faces the mostly blank
western wall of the building that Newsweek decided to leave in
1993. (Newsweek had previously been located in the former Knickerbocker
Hotel on the southeast comer of 42nd Street and Broadway and is
now at 251 West 57th Street.)
The building's rooftop signs mar its Art Deco
purity and hopefully will someday be removed. Given the small
floor sizes of the tower and the building's superb location overlooking
the rear of St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cathedral (see The
City Review article) and the courtyard of the Villard Houses
at the New York Palace Hotel (see The City
Review article), this 336,472-sq. ft. building will not have
difficulties finding tenants to replace Newsweek.
The developer was part of the Bing & Bing
real estate concern that built many of the city's finest residential
properties in many different Manhattan neighborhoods.
In 2009, the building's base and lobby were