Ely Jacques Kahn Skyscraper Throwing Out Its Windows

From the Modern Architecture Working Group

Built in 1950 by Kahn and Jacobs, 1407 Broadway is the one of the first large scale modern structures built in New York City after World War Two. Constructed in the Garment district on a full city block bound by Broadway, 7th avenue, West 39th street and West 38th Street, this 42-story building’s cubistic massing and streamlined storefronts and details along with its liberal use of color is a note of modernist brightness amidst the garment district’s older pre-war structures.

In homage to his earlier work and in recognition of the growing popularity of the International style in New York City, Ely Jacques Kahn employed horizontally banded three over three steel sash windows painted a dark green with vermilion frames and alternating banding of serpentine green colored brick. At the time, Lewis Mumford said,” this is the first touch of real color in a big structure since the McGraw-Hill Building was put up, nineteen years ago.”

Combining many of Kahn’s earlier planning ideas with a liberal use of color and rich materials, the International style streamlined block through Lobby is one of the few intact office lobby’s left in New York city from the early 1950’s.

The Modern Architecture Working Group met with the LPC and asked for this structure to be designated both an exterior and interior landmark. We were given enthusiastic assurances that this would be a priority and to date the structure has not been calendared or heard. Currently the owner – after receiving a letter of interest from the LPC- is in the process of destroying 1407 Broadway’s thousands of historic steel sash three over three windows. 1407 Broadway is owned by the Goldman Family who also owns the Skidmore House on East 4th street and demolished the Morris Lapidus designed former Crawford Clothes on 14th street.

The LPC was alerted to the potential destruction of the historic windows last October after the historic banking corner was needlessly stripped of details.

Please email LPC Chair Robert Tierney ([email protected]) and complain about this needless crisis. Once again the LPC has dropped the ball on a 100% intact modern structure.

Posted Under: Alert, Midtown, Modern Architecture

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