The city's Landmarks Preservation Commission has identified 12 buildings in Midtown East, including the Graybar Building and the Pershing Square Building, to be potentially landmarked in the future. It's part of the agency's move to provide greater protection to historic buildings in the neighborhood.
In 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio created the East Midtown Steering Committee to tackle a series of goals for the neighborhood including density, sustainability, and historic preservation. That's where the LPC comes into the mix.
The agency studied the area known as Greater East Midtown, which spans East 39th to East 57th Streets, from Fifth Avenue to Second Avenue. And through that study the LPC identified three eras of development — buildings constructed prior to the existence of the Grand Central Terminal (pre-GCT), those built during its construction or soon after, and finally, those that were built after 1933 (post--GCT).
Buildings were then selected from each era and calendared to be considered at a future date. Most of the ones chosen including the Graybar Building and the Pershing Square Building were from the Grand Central Terminal era, when construction was spurred by improvements in transit.
"Greater East Midtown has always been the commercial center of New York, and its authenticity and dynamism largely derive from the textured coexistence of historic buildings and new construction," Meenakshi Srinivasan, the chair of the LPC, said in a press release. "Our challenge was to conceptualize a preservation strategy to protect a collection of significant buildings that, together, establish a historical narrative that will continue to be legible amidst future change."
East Midtown already has 38 individual landmarks and one historic district, and landmarking the 12 selected buildings could potentially bring that up to 50. Some of the other buildings under consideration include the Hampton Shops Building, the Yale Club of New York, and the Shelton and Beverly Hotels.