NYC’s gilded Crown Building is landmarked

May 16, 2024

Photo credit: Landmarks Preservation Commission

One of Midtown Manhattan’s crown jewels is finally a city landmark. The Landmarks Preservation Commission this week designated the Heckscher Building at 730 Fifth Avenue as an individual landmark, officially recognizing the tower’s ornate French Renaissance style, influence on Midtown’s iconic commercial corridor, and overall impact on the New York City skyline. The tower, built 100 years ago and renamed the Crown Building in the 1980s for its gilded appearance, is now home to Aman New York, a luxe hotel-condo with 83 hotel rooms and 22 residences.

Photo credit: Landmarks Preservation Commission

The Heckscher Building was developed by philanthropist August Heckscher from 1920 to 1922. Warren & Wetmore, the same firm behind Grand Central Terminal, designed the tower in a French Renaissance style on a prominent corner of 5th Avenue and 57th Street. The skyscraper is notable for being among the first to conform to the city’s 1916 zoning resolution, which required tall buildings to reduce their mass as they rise, to allow for light and air to reach the city streets below.

The building rises 25 stories tall, with setbacks on the 13th and 24th stories and a mounted tower that steps up differently from each direction, allowing for four unique facades, according to the LPC. Other notable architectural features include its pyramidal roof and octagonal tower that originally featured gilded elements.

When it opened, the so-called “Tower of Trade” featured ground-floor shops, retail, and offices for Alfred A. Knopf and Universal Pictures. In 1929, the new Museum of Modern Art hosted an inaugural exhibition at the building with the artwork of major artists like Cezanne, Gauguin, Seurat, and Van Gogh on display. Another exhibit on modern architecture, curated by Philip Johnson and Henry-Russell Hitchcock, introduced International Style to the United States.

“The Heckscher Building represents a critical moment in New York City history when architecture rose to meet the moment, innovating to improve quality of life and creating iconic structures that shaped our skyline, and has undergone a recent rehabilitation that supports New York City’s economic strength,” LPC Chair Sarah Carroll, said.

“By designating the Heckscher Building (now the Crown Building), we are honoring the important role that design and public policy can play in our modern urban environments, and ensuring this incredible early skyscraper is preserved for generations to come.”

Renderings courtesy of Aman New York

With its architectural elements painted gold and facade glowing at night, the Heckscher Building was renamed the Crown Building in 1983. Aman New York opened in 2022 with 83 hotel rooms and 22 private residences.

Amenities include a 14th-floor sky lobby with a piano bar, a members club and cigar lounge overlooking Central Park, three restaurants, and the Aman Spa, which includes three levels of wellness amenities. Retail on the ground floor includes high-end stores like Bulgari, Mikimoto, and Ermenegildo Zegna.

Aman New York Residences include some of the city’s priciest apartment deals, including a $61.58 million penthouse that sold in February, a $74.3 million home that sold in 2022, and a $180 million penthouse in the actual crown of the building that entered contract six years ago but has not closed yet.

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