THE VIEW of that same corner before 240 CPS went up there, from a balcony at the Mayflower Hotel (where 15 CPW now stands).
Yes, that ^ seems to be the trick to maintain the sleek Art Moderne look.
Plus the skinny mullions of the original windows (many now replaced with thicker ones).
I find it amazing and odd at the same time, that out of all the places in this city, there wasn't some stunning, large, highly ornate building built in one of the most prominent spots of the city where 240 is now.
If not for the Great Depression that corner may well have gotten something flashier. But highly ornate wasn't the mode when 240 CPS went up in 1941. It was the beginning of Modernism, and ornate was old hat.
Prior to the arrival of 240 CPS that corner housed a low slung building topped by billboards. Columbus Circle was the center of auto-related businesses, with the General Motors Building (now renamed and being re-clad as 3CC) kitty corner across W 58th, the US Rubber Company (tires) in their building on the SE corner of Broadway & W 58th, and the BF Goodrich building (also tires) just to the south at 1780 Broadway (recently Landmarked and part of Extell's 225 West 57th development).
PHOTO: Looking across Columbus Circle towards the 240 CPS site in 1924
PHOTO: Manhattan: Columbus Circle - 59th Street (West) - 8th Avenue. [General Motors Corporation ; United States Rubber Company.] (1930?)
Even before automobiles arrived Columbus Circle was about transportation. Back when horses were king Durland's Riding Academy (home to the NY Riding Club) used to sit where the Trump International now stands. The first Durland's went up in 1887 (PHOTO), but burned down in 1902 (there is a 3-minute Edison film that captured the fire). The Academy had abandoned the building, whose foundations had been weakened and damaged by subway construction beneath Columbus Circle, and the plot was to be the site of a hippodrome planned by the American and London Hippodrome Company.
A panoramic PHOTO from 1907 shows the plot, on the other side of Columbus Circle from the 240 CPS site, surrounded by a wooden barrier and still unbuilt (across from the unadorned SW entrance to Central Park, before the Maine Monument went up in 1913).
Berenice Abbott took a PHOTO of the north side of Columbus Circle in 1938, which shows the low-slung B&O Bus Station building on that site.
Interesting to note that on a MAP of the area from 1899 the Circle is shown as "Grand Circle." Although the Columbus statue was erected in 1892 it wasn't until 1905 that the Circle took his name, as is another MAP of the same area from a few years later showing it as "Columbus Circle."
Both buildings to the west -- at 229 West 58th and 231 West 58th -- beyond the Demo'ed Extell lot (at 225-227 West 58th) have been marked with the green X-Boxes signifying a likely prelude to Demolition. But no Demo apps are showing up at DOB.
And 240 CPS has removed the lousy looking roll down gates that enclosed the loading area along West 58th ( 233 W 58 -- seen HERE on Google Map Street View). They are now rebuilding the curb / driveway there as part of the full rehab of 240 CPS.
Why is Central Park South so ugly?
From streetlevel, everything west of the Plaza Hotel looks so nasty and dingy. How pathetic for a such a supposedly coveted area.
Everything needs brought down... but I don't see that happening ever.
I think CPS is one of the most marvelous streetscapes in the whole city. Just for example, The Gainsborough (L), built 1908...and the Ritz Carlton (St Moritz), Trump Parc (Barbizon Plaza), Hampshire House, Essex House, 240 CPS (L), all built in the 1930s .
Of those, only 2 are landmarks (L), though .
^ Yes, that's what I meant . I guess all those crowns are more attractive than at street level, but it's still a solid wall of history not to be messed with.
It's from within the last 10 years -- the St. Moritz (the big one at the left) shows the re-do with the larger windows.