The lower levels of one of the last survivors of Newspaper Row are now poised for a new era. On Tuesday, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved work to allow the reprogramming of Pace University‘s building at 41 Park Row.
An individual landmark, 41 Park Row is the former New York Times Building. Designed by George B. Post and built in 1888 and 1889, it is on a site bound by Park Row, Spruce Street and Nassau Street. It started life as a five-story building but was enlarged to 16 stories by architect Robert Maynicke between 1903 and 1905. The Times didn’t want to have any interruption of its operations, so it continued working while the additional 11 stories were constructed above. Pace acquired the building in 1950 and it was designated an individual landmark in 1999. In 2000, a Barnes & Noble bookstore took over the ground floor storefronts.
Now, Pace University is transitioning from a commuter school to a residential one, and wants to make the basement, first floor, and second floor a student commons, with gallery space, offices, and a room for conferences or other large meetings. The design comes from architect Sylvia Smith, a partner at FXFOWLE, and preservationist Meisha Huner of Li/Saltzman Architects.
The main entrance will move to Spruce Street, new windows will be put in, mechanical equipment will be tweaked, and signage will be reconfigured. When the plan was originally presented in March, the commissioners felt the new windows didn’t have enough detail or recall the historic fenestrations.
Now, the second floor windows have vertical divisions, leading to as many as five segments per bay. The second floor windows are also deeper, the base is also lighter, and there are other details that are now more pronounced.
LPC Chair Meeankshi Srinivasan said the applicant had been “very responsive” with “subtle, but really important moves.” Commissioner Jeanne Lutfy said the revisions create the feeling of a canopy. “Very well done,” said Commissioner Wellington Chen.