Located directly across from Grand Central Terminal, 110 East 42nd Street, formerly known as the Bowery Banks Savings Building, is a 205,000-square-foot building that rises 18 stories above Midtown. This property’s distinctive sandstone and brick façade, created in 1923 by famed architects York & Sawyer, has been carefully restored to its original design. The building’s grand entrance includes an Italian Romanesque ceiling adorned with stunning blue and yellow mosaic tiles. The exterior and lobby, along with the world-famous Cipriani event hall, have been designated as a Landmark by New York City. Re–engineered to 21st century standards, the building is Wired Certified Silver and features an emergency generator for life safety. The 2013 BOMA Operating Office Building of the year winner is truly a distinct New York address.
Built in 1923, 110 East 42nd Street is the first of York & Sawyer’s many distinguished designs to incorporate a massive public hall into a tall building. The building features numerous eclectic details that reflect the skill of Louis Ayres, the project’s design partner, at dramatizing the activity of the modern city through historic association. Echoing the form of a tenth-century Italian church, the major element of the base is the deeply-cut arched banking room entranceway. The facade is finished in a dramatic polychrome treatment incorporating pink granite colonnettes, green marble spandrels, and a red pantile roof.
The spectacular interiors include the use of low relief carving in stone, brilliantly colored mosaics, such as those seen in the elevator lobby, and no less than 20 different types of marble from ten different countries. The lobby includes three types of marble flooring, including Levanto stone set in travertine, a stone associated with ancient Rome, while the bronze elevator doors include figures representing thrift, hard work, and resulting prosperity. Squirrels and beehives appear throughout the building, symbolizing industry and the storage of wealth, as do zodiac and celestial figures, intended to convey a sense of timelessness.
The design of 110 East 42nd Street is an example of programmatic art, where figures, floral motifs and even patterns are used symbolically and to convey a message of the purpose, dignity and moral value of society. Inside and out, 110 East 42nd Street exemplifies a unique dignity and grandeur.