On November 9, 2021, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) designated the 200 Madison Avenue First Floor Lobby Interior First Floor Lobby an interior landmark. The historic lobby of 200 Madison Avenue is among the best-preserved and least-known interiors produced by the prolific architecture firm Warren & Wetmore.
“The 200 Madison Avenue First Floor lobby is a beautiful space with a richly embellished through-block arcade that truly feels like a hidden gem,” said Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair Sarah Carroll. “With its intricately detailed vaulted ceilings, gleaming gilded reliefs, terrazzo floors, polished marble walls, and ornamental metalwork and mosaics, I am delighted that this wonderfully preserved lobby is now in the company of such interior landmarks as Steinway Hall, the Madison Belmont Building, and the New York Central Building, also designed by Warren & Wetmore. As New Yorkers return to the office, it’s an especially opportune time to recognize this special space.”
Located in the Murray Hill between East 35th and East 36th Streets, 200 Madison Avenue was constructed in 1925-26 as a mixed-use structure for residential and commercial tenants. The interior landmark site incorporates the original office building lobby. Designed by Warren & Wetmore in the neo-Renaissance style, the T-shaped lobby has a vaulted arcade that connects East 35th and East 36th Streets. The arcade and entrance foyers feature highly polished marble walls, patterned terrazzo floors, and gilded plaster ceilings that incorporate various kind of naturalistic imagery, including rosettes, leaves, and vines. Each arched bay incorporates a band of floral mosaics, an animal medallion, and a pair of projecting lion heads. In the south part of the arcade, as well as in the elevator hall, are stylized images of peacocks, a common symbol of pride or prosperity. At the south end of the arcade is a large saucer dome decorated with fanciful images of griffins and dragons. Aside from minor alterations, this magnificent public lobby looks much as it did in the 1920s, when 200 Madison Avenue first opened.
“200 Madison Avenue is a magnificent building, designed by legendary architects Warren and Wetmore,” said Peter S. Duncan, President and CEO of George Comfort & Sons. “As owner and operator for many years, George Comfort & Sons has always sought to act as a responsible steward. This lobby landmark designation is both fitting and welcomed.”
“I’m thrilled that New York City has recognized 200 Madison Avenue First Floor Lobby as an interior landmark,” said Council Member Keith Powers. “As we envision our city’s future, it’s important that we are still celebrating all the beautiful parts of New York’s history.”
“As we continue to welcome our office workers back to our neighborhood, we couldn’t think of a better time for the Landmarks Preservation Commission to pay tribute to 200 Madison Avenue by landmarking its incredibly beautiful lobby providing yet another architectural distinction to a neighborhood that has expertly found the balance between respect for the past and building for the future,” said Fred Cerullo, President and CEO of Grand Central Partnership.
200 Madison Avenue was designed by Warren & Wetmore. Based in Manhattan, during their prolific career from 1900 to 1930 they were consistently inventive interpreters of the classical tradition, producing a great number of New York City landmarks and landmark interiors, such as Grand Central Terminal, Steinway Hall, and the New York Central Building.
The ornate lobby of 200 Madison Avenue is among the firm’s least known and best-preserved interiors. Aside from the installation of a non-historic reception desk, complementary lighting fixtures, security turnstiles and minor modifications, this memorable public space looks much as it did when the building opened in 1926.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission is the mayoral agency responsible for protecting and preserving New York City’s architecturally, historically and culturally significant buildings and sites. Since its creation in 1965, LPC has granted landmark status to more than 37,500 buildings and sites, including 1,445 individual landmarks, 121 interior landmarks, 11 scenic landmarks, and 152 historic districts and extensions in all five boroughs.