While walking up Park Avenue South from Union Square, you’ll notice this painted sign on the right gradually coming into view. It’s on a building in the corner of East 27th Street. If you’re new to NYC, you may wonder why the Fourth Avenue Building is on Park Avenue South — especially since 4th Avenue runs only between Cooper and Union Squares.
It turns out that the whole length of 4th Avenue, Park Avenue South, and Park Avenue in Manhattan was once called 4th Avenue. Politics and railroads pretty much are the reason why three avenues now fill the duties of one, and it’s explained in detail on my 4th Avenue Street Necrology page.
More properly called 381 Park Avenue South, the slim and trim 1905-era building boasts gilding as well as modest embellishments like cartouches between each floor. It has, of course, been converted to expensive apartments. From the building’s website:
In 2003, on the facade of 381 Park Avenue South, over 500 pieces of terracotta were replaced with GFRC casts virtually identical to the originals. Complex fan arches, fluted spandrels, sills, jambs, lintels, ornate columns, and decorative urns were completely replicated in modern materials.
The owners do have a sense of history, as the large “Fourth Ave. Building” sign on the south side is periodically repainted.