DEMAREST BUILDING, Midtown

by Kevin Walsh

The Demarest Building is a Beaux-Arts era building on the northeast corner of 5th Avenue and East 33rd Street, across the street from the Empire State Building, which it preceded by 41 years; indeed, it preceded the first Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, whose footprint the King of All Buildings occupies, by three years.

The building is marked by its incredibly large arched picture windows, built since the Demarest originally hosted high-end carriages that were displayed in the windows, manufactured by the building’s namesake A.T. Demarest. It was designed by the firm Renwick, Aspinwall and Russell and featured NYC’s first electrically powered elevator. It was built around the same time as Carnegie Hall at 7th Avenue and West 57th and is said to share some design elements.

During the 20th Century the Demarest was home to doctor’s offices, women’s hat dealers, haberdashers and other clothing sellers; it sits just east of Manhattan’s Garment District. Steel and glass manufacturers also had offices in the building. Today, you can find handbags store The Sak on the second floor, with various businesses on the ground floor including Wendy’s hamburgers.

The building was acquired by Pi Capital Partners in 2015, which announced 4 years later that it intended to raze the Demarest and replace it with s 26-story mixed use tower. Preservationists are attempting to get the Landmarks Preservation Commission to bestow its landmarks imprimatur on the building to save it. Thus far the LPC has demurred.

Check out the ForgottenBook,┬átake a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”

2/26/20

2 comments

Susan February 26, 2020 - 1:43 pm

I hope it gets saved – such a beautiful building!

Reply
ron s March 1, 2020 - 9:46 am

Without looking at a Carnegie Hall picture, this feels reminiscent.

Reply

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