Corner (375 Park): This 39-story
office tower, built in 1958 for
the Seagram's beverage company, is considered
the epitome of the International Style and
architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's
American masterpiece. Its superbly proportioned
geometric form and use of floor-to-ceiling windows
were enormously influential on corporate architecture;
the New York Times has called it the most
important building of the 20th Century.
The vertical bronze beams on the exterior
are, ironically, a decorative element intended to express
a fuctionalist aesthetic. The plaza surrounding
the building--taking Lever House's rejection
of the street wall farther by eliminating
the earlier building's base--was so admired
that zoning laws were changed to encourage
similar public spaces...few of which were
as successful as this one.
The building is home to The Four
Seasons, a restaurant known for its
power lunches, whose sumptuous interior
was designed by
Philip Johnson, who was
van der Rohe's collaborator on the entire
Mark Rothko was commissioned
to do art for the restaurant, but he decided
he hated the place too much and kept the
series for himself.
In the series That Girl, the
Marlo Thomas character works in a
magazine stand in this building.
The address used to be an apartment
building on the block's northern corner, where
lived in the penthouse in the 1940s.
100: Brasserie is a French
restaurant in the Seagram Building, opened
in 1959 and given a space-age redesign
(complete with video surveillance) in 2000.
116: An apartment building here torn down for
the Seagram Building was the home of actor
Montgomery Clift from 1935-43, when he was a teenager
and young man.
Corner (610 Lexington): This is a very slender,
61-story apartment/hotel tower that is planned
for the former site of the
YWCA New York headquarters,
built here in 1912. It housed the first public
swimming pool in New York state; the YWCA's
national offices were here until 1980.