New York Daily Photo Analytics

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Fred F. French Building

This is the vestibule and lobby of the Fred F. French building at 551 Fifth Avenue at 45th Street. They have been designated as an interior landmark. On the exterior, the 38 story art-deco building's uses a variety of materials - a limestone base, orange brickwork, terracotta decor on the setbacks, and themed rectangular panels. The structure was built in 1927 as business headquarters for real estate tycoon Fred F. French. French was a self-made man - read his rags to riches story here. He was also responsible for Tudor City and Knickerbocker Village. Tudor City was funded by selling investor shares under the "French Plan." Knickerbocker Village, a low-income publicly subsidized urban-redevelopment housing project, on the other hand, became a problem with disputes between French and his tenants - this eventually led to creation of NYC's rent-control laws. A Babylonian influence runs through the French Building and can be seen in the lobby - from New York 1930 Architecture and Urbanism Between the Two World Wars, published by Rizzoli in 1987: "inspired by the Ishtar Gate, the decorative program was a most literal evocation of Manhattan as the New Babylon, of the skyscraper as Nebuchadnezzar's hanging garden in the desert."


ruth said...

Looks like the precursor to Trump Tower. Looks like an extravagant place.

susan in atlanta said...

Beautiful arched ceilings. I love the gilding. Is that real gold?

twilight said...

Thk U 4 introducing Fred F. Building n his story...inspiring. America has such great people.

Enjoy ur blog, daily.

Brian said...

Ruth - Much more tasteful than Trump - and better qualtiy construction.

Susan - I am not sure about the gilding - I will try to find out more.

Twilight - Thanks


Anonymous said...

ohhh, Grandeur!:)

Anonymous said...

And even "folie des grandeurs"! ;-)

Kate said...

Wow! Need I say more??!!

Nathalie said...

Another of your spectacular shots !
I'm in awe.

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