Abramson Brothers Incorporated has announced major renovation plans for 501 Fifth Avenue, the historic limestone building located at the southeast corner of 42nd Street and 5th Avenue.
The restoration will unearth the building’s original limestone façade and highlight other early 20th century architectural characteristics.
501 Fifth Avenue was built in 1916 by the Astor family, once known as the “landlord of New York City.”
The building was the original headquarters of the Astor Trust Company, the family’s private bank, and is located directly across from the New York Public Library (NYPL).
Built in 1910, the NYPL’s construction was aided in its creation by the Astor family, and 501 Fifth Avenue shares many of the library’s architectural details.
However, due to the NYPL’s recent renovation, the architectural resonance between the two buildings is easily overlooked.
The most noticeable difference is 501 Fifth’s façade; originally clad from top to bottom in limestone, it now features a green-black granite covering at street level that was added in the 1960s.
The first step in the restoration process is removing this granite covering to expose and polish the original limestone, creating a uniform appearance as originally intended.
“501 Fifth Avenue is a profound physical representation of Old New York,” said Alan Abramson, president of Abramson Brothers Incorporated.
Abramson watched the library renovation from start to finish from his office window, and when his son Adam joined the company last year as the third generation of Abramsons to manage the firm, Adam began spearheading the effort to restore the building’s original architectural intent. “Because there are not many buildings like this remaining, our goal is to not only restore 501 Fifth’s tie to that era, but also to recreate this iconic New York City corner, enhancing it visually for all those passing within its vicinity,” said Abramson
Along with the granite removal, the renovation will include restoration of the arched windows. The entire building will flow in one column-like progression with up-lighting at night to emphasize the design. The marble lobby is also being redesigned to highlight the cast bronze doors. In addition to the physical changes it plans to implement, Abramson Brothers will be restoring the building’s name to the Astor Trust Company Building as a tribute to its original purpose and founders.
The new name will then be etched onto the side of the building facing Fifth Avenue, as it was when the building was originally constructed.
To carry out the plans, Abramson Brothers has enlisted the help of architectural firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, the group responsible for Apple’s iconic glass storefronts.
“501 Fifth is an illustrious building steeped in history, however that significance has faded as time has passed,” explained Adam Abramson.
“This work is not just about beautifying a building; rather, it is more about restoring a part of New York City and architecturally preserving an important part of the neighborhood.”