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Friday, October 21, 2011

One Park Avenue

This place is emblazoned in my memory because one of my clients, Loews Representation International, used to have its headquarters here. Its placement is part of NYC history...

About Park Avenue from the internet:

Park Avenue (formerly Fourth Avenue) is a wide boulevard that carries north and southbound traffic in New York City borough of Manhattan. Through most of its length, it runs parallel to Madison Avenue to the west and Lexington Avenue to the east.
The flowers and greenery in the median of Park Avenue are maintained by the Fund for Park Avenue. Begonias are a flower of choice for the Funds gardeners because there is no automatic watering system and they can cope with hot sun.[1]
Each December, Christmas trees are placed in the median in a tradition that started in 1945 as a memorial to soldiers killed in action.[2] The first time they were erected colored lights were used and accidents occurred because of confusion with traffic signals in front of them. Today only yellow and white lights are used.[citation needed]

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Park Avenue in the Upper East Side
Park Avenue Viaduct, 2008
The section with the Henry P. Davison House, Percy Rivington Pyne House, Oliver D. Filley House and William Sloane House is one of the original house ensembles left on Park Avenue.
The road that becomes Park Avenue originates as the Bowery. From Cooper Square at 8th Street to Union Square at 14th Street, it is known as Fourth Avenue. Above 14th Street, it turns slightly east of north to align with other avenues of the Commissioners' Plan of 1811. From 14th Street to 17th Street, it forms the eastern boundary of Union Square and is known as Union Square East; its southbound lanes merge with Broadway for this distance. From 17th Street to 32nd Street, it is known as Park Avenue South, and above 32nd Street, for the remainder of its distance, it is known as Park Avenue.
Between 33rd Street and 40th Street, the left-hand northbound lane descends into the Murray Hill Tunnel. Immediately across from 40th Street, the center lanes of Park Avenue rise onto an elevated structure that goes around Grand Central Terminal and the MetLife Building (formerly the PanAm Building), carrying each direction of traffic on opposite sides of the buildings. The bridge, one of two structures in Manhattan known as the Park Avenue Viaduct, returns to ground level at 46th Street after going through the Helmsley Building (also referred to as the New York Central Building or 230 Park Avenue). The IRT Lexington Avenue Line runs under this portion of the street. Once the line reaches Grand Central, it shifts east to Lexington Avenue.
As Park Avenue enters Midtown north of Grand Central Terminal, it is distinguished by many glass-box skyscrapers that serve as headquarters for corporations such as JPMorgan Chase at 270 Park Avenue and 277 Park Avenue, UBS at 299 Park Avenue, Citigroup, Colgate-Palmolive, and MetLife at the MetLife Building.
From Grand Central to 97th Street, Metro-North Railroad tracks run in a tunnel underneath Park Avenue (the Park Avenue Tunnel). There are no cross-walk signals or overhead traffic lights along this stretch of Park Avenue due to the presence of the tunnels underneath, and the inability to anchor the heavy devices into solid ground.[citation needed] At 97th, the tracks come above ground, rising onto the other Manhattan structure known as the Park Avenue Viaduct. The first street to pass under the viaduct is 102nd Street; from there to the Harlem River the railroad viaduct runs down the middle of Park Avenue.
In the 1920s the portion of Park Avenue from Grand Central Terminal to 96th Street saw extensive apartment building construction. This long stretch of the avenue contains some of the most expensive real estate in the world. Real estate at 740 Park Avenue, for example, sells for several thousand dollars per square foot.[3] Current and former residents in this stretch of the thoroughfare include Blackstone Group co-founder Stephen Schwarzman, former Morgan Stanley executive Zoe Cruz, private equity investor Ronald O. Perelman, John D. Rockefeller Jr. and others. James Cash Penney lived at 888, and Leonard Bernstein at 898.
Park Avenue ends north of 132nd Street, with connections to the Harlem River Drive. The name is continued on the other side of the river in the Bronx by the street just east of the railroad.