Paramount Building Entrance, 1501 Broadway, Moving Because of Times Square Pedestrian Plaza

Rendering of new 43rd Street entrance to the Paramount Building.Rendering of new 43rd Street entrance to the Paramount Building.

On Tuesday, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved a plan to relocate the entrance to the Paramount Building, an individual landmark at 1501 Broadway in Times Square, from Broadway on to West 43rd Street.

Paramount Building

The Paramount Building, 1501 Broadway, with the Viacom Building to the right. Photo by row4food/Flickr

The Paramount Building was designed by Rapp and Rapp and built between 1926 and 1927. It is 33-stories-tall and topped by a distinctive clock tower. It was originally the eastern headquarters for the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation, a forerunner of Paramount. It was designated an individual landmark in 1988 and now serves as home to the Hard Rock Café.

The move is because of the Times Square pedestrian plaza, which interrupts Broadway from West 42nd Street to West 47th Street. This writer is going to go out on a limb and say the plaza is a great thing, but it means that entering the building from the Broadway side has become a challenge with so many tourists to get through. So, a new entrance will be constructed on 43rd Street.

The presentation was made by Bob Parnes of Hudson Square-based Tobin Parnes Design. The entrance will have a limestone façade and bronze doors. Double-hung windows above the entrance on the second floor will also be replaced by single-pane windows. The move comes after the LPC already approved a new marquee on 43rd Street, meant to evoke the historic one. The marquee will also help to obscure the new windows.

A new multi-story lobby is also planned to accompany the new entrance, but that design hasn’t been fleshed out yet.

Community Board 5 endorsed the proposal, but asked for a master plan.

LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan said the presentation showed a “very sensitive design” and said the second floor window changes were simple. The commissioners voted to approve the application as presented.

As for the Times Square pedestrian plaza, given recent incidents involving the costumed characters and the advent of the decidedly un-costumed “Desnudas,” Mayor Bill de Blasio last year suggested scrapping the plaza altogether. He has since backed off of that, but the City Council is currently working on legislation to allow greater regulation of Times Square, as well as other pedestrian plazas in the city.

View the full presentation slides here:

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