The neo-Renaissance lobby inside 200 Madison Avenue has been designated a city landmark.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission unanimously approved the designation as an interior landmark on Tuesday in a 10-0 vote. The lobby is inside the vaulted arcade that spans the building between East 35th and East 36th Streets.
Built in the 1920s by the architecture firm Warren and Wetmore, the lobby’s gilded and ornate aesthetic includes patterned terrazzo floors and marble walls. The arched bays along the ceiling are filled with floral mosaics, animal medallions and projecting lion heads, according to the LPC.
A large saucer dome decorated with griffins and dragons caps the south end of the arcade, while stylized images of peacocks cavort.
Warren and Wetmore helped design the iconic look of Grand Central Terminal, yet it is 200 Madison that is “among the firm’s least known and best-preserved interiors,” the LPC proposal said, noting that the lobby looks very much as it did when it first opened in 1926.
“The 200 Madison Avenue First Floor lobby is a beautiful space with a richly embellished through-block arcade that truly feels like a hidden gem,” said LPC Chair Sarah Carroll in a press release. “With its intricately detailed vaulted ceilings, gleaming gilded reliefs, terrazzo floors, polished marble walls, and ornamental metalwork and mosaics, I am delighted that this wonderfully preserved lobby is now in the company of such interior landmarks as Steinway Hall, the Madison Belmont Building, and the New York Central Building, also designed by Warren & Wetmore. As New Yorkers return to the office, it’s an especially opportune time to recognize this special space.”
Historic preservation expert Simeon Bankoff said 200 Madison was among many treasures the city needs to protect.
“There are other interior landmarks that are ... more significant and more endangered than 200 Madison,” said Bankoff, the former executive director of the Historic Districts Council.
Bankoff named the Red Room banking hall at One Wall Street and the failed attempt to save the McGraw-Hill Building’s lobby as other interiors in need of landmark protection. “But the city could always use more landmarks,” he added.