240 East 38th Street

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Profile submitted by apops@mas

APOPS@MAS, working with the New York City Department of City Planning, is in the process of updating website information related to the Required Amenities, Required Hours of Access, Required Size, the Site Plan, and/or other legal requirements governing this privately owned public space.

Near mirror-image plaza and arcade spaces flank north and south sides of this through-block building between East 37th and 38th Streets 80 feet west of Second Avenue. The main building entrance is on East 38th Street. Bordered along most of this street frontage by a four-foot-high black granite wall, the plaza is five steps below the sidewalk and largely empty. Several trees line its eastern side. A small, elevated platform to the west, topped with a geometric pattern of black-granite seating ledges and trees, appears almost ceremonial in its composition and placement. Toward the front of the building is a triangular arcade.

Photo: Kayden et al. (2000)
Photo: Kayden et al. (2000)

The East 37th Street plaza is supposed to be entered from the public sidewalk up two narrow stairwells that now present large, black metal gates at top locked at a recent site visit. No record of City approval has been found to support the installation or locking of these gates. The plaza and arcade space behind the gates, however, is pleasant, with stands of trees on east and west ends and plenty of movable café tables and chairs currently used by building tenants, as if this were the building’s private backyard.

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