330 East 39th Street

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An asphalt-paved, semicircular drop-off driveway flanked by trees and planters covers a small part of the plaza in front of the residential entrance on the south side of East 39th Street between First and Second Avenues, but the bulk of the space is located behind the building. On East 38th Street east of the Midtown Tunnel Access Road, the entrance at street level is celebrated by a small, beige-brick and white-granite fountain suggestive of the Italian Renaissance by its design and decaying façade. When it is working, the fountain emits water from the sculptural face of a lion into a basin surrounded by a curving white granite ledge.

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

The decorative fountain heightens user anticipation for the space beyond. Curving stairs to the left and right of the fountain ascend six steps and converge in front of a metal gate posted with a sign informing the user, “Courtyard open from 10 A.M. – 7 P.M. daily. No dogs allowed. Thank you.” At a recent site visit, the gate was locked at 4:00 p.m. No record of City approval has been found to support the installation of gates or the imposition of restricted hours of access. Past the gate and up another six steps is a large, open, concrete courtyard bordered by a variety of buildings. Interesting city vistas emerge between buildings, and the space does receive sunlight, but there is little to do here. A rectangular water pool with sculpture and unsittable slanted ledge occupies the middle.

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2 User Submissions

  1. submitted by: rob nearby

    they used to have benches but they took them away.

    • submitted by: APOPS

      Thank you for the information. We will look into this and post a comment when we know more about it.