437 Madison Avenue

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This ribbon of plaza wraps around the three street frontages of its host building, on the east side of Madison Avenue, the north side of East 49th Street, and the south side of East 50th Street. Its orientation, however, is outward, since its sole purpose, as revealed by usage, is to provide a viewing platform onto the sidewalk and street. The two long seating ledges along Madison Avenue are regularly occupied by momentarily-paused pedestrians, and the interaction between them and the moving pedestrians creates time-honored urban street interactions of observer and observed. Small wooden planters with evergreens and two benches are located along the side street sidewalk. A tiny arcade covers the main entrance.

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

With the Kaufman Organization as developer and M. Paul Friedberg as landscape architect, the only surprise here is the relative absence of whimsy or creativity. A comparison may be drawn with another Kaufman space, at 747 Third Avenue, that made much out of little.


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