1185 Sixth Avenue

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Under provisions of the 1967 Special Theatre District zoning, this office skyscraper received a floor area bonus for a legitimate theater and a supporting cast of public spaces. Between the back of the tower and the theater is a through-block landscaped pedestrian plaza connecting West 46th and 47th Streets. The space is a rectangular passageway uncovered except for a small area underneath a black boxlike structure spanning the space from the tower to the theater. For many years, conditions here were problematic. After the City complained to the owner in 1996, the owner initiated improvements. Black metal spikes atop planter and fountain ledges vanished. Planters without plants and flowers were suddenly awash with greenery and color. The dirt-filled fountain was cleaned out, decorated with a sculpture, and turned on.

Not surprisingly, members of the public started stopping in, as well as circulating through, the space. Users especially enjoy the sunnier side on West 46th Street, where they sit on the planter benches, but they also use the serpentine planter ledges and seating nooks flanking the three descending tiers closer to West 47th Street. The only question mark that remains is the food service. The space is required by special permit to provide a restaurant, in the black boxlike structure as it did many years ago, as well as an open air café at ground level. At a recent site visit, however, the open air café was not operating, and no record of City approval removing this requirement has been found.

Other spaces at this building include a slim, wrap-around special permit plaza that adds space to the sidewalk, on the west side of Sixth Avenue and the two side streets, and a basement concourse, accessed from the special permit plaza near the corner of West 47th Street and Sixth Avenue and from the building lobby, that connects to the subway.


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