At 19,772 square feet, this plaza is one of the largest on the east side of Manhattan, although it would still require a 50 percent increase to match such midtown giants as 1251 Sixth Avenue and 1221 Sixth Avenue. Without the interruption caused by the two low-rise buildings at the northeast corner of East 55th Street and Third Avenue, the plaza would be configured in the ubiquitous U-shaped form, clamped onto the building’s street frontage along the east side of Third Avenue and the side streets of East 55th and 56th Streets. The presence of the two-story building at the corner suggests the possibility of a “holdout” scenario, where the low-rise owner may have declined to sell, or sell at the right price, to the 919 Third Avenue developer. In any event, the developer built next to it and surrounded it with public space.
The plaza has recently undergone a renovation. The bright white surface that contrasted smartly with the black glass of the office tower has been toned down with new material. On East 56th Street, a rectangular planter lines the sidewalk edge with ledges that are not sittable. At a recent site visit, the East 55th Street side was still under construction.