400 East 56th Street

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Close to half an acre of plaza is dispersed in front of the three street sides of this residential building, on the east side of First Avenue, and on East 55th and 56th Streets. The East 56th Street plaza includes a sweeping semicircular drop-off driveway that curves underneath the substantial marble-columned arcade in front of the main residential entrance. Between the public sidewalk and driveway is an elegant planter featuring an ornamental fountain with eight jets and bubblers and a sculpture with metal bands looking like fish swimming in the pond. Well-tended brightly colored flowers and shrubbery abound. Ledges on the sidewalk have railings that prevent seating.

The rest of the plaza is no more usable. On First Avenue, a narrow strip of elevated space sits in front of several retail facilities. Once again, ledges are spiked. On East 55th Street is a large sunken area nine steps below the sidewalk. The space has several planters with spiked ledges and one light pole supporting grapelike light fixtures. A sign states that ball playing is not allowed.


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