Testimony of State Senator Liz Krueger, Assembly Member Richard Gottfried and Councilmember Ben Kallos Before The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission

February 20, 2018

Re: 1) Hotel Seville (now The James New York), 22 E. 29th St. (aka 18-20 E. 29th St.; 15-17 E. 28th St.; 90-94 Madison Ave.), Manhattan, Tax Map Block 858, Lot 17 in part;
2) The Emmett Building, 95 Madison Ave., Manhattan, Tax Map Block 858, Lot 58.
Thank you, Chair Srinivasan and members of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, for considering the designation of the Emmett Building and the Hotel Seville, two historic and architecturally distinctive buildings located in New York’s 75th Assembly District that we represent. Because each is located just steps from each other, we are providing one statement of support for the designation of both buildings. We urge the Commission to designate these historic sites as New York City landmarks. Each was constructed in the early twentieth century, when businesses in industries like architecture, construction, banking, and photography began to establish themselves in the area, prompting the erection of many distinctive high-rise buildings. The Hotel Seville, now known as the James Hotel New York, was constructed in two parts. The first was designed by Harry Allan Jacobs and completed in 1904, and the second by Charles T. Mott and finished in 1906. Constructed in the Beaux-Arts style, its original section was a 12-story limestone and red brick building with a rusticated base on the corner of Madison Avenue and E. 29th Street, which was subsequently connected to an 11-story western wing extending from E. 29th Street to E. 28th Street. The elegant structure features alternating bandcourses on the second and third stories and decorative cornices and projecting bays from the fourth to the tenth stories. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. The Emmett Building on Madison Avenue at 29th Street is a sixteen-story limestone and terra-cotta building completed in 1912, employing what was, at the time, cutting-edge steel frame construction. It was designed by the architects John Stewart Barney and Stockman Beekman Colt for the prominent gynecological surgeon, Dr. Thomas Addis Emmett, who was also a leading advocate for the independence of Ireland. Dr. Emmett assembled four houses for his medical practice at 89, 91, 93, and 95 Madison Avenue, and eventually had them replaced with the Emmett Building. Although it features many elements evoking neo-Gothic design, such as its continuous vertical tiers of terra-cotta and its gargoyles, the Emmett Building is early French Renaissance in style. The Hotel Seville and the Emmett Building are true gems of New York. Each is architecturally and historically distinctive and eminently worthy of landmark status. I urge the Members of the Landmarks Preservation Commission to designate the Hotel Seville and the Emmett Building.