The Rizzoli Building Declared Eligible for National Register!

Important Update: The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has declared Rizzoli Bookstore eligible for listing on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.
From their report:
“The former piano showrooms that are the focus of this evaluation – 29, 31, and 33 West 57th Street – represent the transition of West 57th Street, between Fifth and Seventh Avenues, from a neighborhood of townhouses and mansions for New York City’s elite to a cultural center due to the proximity of Carnegie Hall. As noted in the Federal Writers’ Project’s New York City Guide in 1939, ‘the completion of Carnegie Hall in 1891 established the district as the foremost musical center in the country. Manufacturers of musical instruments, especially pianos, opened impressive showrooms along Fifty-seventh Street.’
As a group, these three contiguous buildings at 29, 31, and 33 West 57th Street meet Criterion A in the area of commerce for their association with the booming piano business of the interwar years in New York City. They also meet Criterion C as examples of a specialized commercial building type: the piano showroom.”


  1. This is excellent! Question – is there a law against preemptively destroying buildings that have been declared eligible for landmark status?

    1. Unfortunately, if the property hasn’t been calendered for a landmarks hearing, there currently is nothing stopping owners of a building from getting alteration permits from the Department of Buildings under the name of “facade restoration”. The owners merely have to fill out the paperwork correctly, and it is rubber stamped.

      1. Does anyone know how long this process takes? I would presume it is bureaucratic, and could not be done in time to save the buildings from Vornado’s wrecking balls.

  2. Write to the mayor’s office and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (1 Centre Street, 19th Floor, New York, NY 10007). Or call. There may be no more legal options and Vornado and LeFrak (who brought you the lovely LeFrak City, ugh) will move fast to destroy the buildings before public opposition can crystalize. Only city pressure can slow this thing down. But city pressure CAN work! These developers need all kinds of assistance and accommodations from city government for all kinds of developments. The city needs to make ti CLEAR that saving these three high profile gems are important. But voters need to make that happen. NOW.

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