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.”