Sire Building, Manhattan
Address: 211 West 58th Street
Constructed: mid-19th century
LPC Action: Calendared 2009; Public Hearing 2010
LPC Backlog Hearing: Removed from the calendar without prejudice
LPC Statement of significance:
This five-story flats building was constructed in 1884-85 to the designs of William Graul for owner Benjamin Sire. It was built to house 10 residential units and a ground floor store. Flats buildings such as the Sire Building had been constructed since the 1870s on the Upper East Side, however, the area in the West 50s and West 60s was largely undeveloped in the early 1870s, making this an early multiple dwelling from the first phase of residential development in this area.
William Graul maintained an architectural practice in New York City from 1868 to 1903 and designated many apartment buildings, row houses and store and loft buildings in the City. Benjamin Sire was a wealthy real estate dealer and the owner of several theaters.
The building was designed in the high Victorian Gothic style with neo-Grec details. It is constructed of red brick and has stone trim and details. Windows at the second floor have Gothic arch-headed lintels supported by slender columns with floral capitals. Continuous lintels and sills with banding are found at the third through fifth floors, with neo-Grec style incising in the lintels at the third and fifth floors. Stone and brick pilasters running vertically at the outer and inner piers are terminated at the second floors by slender columns with floral capitals. The owner's name "SIRE" appears in stone beneath a Gothic arched-headed stone blind lintel at the parapet wall above the center bay of paired windows. The cornice has neo-Grec style angular modillions and brackets and is broken by an angular shaped brick with stone trim aluminum sash.
The commercial storefront infill at the ground floor has been replaced and the ground floor facade has been resurfaced with granite veneer. The ground floor storefront has been occupied by a variety of tenants, including a Studebaker car dealer in the 1910s, a pet shop c. 1930; and the Museum of the American Piano in the 1980s ad 1990s. The entrance to the apartments in the western bay still has its historic ornately carved wood and glass double-doors with lion heads and beveled glass.