The Medical Arts Building, now known as simply 57 West 57th Street, was designed by Warren & Wetmore. That’s the same firm that designed nearby Steinway Hall and the Crown (originally Heckscher) Building – and New York landmarks Grand Central Terminal, Helmsley (originally New York Central) Building, Biltmore Hotel, and Grand Hyatt New York (originally Commodore Hotel), among others.
As the name suggests, the building was conceived as a center for doctors, dentists and other medical practitioners. Several whole-floor clinics and sanitoriums took residence here. But as the Daytonian in Manhattan blog tells it, medicine was not all that was practiced here! Must read!
The building’s new owner specializes in pre-built office space. The building has been redesigned internally with movable walls on tracks. (See The New York Observer article.) Several companies have set up shop to offer office leases by the month, day – or hour.
While the building has traded commerce for medicine on the inside, the decorative arts are alive and well on the outside: A string of gilt-painted terra cotta adorns the white brick facades on Sixth Avenue and West 57th Street; a massive columned “temple” crowns the building. The gilt medallions are supposed to picture notable physicians; I haven’t located the names. Also, at this writing the building’s Sixth Avenue art deco entrance was covered in scaffolding, so I couldn’t photograph it.
Medical Arts Building Vital Statistics
- Location: 57 West 57th Street at Sixth Avenue
- Year completed: 1928
- Architect: Warren & Wetmore
- Floors: 21
- Style: neo-Classical
Medical Arts Building Recommended Reading
- Daytonian in Manhattan blog
- The New York Observer article
- 57 West 57th Street website
- Emporis database
- Wikipedia entry (Warren & Wetmore)